Holmes (1914)

In 1911, former Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools Edmond Holmes condemned the 'arid drill' methods of the schools in What Is and What Might Be.

Three years later he responded to criticism of his book with this one.

I have corrected a few misprints and modernised some of the spelling and punctuation. I can't guarantee the accuracy of my rendering of the few Greek words and phrases used!

The complete text of In Defence of What Might Be is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various chapters.

Chapter I (1-57)
The function of education
Chapter II (58-95)
Original sin
Chapter III (96-127)
The philosophy of self-realisation
Chapter IV (128-151)
The meaning and value of freedom
Chapter V (152-183)
"The Primrose Path"
Chapter VI (184-208)
The decadence of England
Chapter VII (209-233)
Ways and means
Chapter VIII (234-270)
The valley of the shadow of death
Chapter IX (271-308)
The sin against the Holy Spirit

Appendix A (309-312)
My audience
Appendix B (313-320)
Critics and criticism
Appendix C (321-332)
Sundry criticisms
Appendix D (333-344)
Too good to be true
Appendix E (345-347)
Education and 'the passing of empire'
Appendix F (348-354)
Bible teaching
Appendix G (355-359)
The 'faculty' heresy
Appendix H (360-367)
Heredity and environment
Appendix I (368-376)
The unsystematized wisdom of Herbart

See also:

Holmes' Introduction to Dorothy Canfield Fisher's 1913 book A Montessori Mother.

The text of In Defence of What Might Be was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 11 April 2021.


In Defence of What Might Be
Edmond Holmes (1914)
London: Constable and Co. Ltd


[title page]

IN DEFENCE OF
WHAT MIGHT BE


BY

EDMOND HOLMES



"Nature is made better by no mean
But Nature makes that mean."
SHAKESPEARE, The Winter's Tale.




LONDON
CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD
1914


[page iv]





RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
BRUNSWICK STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E.,
AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.






[page v]

FOREWORD

IN the summer of 1911 I brought out a study of education in general and elementary education in particular, to which I gave the name of What Is and What Might Be. The book attracted a certain amount of attention; and, in spite of being outspoken in tone and revolutionary in spirit, it was on the whole not unfavourably received either by the Press or the public. But some of the criticisms passed on it convinced me that on certain important points I had failed to make my meaning clear; and as misunderstanding on those points is necessarily fatal to an intelligent understanding of the book as a whole, I have thought it well to consider the more vital of the objections raised by my critics, in the hope of being able to give, in response to the stimulus of criticism, a fuller, deeper, and more illuminating interpretation of my main ideas than I had succeeded in doing when I wrote my book.

I desire to thank Mr. G. R. S. Mead, the editor of the Quest, for permission to reprint so much of Chapter III as appeared in a recent number of his Magazine; to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Felkin, the translators of Herbart's Science of Education, and to Messrs. George Routledge and Sons, their publishers, for permission to print the extracts from that work which appear in Appendix I.; and to Mr. H. Fielding-Hall for permission to print certain passages from his book, The Passing of Empire.

E. H.


[page vii]

CONTENTS

CHAP.PAGE
FOREWORDv
I THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION1
II ORIGINAL SIN58
III THE PHILOSOPHY OF SELF-REALISATION96
IV THE MEANING AND VALUE OF FREEDOM128
V "THE PRIMROSE PATH"152
VI THE DECADENCE OF ENGLAND184
VII WAYS AND MEANS209
VIII THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH234
IX THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT271


APPENDICES

APPENDIXPAGE
A MY AUDIENCE309
B CRITICS AND CRITICISM313
C SUNDRY CRITICISMS321
D TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE333
E EDUCATION AND "THE PASSING OF EMPIRE"345
F BIBLE TEACHING348
G THE "FACULTY" HERESY355
H HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT360
I THE UNSYSTEMATIZED WISDOM OF HERBART368


[page 1]


IN DEFENCE OF WHAT
MIGHT BE


CHAPTER I

THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION

THE theory of education which I expounded in What Is and What Might Be centres in the assumption that the function of education is to foster growth. To most of my critics this proposition is as much of a truism as it is to me. But the exponents of the Herbartian pædagogy, who are an influential coterie in virtue of their partial control of the Training Colleges and the educational press, are either its secret or its open enemies; and I must therefore begin my Defence of What Might Be by trying to get to close quarters with Herbart and his modern interpreters.

A typical Herbartian who calls himself "Anthropos", writing in a periodical called The Head Teachers' Review on "the freshness and originality of Mr. Holmes", tells me, for my information, that the growth theory of education, which I make so much fuss about, was expounded a hundred years ago (more or less) by Rousseau and Froebel. This I happened to know. But I had a reason for trying to re-expound the theory. Neither Rousseau's nor


[page 2]

Froebel's exposition of it had quite satisfied me. Rousseau, as it seemed to me, left too much to Nature and too little to the teacher. Froebel, as it seemed to me, left too little to Nature and too much to the teacher. As my visits to "Utopia" had convinced me that "Egeria" had managed to adjust, almost to a nicety, the respective claims of Nature and the teacher, I thought it might be well if I were to describe her school and her work, and try to interpret her philosophy of education.

By way of impressing on me how stale and unoriginal I am, "Anthropos" tells me that "educationally" Mr. Bernard Shaw and I are back at the year 1850. "Anthropos" has let me down much too gently. I am not nearly so modern as he thinks. I am back at the year 360 B.C. (or thereabouts), back in the days of Plato, who set forth the growth theory in words on which one can scarcely hope to improve. Education, he tells us in the Laws, is of sovereign importance "because, whatever the creature, be it plant or animal, tame or wild, if its earliest growth makes a good start, that is the most important step towards the consummation of the excellence of which its nature is capable." (1) The life of Man, according to Plato,

(1) I have quoted this sentence elsewhere. But I think it bears repetition. The passage from which it is taken is in some ways curiously modern; but in its estimate of the meaning and value of education it is far in advance of even the advanced thought of the present day. Here it is: "Of the officials enumerated above there remains to be considered the chief Director of the education of boys and girls. As by law appointed this must be a single official, at least fifty years old, the father of children lawfully begotten, children of both sexes if possible, but certainly of one or the other. Both the man appointed and those who appoint him must realise that this office is far the most important among the chief offices of the State, Because, whatever the [footnote continues on next page]


[page 3]

like the life of animals and plants, comes under the law of growth; and the business of the teacher is to help and guide growth during the period in which it is most rapid and most critical - the period of childhood. Be it observed - for the point is one of vital importance - that Plato is well content to bring the life of Man into line with the life of animals and plants. That there is one law of growth for animals and plants, and another - fundamentally different - for human beings, is an idea which he does not seem to have entertained.

I had not read the Laws when I wrote my book, but I had drawn analogies freely from the life of growing plants; and I was glad to find, when I discovered the passage which I have quoted, that I

[footnote continues from previous page] creature, be it plant or animal, tame or wild, if its earliest growth makes a good start, that is the most important step towards the happy consummation of the excellence of which its nature is capable, Now we should call man a tame animal: all the same, while with correct training and a happy disposition, he will turn into the most divine and the gentlest of creatures, if reared carelessly or ill he will be the savagest creature upon earth. On this account the Lawgiver should see to it that Education is not made of secondary importance, or annexed to other duties, but, inasmuch as the right choice of the man who is to have charge of the children is bound to come first and foremost, he must do his very utmost to appoint and make Director that man who out of all in the State is in every respect the best." (I am indebted for this translation, which differs in many respects from Jowett's, to Dr. England, formerly Principal of Hulme Hall, Manchester, a distinguished Platonist, who is at present engaged on a monumental edition of the Laws.) I wonder when the Presidency of the Board of Education will be regarded in this country as "far the most important among the chief offices of the State"; and I wonder when we shall have a Prime Minister who will "do his very utmost to appoint and make" President "that man who out of all in the State is in every respect the best"! Not, I fear, so long as we have Prime Ministers who can tell us publicly that "there is nothing new to be said about education."


[page 4]

had the high authority of Plato for having done so. But it now appears that Plato and I were and are hopelessly in the wrong. There is some excuse for Plato, who lived nearly 2200 years before the true gospel of education was preached. But there is no excuse for me, who ought to have known that in the year A.D. 1804, Herbart, the German philosopher, examined the plant-growth theory of education, and pronounced against it, and that it is now as dead as the pre-Copernican astronomy.

Why is it that the convinced Herbartian is nearly always a "hard-shell" dogmatist, an ex cathedrâ teacher who seems to regard himself as the accredited exponent of an authoritative and quasi-divine gospel? A man may express himself as strongly as he pleases, even on matters which are still sub judice, provided that the words "as it seems to me" remain in the background of his mind. But these words have no meaning for "Anthropos" and his kindred.

"'Seems,' Madam! Nay, it is; I know not 'seems.'"

The complacent dogmatism of the typical Herbartian is an interesting and significant phenomenon which predisposes one to adopt a critical attitude towards the creed that he expounds. Just as one feels instinctively that there must have been some fundamental defect in the theology which could say of itself: "This is the Catholic faith, which except a man do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly", so one feels that there must be something wrong with the philosophy of education which can allow its exponents of all ages to lay down the law on


[page 5]

debatable matters with an assurance which is, as a rule, the prerogative either of exuberant youth or of ossified old age.

"Anthropos", whose loyalty to his Master is touching, if not convincing, seems to think that to utter the name of Herbart is to advance an argument to which there can be no reply. Let me assure him, once and for all, that it is useless for him, or any other "pædagogical expert", to try to overawe me with a name. I recognise no final authority in pædagogy, a sphere of human labour in which the light is as darkness, and "we are all seekers still". For education is a vital aspect of life; and the man who seriously believes that the last word has been said about the great problems of education is scarcely less fatuous than the man (if such there be) who seriously believes that the last word has been said about the great problems of life. (1)

This much I would take leave to say even if I had never studied Herbart. But I have studied Herbart; and, far from having converted me to Herbartianism, my study of the Science of Education has led me to think that if Herbart himself could return to earth, and look around him, and survey the movements of thought during the past eighty years, he would not be a Herbartian. At any rate we must beware of holding him responsible for the pedantry and intolerance of his fol-

(1) "It could hardly be possible", says Prof. Eucken, "to conceive anything more foolish than the claim set up by certain philosophical systems to exhaust, at a given period, the whole wealth of truth and to solve every riddle." The substitution of "pædagogic" for "philosophical" in the above sentence would not impair its truth.


[page 6]

lowers. As an educationist, Herbart has had the misfortune to found a school; and to found a school is the worst fate that can befall an original thinker. "Save me from my disciples" is a prayer which many a Master must have silently breathed; and could he have looked into the future, no on would have had better cause to breathe that prayer than Herbart. For it was pre-ordained that he should found a school of pædagogy, and that in that school, as in most schools, the letter of the Master's teaching should count for more than the spirit.

I will give my reasons for saying this.

A plunge into a cold bath is bracing and health-giving to one in whom it is followed by a vigorous re-action. But where there is no such re-action, its effect is to lower vitality, to chill and depress. It is the same with the study of philosophy. The student who can re-act against what he is taught, who can criticise it, and even ask it for its credentials, will be stimulated and invigorated by his philosophical studies. But to one who cannot re-act against what he is taught, who accepts dogmas and systems as meekly and unquestioningly as a child accepts the multiplication table, the study of philosophy is harmful, for it tends to lower his mental vitality. The power of re-acting against philosophical doctrine, as a natural endowment, is present in different degrees in different minds; but be it strong or weak, it always admits of being cultivated; and the one sure way to cultivate it is to read philosophy widely and for its own sake. For the student who is introduced to many systems of thought, finding that he cannot, without con-


[page 7]

tradicting himself, say Amen to all of them, must either become critical and begin to discriminate, or content himself with a purely historical interest in philosophy. (1)

Now the student of Herbart's philosophy of education is not, as a rule, a student of philosophy for its own sake. His interest in Herbart is primarily pædagogic. He has probably made his acquaintance as one of a series of "Great Educational Reformers". But as Herbart happens to be the only educational reformer of modern times (with the exception of H. Spencer) who was also a systematic thinker, our student can scarcely fail to be deeply influenced by the Herbartian system of thought. What Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Froebel are either too poetical or too practical to give him - a fully elaborated theory of education, having behind it a fully elaborated theory of life (2) - Herbart can give him; and to minds which are not

(1) One's interest in philosophy ought always to be largely historical. The student who can see in the various schools and systems of philosophy the currents and eddies of the great river of speculative thought, though he may regard one current as stronger and more central than the rest, will not allow himself to be swept away by any of them; for he knows that if he were so swept away he would sooner or later be carried into a backwater or left stranded on the shore. Then, again, if he is to lave a full and clear understanding of this or that system of thought, he must have traced its genesis and mastered its relations to other systems, contemporaneous or of earlier date; ii other words, he must have studied it as a chapter in the history of philosophy.

(2) Prof. Eucken, who is perhaps the greatest living interpreter of the history of philosophy, speaks of Herbart and Wolff as "capable schoolmen", and contrasts them with "creative thinkers" like Liebnitz and Kant. The fully elaborated theory of life which a "capable schoolman" spins and weaves has, I need hardly say, a peculiar fascination for the uncultured, and therefore uncritical, student of philosophy.


[page 8]

accustomed to think for themselves the attractive force of a fully elaborated theory is very great. And as, owing to his lack of what I may call general philosophical culture, our student is probably incapable of re-acting against Herbart's teaching, the chances are that he will surrender to it without a serious effort, and allow it to determine for the rest of his life the horizon of his mental outlook.

This will be a misfortune for him, and a still greater misfortune for Herbart. A philosophical system has its meaning, in part at least, by reference to the context of the life and thought of its own age; and all modifying influences emanating from that context must be duly allowed for, if the ideas that dominate the system are to be set free. Uncritical acceptance of a system which was formulated in a bygone age has the effect of tearing it away from its context, and transplanting it into an environment which is not its own. A system which has been thus transplanted is an anachronism; and an anachronism is a body of death. The plant which has been moved from a congenial to an uncongenial soil ceases to grow; and to cease to grow is to begin to cease to live. And this is not the only way in which uncritical devotion to a system tends to arrest its growth. Criticism - the criticism which is generated by a healthy and vigorous reaction against dogmatic teaching - is always favourable to development. The system which is placed on its defence, if it is to justify itself to its critics, must begin to bring its reserves into action, must try to realise some at least of its hidden potentialities. And to realise potentialities is to grow. Like


[page 9]

the ilex on Mount Algidus, the philosophy which has to fight for its life

"Per damna, per credes ab ipso
    Ducit opes animumque ferro."
Blind acceptance, on the other hand, tends to stereotype the accepted system, to make it content with its own defects and limitations, to relieve it of the trouble of evolving its hidden life.

Thus the over-zealous Herbartian is doomed by his very excess of zeal to misinterpret his Master's philosophy. And what makes matters worse is that for the student who cannot re-act against what he learns Herbart is a bad master. For not only does he need, more than most thinkers, to be interpreted by reference to the context of his environment and of the age in which he lived; but also, as "a capable schoolman", he spends much of his speculative life in a world of words and phrases, a world which has many attractions for the docile student of philosophy - and many pitfalls.

There is no reason why a thinker should not spend part of his speculative life in a world of words and phrases, provided that he keeps open the great archway of experience - the double archway of observation and experiment - which connects that world with the world of life and action. But Herbart, though he did not close that archway, cannot be said to have kept it wide open. It was indeed, his earnest conviction that "in education, theory and practice should always go together". In point of fact, however, when theorising about education, he seems to have generalised almost exclusively from his recollections of his own precocious childhood, and from his experiences a


[page 10]

private tutor in Switzerland. But unless the archway of experience is always kept wide open, it is dangerous, even for a great thinker, to spend much of his time in communing with his own words and phrases. For, carried away by the apparent cogency of his thoughts, he is apt to attribute to the words that he uses a fixity and finality of meaning which they do not and cannot possess; forgetting, as his ideas develop themselves, that such words as mind, will, desire, choice, taste, reason, morality, sympathy, discipline, freedom - I have taken these words at random from the Science of Education - mean different things to different minds, and take different shades of meaning from different contexts, and that they therefore belong to literature rather than to science. The result of this is that his own words and phrases begin to close in upon him and imprison him, and that within their magic circle he tends to mistake half-truths for whole truths, relative truth for absolute truth, the order of his own thoughts for the order of nature, his own conclusions for established facts.

If it is dangerous for a thinker to live in a world of words and phrases, it is deadly for a disciple. As I read Herbart, I find myself saying: "Yes: there is something in that." "Yes: I see what he means." "True enough from such and such a point of view." "His premises are plausible, but I demur to his conclusion." And so on. But this is not the attitude of the docile disciple. Unable to re-act against the formulated thoughts of his Master, he becomes their humble servant. The Master knows what his words and phrases mean - to him. In


[page 11]

Herbart's case, in particular, there is close and sustained thought behind every sentence that he writes. But for the disciple the sayings of the Master are ever tending to become formulæ, - propositions to be assented to, and learnt by heart, and paraded, with much ostentation, before the exoteric world. To say that the Herbartian is imprisoned in his Master's "circle of thought" is to pay him too great a compliment. The circle of thought, as he moves within it, speedily resolves itself into a circle of formulated, of burnt-out thought. The Master, as we have just seen, is in danger of being imprisoned behind his own words and phrases, which tend to dominate him because they mean much to him, because they are the creations of his mind. The disciple, to whom they mean but little, to whom they are for the most part catchwords and shibboleths, is their slave for life. Imprisoned within a circle of words which his own docility has devitalized, the typical Herbartian easily loses touch with the actualities of life, and, being deprived of their corrective influence, sinks back complacently into the easy-chair of dogmatic doctrinairism, convinced that he is in full possession of the vraie vérité of things educational, ready to impose his system on all schools and teachers, without regard to the circumstances of the former or the idiosyncrasies of the latter, and even expecting the laws of human nature to conform to his pedantic theories.

There are, of course, Herbartians and Herbartians. I speak of those whom I have met. I knew a school inspector who, in the excess of his zeal for the Herbartian gospel, worked himself (literally) to death. Being a strong and resolute man, he


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ruled his district with a rod of iron. For one thing, he required all teachers who gave object lessons to devote a whole week to each object in turn. Thus there was a cat week, a sparrow week, an earthworm week, and so on. During the cat week, a live cat was brought into school and a lesson given on it on each of the five school days. But this was not all. All the work of the week centred in the cat. The children read about the cat. They learnt verse about the cat. They wrote compositions about the cat. They sang about the cat. They played games about the cat. They drew the cat. They modelled the cat. The idea was, I imagine, that by the end of the week a cat "apperception mass" would have been built up in each of their souls. (1) And all the while this learned psychologist, imprisoned in his pedantic system, was so ignorant of the actualities of child-nature, as not to know that every healthy child hates enforced monotony. One can sympathise with the boy who, at the end of the sparrow week, when the bird was brought into his class-room for the fifth time, was overheard saying sotto voce to his next-door neighbour: "Here comes that d--d sparrow again."

It is not, then, to the over-zealous Herbartian that one must look for an adequate interpretation of Herbart's philosophy of education. And as

(1) A friend of mine, while studying "pædagogy" at Jena, took part in a Luther school journey into the Thuringian Forest. The journey lasted two or three days; and there was much in the forest and elsewhere to interest and instruct the boys. But they were not allowed to talk - and were not supposed to think - about anything or anybody but Luther. What follies are sometimes perpetrated in the blessed name of correlation!


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there is urgent need for me to come to close quarters with that philosophy, I must try, in my humble amateurish way, to interpret it for myself. What weight am I to attach to Herbart's rejection of the plant-growth theory (which his followers now regard as dead and damned) or to his views on any other important educational question? In other words, what equipment had he for the task which he set himself of constructing a science of education? Before I can attempt to answer this question, I must consider his philosophy of education in relation to what I have called the context of his own age and environment.

People are at last beginning to realise that systematic child-study - in the widest and deepest sense of the word - is the only basis on which a scientific system of education can be built. This had not been realised in Herbart 's day. The idea of studying the ways and works of young children had, indeed, suggested itself to one or two daring revolutionaries; but for the rank and file of parents, teachers, and school-managers, the lines on which education was to be given had been determined by tradition, and to depart appreciably from those lines would have been regarded as unthinkable folly. Herbart himself came nearer to realising the need of child-study than most of his contemporaries. Speaking of the Science of Education he says: "This book owes its existence almost a much to my little collection of carefully arranged observations and experiences, gathered together on various occasions, as it does to my philosophy." Yet the basis of child-study on which he built his elaborate system was so inadequate and so unstable


[page 14]

that, as a foundation for a durable structure, we must liken it to shifting sand. His aim, as revealed to us in the sentence which I have quoted, was excellent; but the means of realising it were not at his command.

What did Herbart know about children? He could look back to his own childhood, perhaps the most absurdly precocious, except that of J. S. Mill, of which we have any record; for we are told that he began to study logic at the age of eleven, and metaphysics - of all subjects - at the age of twelve. For two years he acted as private tutor to three boys, aged fourteen, ten, and eight, respectively, the sons of the Governor of Interlaken; and to this experience his Science of Education, as one can see at a glance, owes far too much. And he gave lessons on mathematics to the boys who attended his pædagogic seminary at Königsberg - boys who began to translate Homer at the age of eight! The more carefully one studies his Science of Education, the more clearly one sees that "the child" whom he has in his mind is a boy, very precocious, somewhere between eight (the equivalent of twelve in boys of ordinary calibre) and eighteen years of age, belonging to a refined and cultured home, the private pupil of an exceptionally wise, thoughtful, and sympathetic tutor. Girls, and the children of the "masses" (who cannot read the Odyssey in the original), he seems to have entirely ignored. Young children - between the ages of two and eight (? twelve) - he was not interested in, and had made no serious attempt to study. How could a man - even if he were a great philosopher - out of such limited experiences construct a satisfactory


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theory of education? The temptation to generalise from his recollections of his own precocious boyhood and from his experiences of his three pupils was one which Herbart could scarcely have been expected to resist, and to which he undoubtedly succumbed. But generalisations gathered from such inadequate data would either fail to lead him far enough, or would lead him astray. The four boys - one of whom, the youthful Herbart, may almost be said to have imposed his own precocity on the remaining three - belonged to a thin upper stratum of social life and culture. The immense underlying strata Herbart was content to leave unexplored. Besides - and this is a matter of vital importance - the boy of eight and upwards is a more or less artificial product. For six years at least he has been subjected to the pressure of dogmatic direction. In other words, a systematic attempt has been made to mould him into a set form. It follows that in studying him we are studying our own ideas of what child-nature ought to be, rather than child-nature as such. Child-study, if it is to reveal to us the master-laws of child-nature - and therefore of human nature - must be begun in the nursery and carried on as far as possible in an atmosphere of freedom. But the idea of studying children in the nursery had scarcely begun to dawn upon the educators of that day. Still less had the idea of giving freedom to young children, in order that they might develop themselves naturally, and that the study of their ways and works might be fruitful. For all these reasons effective child-study was beyond the reach of Herbart. And in the absence of effective child-


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study all statements as to the nature of the child, even those made by thoughtful and sympathetic psychologists, are under suspicion, and the foundations of all systems of pædagogy are insecure.

So much for "the child", as Herbart conceives of him. But how about "the teacher"? The teacher whom Herbart has in his mind is a man - Herbart himself, I imagine - a private tutor, in charge of not more than three boys, a refined, humane, and enlightened specimen of his class, whose sympathy and insight enable him to establish intimate relations with his small circle of pupils, and to exercise an influence over them which teachers who were less gifted, or who had large classes to teach, or who were otherwise less fortunate in their surroundings, could scarcely hope to gain. (1)

To this teacher Herbart assigns a Herculean task - that of "building" the souls of his pupils. How did he come to lay so vast a responsibility, directly upon him, by implication upon all other teachers? If we are to answer this question we must go back in imagination to the age in which Herbart lived. At that time the drill-sergeant "instructor" was playing the leading part in the drama of education, and strutting about in the very forefront of the stage. His function was to drill his pupils into the semblance of order, to direct all their doings, and to pump information into their minds. That there could be any other type of teacher had scarcely begun to suggest itself to those

(1) "It is true", says Herbart, "that only private tuition under favourable conditions can ensure opportunity to the skill of the teacher." The fact - too often overlooked - that Herbart's ideal teacher is a private tutor vitiates his whole system of education.


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who were interested in education. The educational reformers of the day had to make the best of this preposterous personage. Rousseau, who was the boldest of iconoclasts, transformed him into a private tutor, reduced him to silence (except when he was spoken to), but found no effective substitute for him. Froebel put him into petticoats, and told him (or her) to vitalise young children, to come down to their level, to educate them by means of gifts and games, to direct the process of their growth. What was Herbart to do with him? If he was to make any use of him - and there was no one else for him to use - he must re-create him in the image of himself. He must invest him with wisdom, learning, tact, sympathy, and other rare qualities. He must narrow the circle of his pupils so that he might get into close personal touch with each of them. And he must then assign to him the task which his own psycho-philosophy had pointed out to him as the true function of education - the task of "building" the souls of his pupils by "instructing" them, by providing them with "presentations" or "ideas".

Did Herbart ever ask himself where the supply of these highly idealised teachers was to come from? He writes, and so do his disciples, as if soul-builders were as plentiful as - certificated (and uncertificated) teachers. But does the possession of a diploma or certificate guarantee the possession of a well-built soul? And is not the possession of a well-built soul indispensable to the success of the teacher? For an ill-built soul can no more produce edifying "ideas" than an ill-grown tree can produce wholesome fruit. So one instinctively assumes. But can it be that the soul-builder,


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instead of being himself a well-built soul, need be nothing more than a retailer of information, a purveyor of ready-made "ideas", which, if duly applied to the ears of his pupils, will in due season sink into and build their souls? Can it be, in other words, that in the Herbartian pædagogy, lecturing, however ineffective, counts for as much as teaching? I am by no means sure that this is not the view of the average Herbartian. But it is certainly not the view of Herbart himself. For in one of those brilliantly common-sensical passages which light up the sombre pages of his books, and which his followers find it convenient to ignore, he says: "This is just the misfortune of education, that so many feeble lights which glimmer in tender youth are long since extinguished in adults, who are therefore unfitted to kindle those feeble lights into flame." The inference to be drawn from this significant admission is that Herbart intended his soul-builder to be a well-built soul, but quite forgot to ask himself where and how a supply of such recruits for the teaching profession was to be procured.

This was a grave omission, especially as it was supplemented by another omission which was not less grave. Herbart seems to have quite forgotten that not every teacher is a private tutor, with no more than three pupils - the children of refined and cultured parents - to educate. To build three souls, or even one soul, would be an achievement worthy of a demigod; but the average teacher must build souls by the score. Herbart himself was a very exceptional man; and as he had to deal with somewhat exceptional pupils, and was probably able to


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give to each of them the particular treatment that he happened to need, he may have done much towards building, or, as I would say, towards fostering the growth of, their respective souls. But what of the average teacher, a man (or woman) of mediocre ability and culture, who is expected, at the same time and by the same mental dietary, to build some twenty to sixty souls, each of which, one may well believe, has its own idiosyncrasy and needs to be educated in its own particular way? Did not Herbart set him a task which "exceeds the might" of the wisest of us? And would it not have been better for him to relieve the teacher of this awful responsibility and transfer it to the broad shoulders of Nature, who is One because we are Many, and who makes the master laws of her universal being affirm themselves in and through the separate evolution of each individual soul?

As a practical system, then, the Herbartian pædagogy is foredoomed to failure, partly because, as Herbart says, "many feeble lights which glimmer in tender youth, are long-since extinguished in adults, who are therefore unfitted to kindle those feeble lights into flame", and partly because the average teacher, whose own lights are burning low, if they are not (as Herbart seems to think) actually extinguished, is expected to kindle the lamps of life, not in three souls, but in thirty or more. As a "Handbook for Private Tutors" - which would, I think, be a fitting title for it - the Science of Education has many merits (as well as many limitations). As a handbook for school-teachers of all grades and kinds, it has the damning demerit of having entirely ignored some of the essential


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factors in the problems which it undertakes to solve.

Yet, even if the teacher were the ideal being of whom Herbart sometimes dreams, and even if his pupils were only three in number, and were all bright, refined, responsive boys, it may be doubted whether Herbart did not set him an impracticable task. Is it possible for one human being to build the soul of another? Is not this metaphor, on which Herbart leans so heavily, delusive? (1) An attempt will presently be made to answer this question. Meanwhile, I must point out that even if it were possible for the teacher to build the souls of his pupils (whether few or many), the Herbartian theory of education would be open to the objection that the building materials provided were not sufficiently varied to ensure a durable and harmonious structure. Of the six expansive instincts, as I have elsewhere called them, through which Nature provides for the growth of the soul, Herbart takes two only - the communicative and the inquisitive - into serious account. For the development of the dramatic, the artistic, the musical, and the constructive instincts, he makes little or no provision. History and literature for the communicative instinct, mathematics and science for the inquisitive instinct, these are the materials out of which the teacher is to build the souls of his pupils. They

(1) We cannot dispense with metaphors in philosophy; but unless the thinker varies his metaphors freely, he is apt to get into speculative ruts from which he cannot easily extricate himself. The metaphor of kindling light in the soul is entirely different from that of building the soul with "presentations"; and when Herbart uses the former metaphor, he is forced to admit, in defiance of the general trend of his system, that the teacher is unequal to his task.


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are good materials as far as they go, but they do not go far enough. The soul which is built of them, and them only, will lack that "many-sided interest" on which Herbart rightly laid so much stress; and the consequent inadequacy of its environment will reflect itself in a lack of balance and harmony in its life. The truth is that the soul is built (if we are to use this delusive metaphor) not of "presentations" or "ideas" only, but of many other materials - materials which have the grave disadvantage, from Herbart's point of view, that the teacher, quâ instructor, cannot readily supply them. This points to a defect in the Herbartian psychology. The soul that is enclosed in a "circle of thought" has an unduly restricted life; for the circle which is in touch at all points with the child's ever-widening environment has other elements in it than thought.

There is another side on which the Herbartian pædagogy is open to criticism. What about young children? The younger the child, the less accessible is he to "presentations"; and below a certain age they make no impression on him whatever. Until he reaches that age - say from birth till the end of the second year - the work of building the child's soul falls on Nature, with his mother - inspired by love and sympathy - as her understudy. The drill-sergeant-instructor has not yet appeared on the scene. And what does Nature do for the child? Weak and helpless though he be, he learns under her tuition to speak his mother's tongue, to stand up, to walk, to use his hands in various ways, to take a "many-sided interest" in things, to us his will, his reason, and his imagination, to requite


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with love and devotion his mother's loving care. Now if Nature, during the first two years of the child's life, unaided by the "instructor" with his "presentations", can do so much in the way of "soul-building", may we not conjecture that babyhood is succeeded by a long transitional period during which the "instructor", though beginning to count for something, should remain discreetly in the background, and realise that he (or she) is only one of many influences which are co-operating to build the child. (1) And if this is so, may it not be that the undue prominence of the "instructor" during that critical period is responsible, in part at least, for much of what is unsound in education, in its later as well as its earlier stages, and in particular for that deplorable ignorance of the real tendencies of child-nature which so often stultifies the instructor's best efforts, even when the time comes for him to play a more prominent part?

Again, what can the Herbartian teacher do for "defective" children, those unhappy beings from whom, because their defects compel pædagogy to become experimental, the educational world has learnt much and will learn more? He might ply them with "presentations" for hours at a time, and yet awake no response in their souls. And since Nature, unaided, can do but little for them, the teacher must come to the rescue if their poor stunted

(1) How little interest Herbart took in children who were too young to be "instructed" is proved by a passage in the Science of Education, in which, after making sundry sensible suggestions for training the senses of young children, he goes on to say: "But I am not the fool to think the salvation of mankind depends on such trifling aids which may more or less lighten and forward instruction."


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souls are ever to be built up. And experience has proved that the teacher can do much for them, but not as a retailer of "presentations". That method he must abandon at the outset (though later he may be able to make some slight use of it), and must try to open up an avenue to their minds through their muscles, nerves, and senses. That the mind, in the earlier stages of its development, is best reached through that avenue, was Seguin's invaluable contribution to the science of education - a contribution which has perhaps a wider scope than we have yet begun to realise. We must not blame Herbart, who approached psychology from the side of metaphysics, for having failed to make a discovery which only a psycho-physiologist could have been expected to make. But we must realise that in this and in other directions his philosophy of education is defective; that its master principle is not deep enough to get down to Nature's fundamental laws, or wide enough to cover the whole field of education, possible as well as actual; in fine that his system, as distinguished from his unsystematized wisdom, is the outcome of an inadequate conception of the meaning and purpose of education.

Mr. H. G. Wells, in Marriage, speaks disrespectfully of certain "old duffers" who "sit in their studies and make sort of tea of dry old words - and think they're distilling the spirit of wisdom." For these "old duffers" and all their kith and kin the Herbartian pædagogy has, I can well believe, great attraction. For it gives them what they love well - a ready-made system, coherent, symmetrical, logical, a stronghold of phrases and formulæ, in which they


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can entrench themselves and, if need be, set reason and experience at defiance. And it gives them what they love better still - a select assortment of catch-words and shibboleths, in the strength of which they can flatter themselves that they are a peculiar people, endowed with esoteric wisdom, untainted with the "faculty" or any kindred heresy, holding a quasi-divine commission to expound "the faith" and lay down "the law."

There is another and more important class of persons for whom the Herbartian pædagogy has equal attractions. Teachers of the drill-sergeant-instructor type, which, though still much in evidence, is beginning to fall into disrepute, must needs rejoice in a philosophy of education which rehabilitates them in the face of their critics, which tells them that they are the only true educators, which assigns to them the godlike task of building the human soul - by the free use of "chalk and talk".

For me the Herbartian pædagogy, as a system, has but little attraction, partly because it is a system, a theory of things which buys its internal symmetry, in part at least, at the expense of truth. "Celui qui est si exactement d'accord avec lui-même vous trompe au se trompe. II a un système. Il joue un rôle." But apart from this I regard the Herbartian pædagogy as defective in that it leaves many sides of child-life and many years of childhood un provided for, and that the psychology on which it is based is dubious as philosophy and inadequate as science. It is possible for me to say this and yet to admit that Herbart rendered invaluable service to the cause of education, that his recognition of "morality as the highest aim of humanity and consequently of education" is pro-


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foundly true, and that the doctrine of "many-sided interest" is of great and lasting value. And if I look with distrust on his system, I can admire without reserve what I have called his unsystematized wisdom - the wise and pregnant aphorisms in which his works abound, and from which a deeper and truer philosophy of education than that which he has formulated might, I think, be distilled.

I do not pretend to have gone fully into the weighty questions which I have been compelled to consider, but I have perhaps said enough to show that, when great educational matters are in dispute, the invocation of Herbart's name is an argument which I cannot regard as conclusive.

Let us now go back to the plant-growth theory of education. "Anthropos" tells me that when Herbart expressed his dissent from that theory in the year 1804, it at once gave up the ghost, and that I and others who still believe in it are trying to re-animate a corpse. The plant-growth theory of education may or may not be sound. But if "Anthropos" wishes to convince me of its unsoundness, he must ply me with arguments, not with names. If it were merely a question of names, the names of Rousseau, Froebel, and Wordsworth, reinforced by that of Plato, might be held to outweigh that of Herbart. But it is not a question of names. It was, I admit, a joy for me to find, when a Platonist showed me the passage in the Laws which I have already quoted, that Plato, the greatest of all poet-thinkers, was wholly on my side; but I did not flatter myself that even he, whose soul,

        "like a star,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are,"

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had settled the question which we are now debating, by the mere might of his immortal name. The question must be settled, as all great questions have been or will be (if indeed they admit of being settled), by the slowly accumulating and subtly self-organising experience of the world.

"Anthropos" and his fellow-Herbartians, while rejecting the plant-growth theory of education, profess to believe in the growth-theory.

Do they really believe in it? Having quoted my words, "The function of education is to foster growth", "Anthropos" adds, "So true and yet so pointless!" This comment on my formula sets me thinking. "What does 'Anthropos' mean by 'growth'?" What does the word really mean? I cannot answer the latter question; but I can tell "Anthropos" what the word means - to me. In Edwin Arnold's poem, The Secret of Death, (1) the scholar asks his Pundit how the "holy fire", the splendour of which "shineth through all worlds", "the strength" of which "upholds the universe", can hide itself

"Inside the inner man, in the hollow heart?"
The Pundit says in reply:
        "I answer thee
Out of the great Upanishad, surnamed
Khândogya l Gather me up yon fruit
Dropped by the parrots from the Banyan!
What seest thou therein?

S.          A scarlet fig
Not larger than the Moulvie's praying bead.

P. Break it, and say again!

S.          I break it, sir,
And see a hundred little yellow seeds!

P. Break it, and say again!

(1) A free rendering in verse of the Upanishad which tells the story of Nachiketas and Death.


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S.          I break a seed;
It is as slight as though a silkworm's egg
Were crushed; and in the midst a germ, a speck!

P. Break it, and say again!

S.          The speck is gone
In touching, Guru! there is nothing, now.

P. Yet, in that 'nothing' lay (thou knowest well!)
The Nyagrodha tree, the Banyan tree,
Comely and vast as it was formed to grow;
With all its thousand downward-dropping stems
Waiting to fall from all its thousand boughs,
And all its lakhs and lakhs of lustrous leaves
Waiting to push to sunlight, and so make,
New canopies of flower and fruit and shade,
Where creatures of the field, fowls of the air,
Monkey and squirrel-folk might find their home,
And man and cattle 'neath its ample roof
Have shelter from the moon. This Forest-King -
Of bulk to overspread a Raja's camp -
Was wrapped in what thou sayest passeth sight!
Art thou not answered?"

The process by which the "speck", which is scarcely distinguishable from "nothing", is transformed into the mightiest of all trees, is a process of growth. It is in this sense that I use the word, when I say that the function of education is to foster growth. In any process of growth a certain form or type, which exists potentially in the seed or germ, gradually evolves itself; and when (if ever) this form or type has fully evolved itself, maturity (1) has been reached, and the process of growth, or self-realisation, is complete.

(1) We must, of course, carefully distinguish between actual and ideal maturity. Each full-grown banyan-tree has realised the banyan ideal within its own individual limits, and has therefore arrived at actual maturity. But the ideal banyan-tree, like the ideal wheat plant, has not yet been evolved. In the plant there is no conflict between the respective claims of actual and ideal maturity; for to realise the ideal is the business of the species, not of the individual. In Man the conflict between the two "streams of tendency" is the main drama of his life. See p. 34 of this chapter, p. 120 of Chap. III, and pp. 276-282 of Chap. IX.


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Is it in this sense that "Anthropos" uses the word "growth"? If it is, why does he say that my formula, of which he admits the truth, is "pointless"? Is there no point in the assumption that the function of education is to help the vast complex of potencies in the child's nature to unfold itself? Perhaps "Anthropos" thinks that I am setting education an impossible task. But if so, my formula is untrue as well as pointless, for it is obviously absurd to assign a function to education which it cannot possibly fulfil. Or does "Anthropos" mean that my formula, as it stands, is pointless, and that if point is to be given to it, I must interpret it and show how it does, or might work? But that is precisely what I attempted to do in my book.

If, then, I am to read a meaning into "Anthropos'" oracular utterance, I must assume that he means by growth something fundamentally different from what I mean by it, and that the pointlessness of my formula is due to its embodying what he would consider a misconception of growth as a phenomenon of human life. I have told him what the word growth means to me. Will he now tell me what it means to him?

He asks me why do I and other writers on education draw our analogies from the growth of plants rather than of animals. I will try to answer his question, in the hope that in doing so I may find out where and at what angle our respective conceptions of growth diverge. For two chief reasons. In the first place, animals are either unamenable to human influence or over-amenable to it. Wild animals, being gifted with the power of locomotion


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and being naturally timid and suspicious, can neither be studied nor trained by Man. But the domestic animals, especially those which are highest in the scale of intelligence, have so much in common with children that, as victims of Man's educational experiments, they may almost be said to belong to the same category, the chief difference between them being that the domestic animal sinks more readily than the child to a purely mechanical level, arid loses less in doing so. Like children, the higher domestic animals are dependent for the means of subsistence on their lord and master, the adult man. Like children, they have in them the germs of mental, moral, and spiritual qualities. And, like children, they can understand much of what is said to them, so that when commands are given to them they can obey them. For these reasons they are, like children, amenable to the dogmatic pressure of those who control their destinies; and the result of this is that their lives, like the lives of "well-trained" children, are not their own. The relation between the training of a horse or a dog or an elephant and the training of a child is one not of analogy so much as of actual identity. In the one case, as in the other, dogmatic direction is met and answered by unquestioning obedience; and the life of the growing creature, at any rate on the higher planes of its being, is therefore moulded from without to an extent which is impossible in plant-life, even when the plants are grown in a hot-house. For, however much we may train and prune and graft and bud, and whatever artificial arrangements we may make for supplying the plant with warmth, light, moisture, and manure, the broad fact remains


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that we cannot interfere with the actual process of its growth, that we cannot do or pretend to do for it those vital things which, if they are to be done at all, it must do for itself. So, too, in our dealings with what I may call the lower domestic animals, such as the sheep or the pig, we accomplish the feat of blighting life on all its higher levels and yet leaving physical life intact, (1) a feat which we can, alas! repeat in the home and the school, but not in the garden or the corn-field; for though we can guide the expanding current of a plant's life into channels of our own contriving, we cannot dam it back, except at the cost of killing the plant. In fine and in brief, Man, as a trainer of children, has little or nothing to learn from himself as a trainer of "animals", whereas he has much to learn from himself as a trainer of plants.

This is one reason why I draw my analogies from plant rather than from animal life. Another, and perhaps a weightier reason, is that the plant-growth theory of education safeguards the growth theory. We have so little (comparatively speaking) in common with plants, that a law which dominates their life as well as ours must needs be one of the master laws of Nature. If the respective lives of organisms which are as far apart from one another as a man and a moss, alike come under the law of growth, the inference is plain that throughout the whole range of animate nature growth is the very counterpart of life. Does "Anthropos" think of it

(1) According to Sir Samuel Baker, who knew him well, the wild boar is the bravest and most intelligent of wild animals. Man has transformed him into the domestic pig! The transformation of the wild into the tame sheep has, I believe, been an almost equal degradation.


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as such? His rejection of the plant-growth theory proves that he does not. The plant-growth theory has the great merit of straining to the uttermost one's faith in the growth theory; and in the case of "Anthropos" the strain has been carried to breaking point. In the animate world, as "Anthropos" conceives of it, there are two kinds of growth, and these have nothing in common. But if there are two kinds of growth which have nothing in common, there must be two kinds of life which have nothing in common, and two kinds of nature which have nothing in common; and we are thrust back into that bottomless gulf of dualism, in which all reality drains away.

On all the levels of life below that of the human soul, growth means the realisation of hidden potencies, the unfolding of an infolded type. If it does not mean this on the level of human life, what does it mean? Will "Anthropos" or one of his fellow-Herbartians answer this question?

Why did Herbart reject the plant-growth theory of education? His real reason was, I think, his inability to fathom the potential meaning of the words nature, life, and growth. And for this we must blame, not Herbart himself but the mental atmosphere of the age in which he lived. It was his misfortune to live before the days of Darwin and Darwinism. Had he been born half a century later, he would, I think, have given us a different psychology and a different philosophy of education. For, whatever else The Origin of Species may have done, it has profoundly modified our attitude towards the idea of nature and towards the problems of life and growth - not the attitude of physical


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science only, but the attitude of speculative thought on all its levels, from the most popular to the most metaphysical. As the mental atmosphere of the world became gradually saturated with the idea of evolution, men began to realise the unity of life, first as a concept and then as a sentiment; and as the sense of unity gained upon them, they began to fall contentedly into line with the rest of living things. Parallel to this change of thought and feeling, an immense change came over their conception of nature. The meaning of the word began to expand indefinitely. The old dualisms of Nature and the Supernatural, nature and grace, nature and the soul, the natural and the spiritual man, began to be discredited, and dualism itself, as a mode of thought, began to fall into disrepute. Meanwhile the idea of growth was passing through an analogous process of expansion and unification. Instead of applying to individual organisms only, it began to apply to species and genera, to whole orders of living things, to life as such on all its levels, and at last to the Cosmos conceived as a living whole. In other words, the idea of growth began to expand into the idea of evolution or development, and the ever-pregnant antithesis of the actual and the potential began to dominate human thought. In this way the ideas of nature, life, and growth, under the expansive influence of the doctrine of evolution, began to draw together and blend into one vast concept. The whole movement of Nature began to present itself to thought as an all-embracing process of growth - as the transformation of infinite potentiality into infinite perfection, of a world-germ into a world - as the


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self-realisation, one might almost say, of a cosmic soul. And in this process, self-justifying and self-sufficing, men began to see a possible solution of the riddle of existence, and a possible meaning and purpose in life.

By the accident of birth Herbart was a pre-Darwinian. His followers, in the excess of their loyalty, have made themselves pre-Darwinians in order to keep him company. Not content with ignoring the immense changes in thought and feeling which Darwinism helped to produce, they seem also to have ignored its more practical consequences and by-products. The far-reaching developments which the biological sciences have undergone, and the remarkable achievements in plant-breeding and plant-growing of the Cambridge School of Agriculture and other centres of research, ought to have convinced them that the great problem which Herbart solved (as he believed) with such ready assurance, was incomparably larger, more complex, more suggestive, and more elusive than he or any contemporary of his could have imagined, and that his offhand solution of it must be regarded as inconclusive for this, if for no other reason, that the problem was not then ripe for solution. I do not say that the problem is ripe for solution now; but I do say that, owing to the influence of Darwinism on modern thought and science, we can at any rate see more clearly than Herbart could what it involves and on what broad lines it ought to be handled.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Felkin, in the introduction to their translation of Herbart's Science of Education, having quoted the following passage from Herbart's Allgemeine Pädagogik: "The mind of


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an adult, consisting of knowledge and imaginings, of resolves and doubts, of good, bad, strong, weak, conscious, and unconscious opinions and inclinations, is put together differently in the cultured and uncultured man, in Germans, Frenchmen, and Englishmen; how it is put together the individuality of the man determines", go on to ask: "Is the germ of the mind which the child unquestionably carries with him, the counterpart of the seed of the future plant? Must it develop to a predetermined form, as the seed of corn to wheat?" And in the name of Herbart they answer these questions with an emphatic No. I will presently comment on the passage quoted from Herbart. My immediate concern is with the unfair use which Herbart's interpreters have made of the word "predetermined." Placed where it is, the word begs the question which is in dispute. Does a seed of wheat necessarily develop to a predetermined form? If allowed to ripen, a seed of wheat will undoubtedly become a wheat-plant, just as the germ-soul of a baby, if allowed to mature, will become the soul of an adult man. In this sense, and in no other, a seed of wheat develops to a predetermined form. So far as the words "predetermined form" suggest uniformity and finality, they are no more applicable to wheat-plants than to human beings, for recent researches and experiments have proved that there is no finality in the development of wheat nature, and that each wheat-plant has an individuality of its own, which is not the less real because our crass senses may be unable to discern it.

It is true that in a well-selected and well-farmed wheat-field, where a uniformly favourable environ-


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ment for the wheat-seeds (all of one strain) has been artificially prepared by the farmer, the wheat-plants, in the absence of disease and adverse conditions of weather, may seem to grow to a predetermined form. But to compare such a wheatfield with a community of human beings, in which the environment, owing to the immense complexity of Man's social life and the tentative nature of all his social arrangements, is infinitely varied and largely unfavourable, is to postulate analogy where none exists; and may well lead (as it seems to have done in the case of Herbart and his interpreters) to inability to discern analogy where it does exist. If we are to make an effective comparison between wheat growth and human growth, we must take care that there is a real analogy between the conditions under which wheat is grown and those under which men are reared. With this end in view, let us give the reins to our imagination. Let us picture to ourselves an immense field in which there was every conceivable variety of soil and aspect; and in which a score of farmers, each with views of his own on such points as ploughing, manuring, crop-rotation, etc., having each selected five or six plots at haphazard, and prepared a seed-bed in each plot, had sown in each seed-bed a dozen different strains of wheat. What kind of crop would such a wheatfield bear ? Would all the plants in it have grown, by harvest-time, to a predetermined type? Should we not, on the contrary, have every imaginable variety of plant in it, from the most perfect specimen down to the most stunted and deformed, from the most mature down to the most backward, from the most healthy down to the most diseased, not to


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speak of the large percentage of plants which would have perished untimely, owing to exposure, drought, poverty of soil, bad farming, and other unfavourable conditions? Between such a field, bearing such a harvest, and a community of civilised men and women, there would, I think, be a real analogy, though it may be doubted if any effort of imagination could reproduce in the plant-world a tenth part of the variety and complexity of the social life of mankind.

Would our experiences in this imaginary, but quite imaginable, cornfield justify us in saying of wheat nature what the Herbartians say of human nature - that it "is inherently neither good nor bad, but develops one way or the other under external influences and the guidance of the teacher." They would certainly justify us in saying that wheat nature develops one way or the other "under external influences and the guidance of the farmer"; but they would not justify us in arguing from this that wheat nature "is inherently neither good nor bad". On the contrary, they would help us to realise that the Herbartian conclusion, so far as it was an inference from the tendency of human nature "to develop one way or the other", was a complete non-sequitur, For they would have convinced us that, whenever the conditions were favourable, and just so far as they were favourable, growth was a movement towards perfection - the perfection of a certain type or kind; and they would lead us to infer from this that the real tendencies, first of wheat nature and then of human nature, were intrinsically good. For what is the real nature of a living thing? Surely it is the nature, whatever this may be, which manifests itself


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under the conditions that happen to be most favourable to the growth of that particular thing. And in every living thing the nature that evolves itself in response to the stimulus and pressure of a thoroughly favourable environment is good - good in this sense, if in no other, that it is the realisation of the characteristic potencies of the thing in question, and that, as such, it determines our standard of goodness and badness, and enables us in each individual case to measure the degree in which the effort to achieve perfection has succeeded or failed. There are, of course, many exceptions to this rule. Subnormal seeds, like subnormal children, make but a poor response to the most favourable of environments. But, as a statement of general tendency, the rule is, I think, correct.

There is no argument that can be brought forward in support of the Herbartian paradox, which is not as applicable to plant life as to human life. Every vital tendency of human nature is, or seems to be, a potency of opposites. It makes for good, and it makes, or seems to make, for evil. It makes for life, and it makes, or seems to make, for death. So is, and so does, every vital tendency of plant nature. In itself it makes for health and life; but when circumstances are preponderatingly adverse it is liable to suffer defeat; and in its very effort to avoid defeat, it makes, or seems to make, for deformity, for disease, and at last for death. Plant a sapling in an unsuitable soil, and let it be exposed to violent and persistent winds, prolonged droughts, and other adverse conditions. What will happen to it? The very effort that it makes to live and grow will lead to the outgrowth


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of a sickly, stunted, distorted tree, for which a comparatively early death may safely be predicted. But this does not alter the fact that the vital tendencies of the sapling are inherently good, and that, if they are allowed to have their way, they will make for health and life.

It is exactly the same with the vital tendencies of human nature. "Anthropos" reminds me that the sympathetic instincts may give rise to "gang-hooliganism", and he would have me infer from this that those instincts are "essentially neutral". That a boy, whose environment is preponderatingly unfavourable, may be led by his sympathetic instincts into bad companionship and evil ways I freely admit; but the conclusion which "Anthropos" would draw from this admission I entirely deny. If we would know what is the real or central tendency of a given instinct, we must allow it to develop itself under reasonably favourable conditions; in other words, we must allow it to have its way, at any rate within the limits which the healthy growth of the whole human being prescribes. And if we could so deal with the sympathetic instincts, we should find that their central tendency was emancipative and expansive, and we should infer from this that they were inherently good. The boy who joins a gang of hooligans is not necessarily a hardened reprobate. There is probably much good in him; and the spirit of comradeship which keep him loyal to his gang may well be one of the redeeming influences in his life. That it is a redeeming influence - in posse - in the lives of nine-tenth of the boys whom it has led astray, has been the experience of one of the greatest living authorities


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on youthful delinquency, Mr. Homer Lane, late superintendent of the Ford Junior Republic near Detroit, and now superintendent of the "Little Commonwealth" in Dorsetshire, who proved in hundreds of cases that where high spirits (unduly repressed by school discipline) and the love of adventure had led a boy to join a gang of youthful criminals, the spirit of comradeship and loyalty which kept him in the paths of crime was capable, under favourable conditions, of becoming the chief instrument of his regeneration. For in the "Republic", where freedom and responsibility were given in generous measure to the young delinquents and a favourable environment was thus created for them, they spontaneously transferred to their new community the loyalty and devotion, the spirit of comradeship, the readiness to work for the common weal, which they had previously given to their lawless gangs.

We are forbidden to predicate "inherent goodness" of sympathy. Are we also forbidden to predicate it of love? Sympathy may lead a man into bad companionship. The passion of love may lead the lover into the path of jealousy, of hatred, of criminal violence. It may also emancipate him from self, transform his whole nature, and make him capable of prodigies of heroism and self-sacrifice. Is love, then, a mere potency of opposites? If we are in any doubt on this point, let us give love a favourable environment by making the sphere of its activities commensurate with the infinitude of its powers and resources. Let us allow the passion of personal love to develop into the passion of impersonal love - the love of God and Man. Then we shall see love as it really is,


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and we shall realise that it is the apotheosis of all virtues and the fulfilling of all laws.

To come down to a somewhat lower level - what does the Herbartian make of the whole-hearted devotion of a clansman to his clan? The proverbial intensity of clan-loyalty and fidelity is responsible in no small measure for the proverbial savagery of cIan warfare. Does it follow that loyalty and fidelity are inherently neither good nor bad? The story of the wanderings and final escape of the "Young Pretender", with a reward of 30,000 set upon his head, is an eloquent answer to this question. Loyalty and fidelity are inherently good; but, like most good things, they admit of being abused. The connection between the loyalty and fidelity of a clansman and his cruelty to the clan's enemies is accidental, not essential. Like the infatuated lover, he suffers from a cramping environment. For he is doomed to give to the clan what is meant, in the last resort, for mankind.

Sympathy, love, and loyalty are attributes of human nature. Let us now consider human nature as a whole. Jean Valjean, the hero of Victor Hugo's romance Les Misérables, was brought up in poverty and misery, and at an early age was sentenced to penal servitude for stealing a loaf of bread in order to save a beloved sister from dying of starvation. For nineteen years he toiled in a convict prison, where he was treated with the utmost rigour and severity. When he was released, with the taint of a convict on him, he was shunned as a leper and denied food and lodging. Forty years of misery, injustice, and cruelty had taught him to regard his fellow-men as his natural enemies, and were now inclining him to take the downward path


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of world-embracing hatred and reckless criminality. At this crisis the large-hearted, trustful, uncalculating charity of Bishop Myriel came, like a burst of sunshine, into the gloom of his unhappy life, and stirred his better nature into sudden activity. After a fierce struggle his better nature achieved a final victory; and he set his foot on the upward path which led him at last to the highest levels of love and self-sacrifice. Which was the real Jean Valjean - the criminal in whose heart a cruelly adverse environment had implanted hatred of his kind, or the hero who gave life and liberty to his implacable enemy, and saved the life of one whom he regarded as a rival, at the risk of his own? "Anthropos" would say, I presume, that there was no real Jean Valjean; but "the general heart of man" will answer without hesitation that the hatred which came near to poisoning the soul of our hero was the artificial product of the cruelty and injustice of "the world", and that the real nature was that which asserted itself when the conditions became favourable to life and growth.

It is the immense and ever-growing complexity of Man's social life, it is the infinite variety of the environment to which Man has to adapt himself, that inclines the Herbartian to believe that there is no such thing as "human nature." "To leave man to Nature", says Herbart, "or even to wish to lead him to and train him up in Nature, is mere folly. (1) For what is the nature of man?" The

(1) Folly it certainly is, if "following nature" means nothing more than assuring "a free happy growth to all the processes of animal development in man"! (Science of Education, p. 78). In thus wilfully narrowing the meaning of the word nature, Herbart begs the question which is in dispute.


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docile Herbartian regards this argument as conclusive, I should have thought that its futility was self-evident. To the question which Herbart asks, with an air of triumphant conviction: "What is the nature of man?" there is an obvious answer: "That is exactly what we have to find out". Fifty years ago, when the treatment of measles was still crudely empirical, and no attempt had been made to ascertain what Nature was doing in the matter, or to co-operate with her, a physician who was in advance of his age might have said: "Why should we not leave the patient to Nature, who is probably taking steps to combat the invading virus, and content ourselves with making the conditions as favourable as possible to her healing work?" Had such a revolutionary proposal been made, the orthodox physicians of the day would no doubt have cried out with one accord: "To leave the patient to Nature would be mere folly, For what is Nature doing to him?" And to this argument the heretical physician might well have replied: "That is exactly what we have to find out." Time has confounded the orthodoxy of that bygone age and has justified our hypothetical heretic; for science has at last discovered what Nature is doing when a patient is suffering from measles; and the physician is now well content to retire into the background and let Nature take her course, while he co-operates to the best of his ability with her self-protective work.

The science, or pseudo-science, of pædagogy stands today where medical science stood before the germ theory of disease had established itself as sound doctrine. Ignorant as we are of what human


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nature really is, and reluctant as we are (partly from indolence, partly from the blindness of our ignorance) to undertake the Herculean task of determining the equation to its curve, we comfort ourselves with the assumption that there is no such thing as authentic human nature, or "true manhood"; and instead of helping the child to realise the true ends of his being, to become what he has it in him to be, we assign to education the task of directing his education towards ends which we, his seniors, are pleased to regard as desirable for him (and perhaps also as convenient for ourselves).

If the Herbartians could have their way, pædagogy would remain for ever in this pre-scientific stage. To the "true educator" Herbart assigns a "vast and noble task, namely, to penetrate to the innermost core of the mind-germ entrusted to his keeping, and, leaving the better part of its individuality intact, to inoculate it with thoughts, feelings, and desires it could not otherwise have obtained." In this sentence the Herbartian educational programme is briefly expounded. There are certain questions which they constrain one to ask. In what sense can it be said that the mind-germ of B is in the "keeping" of A? Is it possible for A (a private tutor, I imagine) to penetrate to the inmost core of the mind-germ of B (a boy of any age between eight and eighteen)? Is it conceivable that A should be able to perform this remarkable surgical operation without cutting into or otherwise interfering with "the better part" of B's "individuality"? If by some miracle of surgical skill A should be able to perform the first part of this operation successfully, will it be possible for him


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to complete it by inoculating B's mind-germ "with thoughts, feelings, and desires"? Is not the task of introducing "thoughts, feelings, and desires" into the mind or soul of another about as impracticable as that of carrying sunbeams into a cottage in a sieve?

For what are thoughts, feelings, and desires? Are they not states or affections of the soul - things which are experienced by the soul in response to various stimuli, and which, if not experienced by it, do not and cannot exist? They are not things which a child can "obtain" from a teacher as he "obtains" books or pencils or paper. They are not things with which a child can be "inoculated", or which can otherwise be put into him from without. Least of all are they things which can be introduced, as through a hollow needle, into the inmost core of the germ of his soul. It is only when the soul has begun to germinate, it is only when its germ is a germ no longer, that it becomes possible for it to feel, to think, and to desire. To provide mental food for the child, out of which, by subtle processes of his own, he will evolve thoughts and feelings and desires, is one thing, To inoculate the soul-germ of the child with what are really states or affections of his own germinating soul, is another thing. And the difference between the two programmes measures, as it seems to me, the difference between the true and the false theory of education.

We are told that, when the mind-germ has been duly "inoculated with thoughts, feelings, and desires", it will "absorb these into itself." Here, again, the Herbartian psychology, or the Her-


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bartian imagery, seems to be at fault. The mind-germ can no more absorb into itself thoughts, feelings, and desires than the germ of the body can absorb into itself sensations of hunger and thirst. The growing body can absorb food into itself and transform this in due season into the nerve-system which enables it to feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. In like manner, the growing mind or soul can absorb into itself various external influences, and transform these in due season into the mental and spiritual nerve-system which enables it to think, to feel, and to desire, But this process of absorption has less than nothing in common with that which the Herbartian psychology assigns to the mind-germ of the growing child.

We are further told that the thoughts, feelings, and desires with which the mind-germ is to be inoculated, and which it will absorb into itself, "will continually guide and determine its after-growth". In what direction will they guide it? Will their ferment work for good or for evil? The Herbartian seems to assume that it will necessarily work for good. What warrant has he for this optimistic assumption? If it were possible for the teacher to penetrate into the inmost core of the mind-germ of the child, if it were possible for him to inoculate the mind-germ with thoughts, feelings, and desires, is it certain that this delicate operation, even if successfully performed, would always have a satisfactory issue? In this country alone there are, I believe, some 200,000 teachers, not to speak of parents, guardians, nurses, and other trainers of the young. How many of these could be trusted to inoculate the mind-germs of their pupils with


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thoughts, feelings, and desires, so true and so pure that they would not poison rather than nourish those budding souls? I have already asked this question in another form, and Herbart himself has answered it. (1)

To me, indeed, it seems that when the Herbartian uses such words as mind-germ and after-growth, he gives his own case away. For what is a germ but an organised group of latent potencies? What is growth but the gradual realisation of its latent potencies by the awakened germ? And what is after-growth but the continuation of fore-growth? If these definitions are even approximately correct, what task can we set the mind-germ of the child but that of germinating and growing, and what task can we set the teacher but that of helping the mind-germ to grow? To deal otherwise with it, to deal with it as Herbart proposes, to introduce the products of a later stage of development into the midst of the potencies which are wrapped up in the germ, if it were not a wildly impracticable operation, would assuredly be a fatal one. The only alternative is for the teacher to allow the mind-germ to germinate along the lines of its own being, and then to give it the food, the guidance, and the stimulus which will enable it to make further and stronger growth along those lines.

The truth is that the Herbartian is ill at ease when he uses metaphors drawn from the world of life and growth. Nor is this to be wondered at. For the analogies of that world must needs commit him to the growth theory of education, which he does not believe in, and might even commit him, if

(1) See pp. 17, 18.


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he were off his guard, to that more advanced theory which he openly repudiates. When, for example, Herbart says that in certain circumstances "a species of religious culture will clothe him (the pupil) in a uniform garb, so that the partisan of a sect, rather than the pure human being, (1) will at once be seen in him", and when he goes on to say that "certain demands of right and wrong will be burnt as it were for ever into his whole being, but will by their sharpness have destroyed in him the manifold budding of pure nature", (1) he accepts by implication the plant-growth theory of education, the very theory which, when he is fully on his guard, he rejects as "mere folly". "The pure human being" - "the manifold budding of pure nature" - what does the Herbartian pædagogy know, or care to know, of these?

The Herbartian seems to be more at ease when he draws his metaphors from the inorganic world. The sentence which I have already quoted, in which Herbart describes the composition of the human soul, is a striking example of the use - the misuse, I would say - of such a metaphor, "The mind of an adult, consisting (1) of knowledge and imaginings, of resolves and doubts, of good, bad, strong, weak, conscious, and unconscious opinions and inclinations, is put together (1) differently in cultured and uncultured men, Germans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, etc." In other words, the mind consists of what are really its own states, affections, and activities, and these are put together differently in different types of mind, Might it not be said, with equal propriety, that the human body "consists of"

(1) The italics are mine.


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its own sensations, energies, degrees of temperature, states of dryness or moisture, etc., and that these are "put together differently" in different types of body? I find it difficult to share the mental outlook of the thinker who, having rejected all metaphors drawn from the plant-world as inapplicable to human life, is content to liken the mind to a mosaic, of which the mind's own products are the constituent fragments.

But the Herbartian seems to be most at ease when he uses metaphors drawn from the building trade. In his wildly fantastic and highly disputable psycho-philosophy, which the Herbartian, more suo, accepts as gospel, Herbart contends that the soul (or mind) is "built" of "presentations" or "ideas", which are supplied to it in childhood by the teacher, whose highest function, therefore, is that of building the child's soul. Let us assume, for argument's sake, that the teacher can supply "presentations" to his pupils just as a nurse supplies bread and milk to her charges. Does it follow that he builds their souls? Is the soul of a child built of "presentations"? Is the body of a child built of bread and milk? To say that a nurse builds the bodies of her charges is to magnify unduly the part that she plays. The body builds itself up by transforming bread and milk and other foods into the building materials that it needs, and then sending those materials, through the circulating blood, into all parts of its own frame. In like manner, the soul, if we may argue from analogy (and in the last resort we have nothing else to argue from), builds itself up by transforming "presentations" and other kinds of soul-food into the


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building materials that it needs, and then sending those materials into all parts of its own being. Even in the body the building processes are infinitely subtle and complex. When a bone is broken or the sheath detached from the inner bone, Nature hurries up building materials to the damaged limb, the blood acting as their carrier, and begins to reunite the dissevered parts. She does this without waiting for the doctor's permission; and he will tell you that he can do nothing in the matter but try to make the conditions favourable to her healing work. Can the teacher do more for Nature's building and repairing work in the soul? He can provide the soul-food, or part of the soul-food, which Nature needs, and which she will transform into building materials by occult, quasi-chemical processes of her own. He can give to Nature some measure of guidance, just as, in the case of a fracture, the doctor can give her the guidance of accurately setting the broken bone. He may even be able, if he happens to have a magnetic personality, to stimulate the building processes into unwonted activity. But he cannot himself build. And if the building processes of the body are infinitely subtle and complex, how much more subtle and complex must be the building processes of the far more highly organised soul! And is it not dangerous, to say the least, to interpret processes which belong to the highest known level of organic life, through the medium of a simile which has its true meaning by reference to mechanical operations and inorganic materials? The teacher who finds it convenient to use such a simile, may or may not be misled by it; but to his disciples,


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with their traditional preference of the letter to the spirit, it may well prove a pitfall from which they will never escape.

I will now briefly state the case as between the "gardening" and the "building" schools of pædagogy. When we are dealing with problems which, like those of education, are obscure, subtle, and elusive, we must needs call analogies to our aid, Our latent faith in the unity and self-identity of Nature constrains us to do this, But where are we to find the analogies that we need? Our first impulse is to look for them in the realm of animal life - in the corporeal life of Man and in the lives of the "lower animals". Analogies drawn from the processes of the human body are helpful, and will become increasingly so with the further progress of medical science, And we have much to learn from the history of the healing art, with its long record of blundering interferences with the spontaneous operations of Nature in the human frame. But, apart from this, we have little to learn from Man's treatment of his own body: for what is called "physical training" is a vital part of education; and as its own special problems are almost as much in dispute as the wider educational problems which we are trying to elucidate (if, indeed, they can be separated from these), it is clear that we must go elsewhere for the analogies that we need for this purpose. Analogies drawn from our dealings with the lower animals will not help us much, for, as I have already pointed out, wild animals are unamenable, and tame animals are over-amenable, to human influence. Besides, our treatment of the latter is, as a rule, entirely utilitarian, our one object


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being to make them serviceable to ourselves. As growers of plants we are also largely guided by considerations of utility. But it frequently happens that the more fully a plant develops its own characteristic nature, the more useful it is to us; and in the garden, at any rate, we do grow plants for their own sakes, and try, to the best of our knowledge and ability, to help them to realise their latent possibilities of perfection. For this reason, and because dogmatic interference with the spontaneous processes of growth is more difficult in the case of plants than of animals, whereas guidance is more easily given and more quickly responded to, those who believe that the business of education is to train rather than to mould have instinctively gone to the plant-world in general, and to the garden in particular, for analogies which will throw light on their problems. The Herbartian, on the other hand, in his desire to magnify the work of the "instructor" and belittle the work of Nature, dispenses as far as possible with analogies drawn from the world of life and growth; and as he cannot dispense with metaphors and similes, he has no choice but to draw most of his analogies from the inorganic world, where men are masters of their materials and can do with them whatever they please. One result of this is that he finds himself arguing from what is mechanical to what is vital, from what Man does when he deals with bricks and mortar and other lifeless things, to what he ought to do when he is dealing with the mysteries of an expanding soul. Another result is that he transfers all activity from the child to the teacher, and makes the former the passive instrument of the latter's


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masterful will. These results may not be intended or even foreseen by the Herbartian; but they are forced upon him by the imagery that he has chosen to employ. For words and figures of speech have laws of their own which exact penalties from those who disregard them; and the nemesis of the Herbartian's paradoxical psychology is that his similes and metaphors not infrequently refuse to work.

There is one point on which, as a Neo-Froebelian, I must guard against being misunderstood. Analogy is not identity. Nor is it even exact parallelism. Community of principle rather than of detail is of its essence. When the same master-principle, operating in two different milieux, causes these to resemble each other in certain general features, it is permissible, with due caution and reservation, to argue from the known laws and tendencies of the one to the unknown or less known laws and tendencies of the other. But to carry such an argument far into detail would be to invite attack where one's defences were weakest. And so, when I say that there is a general analogy between plant growth and human growth, I do not mean that the two processes are in all respects alike, I mean that they have certain broad features in common which make it possible to argue, on broad lines and within reasonable limits, from the actualities of the one to the possibilities of the other. But I mean no more than this. I know that, apart from the inevitable dissimilarity in details, there are certain striking points of difference as well as of resemblance between the two worlds, I know, for example, that scientific breeding plays a part in plant-development which it has never played and


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will never play in human development; and that, on the other hand, progress towards ideal perfection can be made within the limits of a single human life, the equivalent of which in the plant-world would need many generations for its achievement. But the fact remains that the two worlds of organic life have many vital features in common, and that, therefore, to argue analogically from the one to the other is a perfectly legitimate process.

That Froebel was right in the main when he went to the garden rather than the builder's yard for his analogies, the progress of botanical and agricultural science is ever tending to prove. For the more we know of the laws of plant life and the possibilities of plant development, the more numerous and suggestive the points of resemblance between the two worlds are found to be. To take one significant instance which happens to bear directly on our present problem. It may be said that in every man who is born into this world there are three sets of potencies waiting to be realised - the potencies of his individual self, the potencies of his social or communal self, and the potencies of his ideal self. The same three sets of potencies are found to exist in every cultivated plant. Yet a hundred years ago, when Herbart thought and wrote, it was generally believed that in a plant there was one set of potencies only, the potencies of the communal self, of the particular "strain". Hence came the Herbartian belief that every seed of wheat "develops to a predetermined form". Hence came the Herbartian assumption that the analogies of plant life are not applicable to human life. And hence came the Herbartian theory that


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the teacher is a builder rather than a grower of souls. If Herbart were living now, he might possibly do what his followers seem to be incapable of doing - revise his philosophy of education; for in the light of recent researches he would know (if I may repeat my own words) that there is no finality in the development of wheat nature, (1) and that each wheat-plant has an individuality of its own which is not the less real because our crass senses may be unable to discern it.

The relations of the three sets of potencies to one another will be considered in a later chapter. Meanwhile, I am content to know that the wheat-ideal - an ideal to which experimental science is ever approximating but never attaining - slumbers in each seed of wheat just as the Magnum Bonum plum, with all its ulterior possibilities, slumbers in each bullace, or as the Newtown Pippin, with all its ulterior possibilities, slumbers in each crab-apple. And I infer from this what I believe on other grounds - that the ideal self, the ιδεα of the human race, the ultimate perfection of human nature, slumbers in each new-born babe, and slumbers yet more profoundly in each undeveloped, unemancipated, self-centred man. To awaken the ideal self from its slumber and help it to unfold itself is the highest achievement of the cultivator, whatever may be the field of his labour. In the garden or the experimental farm he achieves this end by a judicious combination of breeding and growing. In the nursery and the schoolroom he must needs trust to growing alone, But he will find, as a set-

(1) i. e. of cultivated plant nature. What is true of the wheat-plant is true of every plant that man chooses to cultivate.


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off to this limitation, that the response which the awakening self makes to skilful culture is relatively far more rapid in the case of the child than in the case of the seedling or sapling or the young of any other infra-human organism.

In conclusion. Nothing that Herbart or the Herbartians have said has shaken my faith in the theory of education which I expounded in What Is and What Might Be, and which, as I well know, is of immemorial antiquity and in no sense my own. I still believe that there are certain central tendencies in human nature which are directed towards a real though infinitely distant end - the ideal perfection of the human type. I still believe that, if human nature is allowed to evolve itself healthily, happily, and harmoniously, these central tendencies will affirm themselves as central, and will automatically subordinate to themselves the lower, narrower, cruder tendencies which at present play so prominent a part in human life. I still believe that the central tendencies of human nature are its true tendencies, and that therefore, in promise and potency, Man is good, not evil, the essence of evil being the unnatural triumph of the subordinate over the central tendency, of the lower over the higher. I still believe, in other words, that when the growth of the soul is healthy, happy, and harmonious, the lower side of human nature, being placed, in the natural course of things, under the control of the higher, will cease to be evil, and that human nature, in its organised totality, will then reveal itself as intrinsically good. I still believe that the function of education is to foster the growth of human


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nature as an organic whole, and so help it to unfold its natural goodness and grow towards its natural perfection, And I still believe that if education is to fulfil this function, it must give the child, in addition to nourishment and guidance, such a measure of freedom as will enable him to exercise his higher faculties by and for himself.

If I were to abjure this faith, what would the Herbartians offer me in its place? A theory of education which is derived deductively from a fantastic psycho-philosophy, belonging to a bygone age, and is therefore out of touch with the more recent developments of psycho-philosophical speculation and psycho-physiological research; which repudiates the authority of Nature and derives no support from the analogies of the world of life and growth; which is precluded by its own first principles from studying human nature as it manifests itself in the child's unfolding life; which refuses to utilise the expansive forces that are at work in the child, as in every growing organism; which takes no account of the dramatic, the artistic, the musical, the constructive tendencies of the child's soul; which represses his spontaneous activities and dooms him to a life of receptiveness and passivity; which ignores those early years of childhood in which, more than in any other period of youth, the future man is made or marred; which treats children of eight as if they were adolescents of twice that age, and adolescents as if they were grown-up men and women; which limits what is formative and vitalising in the child's environment to the "presentations" or "ideas" with which his teacher is presumably able to supply


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him; which makes the teacher a mere purveyor of "presentations" or "ideas" and yet allows him to flatter himself that he is a builder of souls; which mistakes its own phrases for realities, and its own formulæ for laws of nature, and allows its own catchwords and shibboleths to determine the horizon of its vision; which regards itself as final and authoritative, and would impose itself dogmatically, if it could but capture the machinery of education, on every teacher and every child. (1)

1 See Chapter VII, p. 228.





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CHAPTER II

ORIGINAL SIN

IN the first part of What Is and What Might Be I contended that education in the West is vitiated, and has long been vitiated, by the teacher's profound distrust of the child's nature, which leads him to impose himself on the child at every turn, to deprive him of freedom, to drill him into mechanical obedience, to leave nothing to his initiative, to do everything for him - and, by thus repressing his spontaneous activities, to arrest, or at least to retard and distort, the whole process of his mental and spiritual growth. And I contended, further, that this fatal distrust of the child's nature was rooted in the prevailing distrust of human nature, which had both expressed itself in, and been fostered by, the Christian doctrine of Original Sin.

For saying this I have been sternly taken to task by one or two journalistic critics and by some of my Anglican friends. Canon Scott Holland, in the Commonwealth, (1) writes as follows: "Mr. Holmes ... in his book on education makes one rub one's eyes, Where has he been living? Whom has he been seeing? He actually believes that all our Christian education is dominated by a dark and disastrous Calvinism, which preaches the inherent wickedness

(1) The Commonwealth had previously given my book a very appreciative notice written by Mr. Percy Dearmer.


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of man's nature. Surely, if there is one creed which has passed wholly out of popular existence, it is this kind of Calvinism. Its ancient fortresses know it no more. Presbyterianism in Scotland, Nonconformity in England and Wales, have all dropped it. It is gone, like a bad dream. ... Mr. Holmes positively associates the doctrine of the Fall with this belief in the inherent wickedness of human nature. Of course the doctrine of the Fall asserts the precise opposite to this. It is the declaration that sin can never be natural, in that it is always, in every form of it, an alien intrusion which cannot be reconciled with our true nature. In sinning we fall; we betray ourselves; we do violence to our true self; we violate the law of our being. Sin can never be natural; can never be human; however wide its domain, however prolonged its sway. Man's nature protests against it to the end." And, having followed up this original but unorthodox interpretation of the story of the Fall, with an exposition of the somewhat paradoxical thesis that "the Jew ... alone of all supernaturalists, has made a religion of the idea of growth", he goes on to tell me that I "must, really, try to discover the first elements of Christianity", before I criticise it.

By "Christianity", in the last sentence, my critic means, I presume, Christianity as interpreted by the School of Anglo-Catholic or Neo-Anglican "intellectuals" to which he belongs. This intellectual subsection of the Anglo-Catholic section of the Church of England seems to imagine that the central stream of Christian life and thought flows in its somewhat narrow channel: and because I have not kept pace with the latest developments of


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its theology, I am regarded as a Rip Van Winkle, who, having waked from a slumber of a few years' duration, is now entirely out of touch with Christian theology, or, in my critic's words, is ignorant of the "first elements of Christianity,"

I am afraid I cannot take this brilliant clique of theologians quite so seriously as it is disposed to take itself. To say the truth, I was not thinking of it (1) - though I was not wholly ignorant of its latest achievements - when I wrote my book. Nor, indeed, except when I dealt directly with the problem of religious education in "non-provided" schools, was I thinking exclusively, or even mainly, of the composite Church of England, with its "Catholic" right wing, its Calvinistic left wing, and its common-sensical, eminently respectable, Church-and-State centre - a Church which, for historical reasons, has no philosophical or even theological individuality, and which is therefore of less interest to me, from that point of view, than the smallest of the sects, I was also thinking of the greater currents of Christian life and thought - of the Greek Church in the East, of the Roman Church in the South and West, of the Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches in the North and North-west. In all these Churches, so far as their teachers remain orthodox, the doctrine of Original Sin, interpreted as I have interpreted it, is still authoritatively taught.

An Anglican priest, in a letter of polite remonstrance, tells me that "of course everyone knows that by Original Sin is meant nothing more than

(1) Except for a passing moment. See What Is and What Might Be, footnote to p. 47.


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moral inadequacy." Does "everyone" know this? I happen to possess a Manual of Roman Catholic theology - Outlines of Dogmatic Theology is its exact title - written by the Rev. Sylvester Hunter, S.J. This work may, I suppose, be regarded as authoritative, or at any rate as orthodox, for it bears the "imprimatur" of the late Archbishop of Westminster. In its second volume there is an interesting and instructive chapter on the "Fall of Man". Our author begins by telling us that "Adam sinned, and by his sin lost the supernatural and preternatural gifts with which his nature was adorned in Paradise; and not only so, but involved the whole of his posterity in the consequences of his sin, so that all who come from him by way of human generation are conceived in the state which is called Original Sin, except so far as a special exemption may be granted by God to an individual." He goes on to tell us that the Biblical story of the Fall is a "true and literal history of what happened", and that to deny this involves "the overthrow of the whole Christian revelation, which in numberless ways assumes the truth of the history." He then tells us that "it is not open to doubt that Adam himself by his sin lost the spiritual life which he had enjoyed, and became the enemy of God"; and that what Adam brought upon himself he brought upon the whole human race. On this point our author is clear and emphatic. There is no coquetting with Darwinism. The whole human race are the direct descendants of Adam and Eve. (1) It follows that "by the one sin of Adam, all men were made sinners, or contracted the stain of sin. Sin,

1 See Vol. II of the Manual, p. 352.


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therefore, one in its origin, being transfused into all by propagation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own."

This is what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about the Fall and its consequences; and, as our author admits, it is in substantial agreement with what is taught by other Christian Churches and sects. Our author quotes with full approval, except so far as the last sentence in it is concerned, the Ninth of the Articles of the Established Church of England. This article, which many of our latter-day theologians find it convenient to ignore, runs as follows:

"Of Original or Birth Sin - Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault or corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby every man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit, and therefore in every person born into the world it deserveth God's wrath and damnation; and this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh (called in Greek φρσνημα σαρκος, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh) is not subject to the law of God. And though there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptised, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin."

Our author says that "the earlier part" of the Article - i. e. at least as far as "damnation" - "is in


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substantial agreement with the Catholic teaching, as declared by the Council of Trent"; and he goes on to say that though "most of the prominent Protestant sects profess agreement with the Catholic Church on the subject of Original Sin, there is room for doubt whether the ministers of these sects are always diligent in preaching it; this is done where Calvinistic or Lutheran tenets prevail, (1) but in many cases the views are insensibly disappearing."

It is clear, then, that the Roman Catholic Church regards the teaching of the Anglican, the Calvinistic, and the Lutheran Churches (2) on the subject of Original Sin as in substantial agreement with its own. And its own teaching amounts to this: that Adam "by his sin lost the spiritual life which he had enjoyed, and became the enemy of God"; that his sin, "being transfused into all by propagation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own"; in other words, that "men are actually in the state of sin as soon as they come into the world"; or, in the words of our own Ninth Article, that "Original Sin ... is the fault or corruption of the nature of every man, ... whereby every man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth. always contrary to the spirit, and therefore in every person born into the world it deserveth God's wrath and damnation."

Such is the doctrine of Original Sin, as expounded by all the great Churches of Christendom and by most of the minor sects. Will Canon Scott

(1) The italics are mine.

(2) The Greek Church is not mentioned, for the reason, I presume, that the identity of its theological teaching with that of the Roman Church on nearly all vital points is taken for granted.


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Holland tell me wherein it differs from the rough-and-ready exposition of the doctrine which I gave in my book? I know that I am a somewhat crude theologian, and that I am not up to all the subtleties and niceties of theological diction; and I can well believe that there are points on which my own diction needs to be corrected. But I claim that, as regards the essential features of the doctrine, I have but echoed the teaching which was given to me in my youth (as a member of the then established Church of Ireland), and which has long been and is still regarded as "orthodox" in all parts of the Christian world. If my readers will look at the footnote to p. 47 of What Is and What Might Be, they will see that in order to safeguard my position and forestall possible criticism, I took care to say that I based my interpretation of the doctrine of Original Sin on the first part of the Ninth of our Thirty-nine Articles. As the Roman Catholic Church, which on this point is in entire agreement with the Greek Church, and vouches for the orthodoxy of the Calvinistic and Lutheran Churches, accepts the Anglican interpretation of the doctrine, as set forth in the Ninth Article, as substantially correct, I think I may say, without hesitation, that in this matter, if in no other, my theology is sound.

Can the same be said of my critic's? Let us see. He holds that "sin can never be natural", that "it cannot be reconciled with our true nature". At this rate our "true nature" has but to assert itself in order to deliver us from bondage to sin. Is this one of "the first elements of Christianity"? I wish it were; but unless "Christianity" is a different thing from Christian teaching, it certainly is not.


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According to the teaching of the Churches the new-born infant, who is a child of Nature, is in a most unhappy plight. As a son of Adam, he has "lost the spiritual life" which his first father enjoyed in Paradise; he is "the enemy of God"; he is "of his own nature inclined to evil"; he is "a child of wrath". What is the remedy for this state of things? On this point the teaching of the Churches is clear and direct. The remedy is supernatural, not natural. If the child remained in a state of nature, he would deserve and incur "God's wrath and damnation". He is saved from this terrible doom by the communication to him of supernatural grace - the grace which Adam lost by his sin - in the sacrament of Baptism, and by the periodical renewal of that gift through other sacramental channels.

This is what the leading Christian Churches agree in teaching; and this is what my critic, as an Anglo-Catholic, professes to believe. What, then, becomes of his vehement assertion that "of course the doctrine of the Fall asserts the precise opposite" to "the doctrine of the inherent sinfulness of human nature"; that "it is the declaration that sin can never be natural, in that it is always, in every form of it, an alien intrusion which cannot be reconciled with our true nature"; that "sin can never be natural: can never be human: however wide its domain; however prolonged its sway": that "Man's nature protests against it to the end; repudiates it as a foreign element"; and so on? What meaning are we to attach to this outburst? Is my critic expounding what Christendom believes or what he himself believes? Or is he one of those


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who think that whatever they happen to believe is "Christian truth"? He holds that sin is unnatural and even anti-natural. But the theological opposite and antidote to sin is supernatural grace. If sin is anti-natural and its opposite is supernatural, where does human nature come in? What function are we to assign to it? What work, moral or spiritual, is there for it to do? When I do wrong, I fall below my nature. When I do right, I rise above it. What precise level of morality do I reach when I am true to my nature? Or does my critic hold that sin is the triumph of the lower over the higher, of the unreal over the real nature? Does he hold that what we call "supernature" is the true nature of Man? Does he hold (to quote familiar words) that

"Nature is made better by no mean
But Nature makes that mean"?
This is what I hold; but it is not what is taught by the Christian Churches, If there is any one point on which nearly all the Churches are agreed, it is that "nature" is the opposite of "grace"; that "grace" is a supernatural gift; that, apart from the influx of supernatural grace into the soul, there is no salvation; in fine that left to himself, left to the care and control of "nature", Man is a "child of wrath", and an "enemy of God". "If anyone assert", says the first canon of the Fifth Session of the Council of Trent, "that this sin of Adam - which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propagation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own - is taken away ... by the powers of human nature ... let him be anathema." My critic's theory that sin is a lapse


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from a state of nature, not from a state of supernatural grace, is a heresy, for which, had he lived 400 years ago, he would probably have been burnt at the stake.

There are one or two other critics to whom I owe a few words of explanation. Some of my clerical friends seem to think that I have forgotten all about the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. They are mistaken. Without directly alluding to the doctrine, I have always kept it in mind; and I am glad that I should now be reminded of it, for it can easily be shown that, far from conflicting with my interpretation of the doctrine of Original Sin, it entirely bears it out. Let us open our Prayer-book at the "Ministration of Public Baptism of Infants". What do we read? After having ascertained that the infant who has been brought to him has not been baptised, "the priest shall proceed as followeth":

"Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin; and that our Saviour Christ saith, 'None can enter into the Kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of Water and of the Holy Ghost' - I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous mercy he will grant to this child that thing which by nature he cannot have; that he may be baptised with Water and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ's holy Church, and be made a living member of the same." The passages which I have italicised are significant. In baptism we "who are conceived and born in sin" are made (in the words of the Church Catechism) members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the King-


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dom of Heaven. By nature we are none of these things. The new-born child is not even a child of God. But in baptism the "corruption of his nature", its inborn "inclination to evil", is supernaturally corrected. The correction is, however, potential rather than actual; and if it is to become permanently effective, there must be a constant influx into the child's life of a supernatural influence called grace. That the nature of the child is sinful, and that growth along the lines of it will lead to perdition, is the fundamental assumption on which the whole sacramental system is ultimately based. The dualism of nature and grace is, I repeat, at the heart of Christian theology. A struggle between natural tendency and supernatural influence is supposed to be for ever going on in the soul even of the baptised and therefore regenerated child. And the education that fosters natural growth must needs be aiding and abetting nature in its resistance to grace.

It is with good reason, then, that popular instinct, remaining true on this point to the teaching of the Churches, has seen in baptism no sudden transformation of the child's nature which would make it thenceforth worthy of complete trust, but rather the influx into the child's soul of a supernatural influence which, if periodically renewed, will help him to combat the evil inclinations of his nature, and to lead - "what by nature he cannot" lead - a "spiritual life". And it is with good reason that the plain, unsophisticated "believer", far from allowing the doctrine of baptismal regeneration to modify his educational theories and practices in the direction of trusting or giving freedom to the


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child, has instinctively deduced from the idea of supernatural interference with the child's nature, which underlies the orthodox doctrine, the fundamental axiom of his own philosophy of education.

And what of the hundreds of millions of children who have never been, and never will be, baptised? What of the youthful Mohammedans, Hindus, Buddhists, and Shintoists, not to speak of the unbaptised children of agnostic parents in this and other "Christian" countries? Do not my clerical friends hold that these children are "in a state of sin", that they have "no spiritual life", that they are "the enemies of God", that "of their own nature" they are "inclined to evil", and that if they grow along the lines of their nature they will ripen into ruin and perdition? If they do not hold this, what meaning do they attach to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration? The charity which might incline them to regard even the unbaptised and unregenerate "heathen" as "children of God", would undermine the very foundations of their theology. That I have not ignored the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, that on the contrary I have fully recognised its central position in the scheme of "orthodox" theology, is, let me assure them, one reason why I have taken the great Christian doctrine of Original Sin more seriously than some of them are disposed to do.

Father Sydney Smith, S.J., writing in The Month, tells me, in correction of my somewhat crude theology, that the Fall was a descent "from the supernatural to the natural, and by no means from the natural to something beneath the natural." (1) I

(1) I do not think I ever said that the Fall was a descent" from [footnote continues on next page]


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accept this correction the more readily because, instead of weakening my position, it strengthens it. If the effect of the Fall had been to corrupt human nature, one might perhaps have dreamed of a remedy which would have healed its disorder and restored it to its state of pristine health and purity. But if the Fall was a descent from the supernatural to the natural, one is bound to conclude that to be in a state of nature is to be "in a state of sin", to have "lost spiritual life", to be "the enemy of God", to be "inclined to evil", and so on. And from this conclusion one is bound to draw the further inference that the distrust, or rather despair (for now I must use the stronger word), of human nature which has long been the evil genius of Western education, is indeed, as I have contended, at the heart of Christian theology. I shall no doubt be reminded that the new-born babe, in his pre-baptismal days, is not actually "in a state of sin", is not actually "the enemy of God", is not actually "inclined to evil", etc, No; but potentially, as a child of Nature, he is all these things; and the training which would develop his nature, would therefore have the effect of transforming these terrible potencies of evil into the corresponding actualities.

There is another inference to be drawn from my

[footnote continues from previous page] the natural to something beneath the natural." But the point is not worth discussing, By what precise name we are to call the state of innocence in which Man is supposed to have lived before the Fall, matters little? What does matter is that, as the result of the Fall, we children of Adam have left that state of innocence behind us, and are now in the state which we call "human nature"; that human nature, according to the teaching of Christianity in all lands and all ages, is corrupt, sinful, inclined to evil; and, therefore, that "Salvation" is to be achieved, not by natural development, but by the transforming influence of supernatural grace,


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critic's interpretation of the Fall. If the Fall was indeed a descent from the supernatural to the natural, it must needs follow that "salvation" is an ascent from the natural to the supernatural. It must needs follow, in other words, that Man is "saved", not by developing his nature, but by escaping from it. Here again we see that my critic's theology concedes all, and more than all, that I have asserted with regard to the doctrine of Original Sin and its potential effect on the theory and practice of education. To say that you "descend" to the level of human nature, that you arrive at it by a "fall", by a catastrophic downward movement, is by implication to disparage it to an extent which words - even the strongest words that theology uses - would be powerless to measure. And to say that you are "saved" by an ascent from human nature to a supernatural level, is to imply that you cannot be saved by the education which fosters natural growth. Both de jure and de facto disparagement and distrust of human nature follow from the orthodox doctrine of the Fall as expounded by my critic; and disparagement and distrust of human nature are at the root of all those dominant defects of our civilisation which are faithfully reproduced in our educational system - our externalism, our materialism, our false standards, our false ideals.

But even if Canon Scott Holland were right, even if a tidal wave of "Modernism" had submerged all the Churches and sects of Christendom while I was sleeping my Rip Van Winkle sleep, my position would not be affected thereby. It is not what is taught today in church or chapel that is responsible for our educational theories and


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practices, but what has been taught for the past 1500 years. Beliefs which have impregnated the atmosphere of a continent for fifty successive generations, must needs live on in their consequences long after they have lost their hold on our hearts and minds. The ways of looking at life, the habits of thought, the mental and spiritual prejudices, the ethical standards, the social instincts, the ideals of various kinds in which our creeds express themselves while they are still in the vigour of their prime, will continue to sway our lives and determine the main lines of our conduct, long after the dogmas into which we allow our beliefs to crystallise have ceased to ring true as formulæ, and have ceased to appeal to us as concepts. Now my critic will admit that, however complete may have been the hypothetical triumph of Modernism, it is of very recent date. My sleep may have lasted for fifteen or twenty years, but certainly not for a longer period. And is it likely that in those fifteen or twenty years anything material can have been done towards undoing the consequences of 1500 years of "orthodox" teaching and belief? When, therefore, I affiliate the externalism of Western life, with all its disastrous effects on education, to certain religious beliefs which have always been regarded as central in the creed of Christendom, it is nothing to the purpose to tell me that during the past fifteen or twenty years those beliefs have fallen into disrepute. For the philosophy of life in which they embodied themselves in the days of their unquestioned ascendancy, still has us in its grip. And in that philosophy of life they are still living influences; and until we have followed them into


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the heart of it, and grappled with them there and overthrown them, our repudiation of them as formulæ will have borne no fruit. The "enlightened" divine who laughs the old-fashioned doctrine of Original Sin out of court, and yet shows in the dogmatic attitude which he instinctively adopts, and in his demand for blind faith and unquestioning obedience, that he has a profound distrust of human nature, is obviously under the influence of the very doctrine which he has consciously disowned; and he proves in his own person that the Modernist reaction of the past few years has not yet had time to transform the latent assumptions which govern our conduct, and that the garnered harvest of ideas on which we are still living was sown neither today nor yesterday, but during those bygone ages in which Mediævalism determined the horizon of our faith.

So much as to the official teaching of the Christian Churches with regard to the Fall and Original Sin. What was taught 1000 years ago is still taught. The Fall is still taken seriously as a duly authenticated event in human history; and its disastrous consequences are still set forth in clear and unambiguous terms.

But, after all, it is not the official teaching of the Churches that concerns me so much as what the masses, the rank and file of believing Christians, have made of that teaching. The theology of which I gave a rough-and-ready exposition in my book on education, is, as I was careful to explain, the theology of the people, not of the "Schools". The theology of the "Schools" has indeed shaped itself


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in response to the sub-conscious demands of popular thought. But once its dogmas have been formulated, popular thought - to which the ideas that underlie them may be said to belong - proceeds to interpret them in its own direct and simple way. The average Christian, like myself, is a somewhat crude theologian. But when his teachers tell him that, as a descendant of Adam, he has lapsed from a state of grace into a state of nature; that, as a child of nature, he has lost his spiritual life, he is the enemy of God, he is in a state of sin, he is inclined to evil, he has incurred God's wrath and damnation; and that only by supernatural means can he hope to rise to the level from which he fell - he may surely be pardoned for having a very poor opinion of human nature (whether his expression of that opinion be theologically correct or not) and for making distrust of human nature the basis of his practical philosophy of life. When, for example, he is taught in the Outlines of Dogmatic Theology that Adam "lost his spiritual life", that he transmitted this loss to all his descendants, and that by no grace or effort of nature can the loss be made good, is he to be blamed for inferring from this teaching that human nature, left to itself, has no capacity for spiritual life, and for sounding, under the influence of this conception, the lowest depth of pessimistic distrust of himself and his fellow-men?

Canon Scott Holland seems to think that the light which has recently dawned on him and some of his Anglo-Catholic friends is shining now in all parts of Christendom. This is a mistake. When we are basking in the sunshine, we find it hard to realise that other parts of the world are being deluged with rain; and when our sky is heavily overcast we find


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it hard to realise that there are regions where the sun is bright and the sky blue. My critic seems to be afflicted with a similar failure of imagination. Even the "hard-shell" Calvinism, which he believes to have passed away "like an evil dream", is still a power in this and other lands. Writers like Mr. Eden Phillpotts, who are intimately acquainted with certain localities, and with all the sorts and conditions of men who dwell in them, could give him valuable information on this point. As for those who, while avoiding the extreme of Calvinistic gloom, hold the doctrine of Original Sin in the form in which it was taught to them when they were children, their name is still legion. If they are not so numerous as they once were, the reason is not that this particular doctrine has been specially discredited, but that the whole edifice of Christian doctrine is being gradually undermined. In other words, it is the rising tide of Agnosticism, not of Modernism, which is submerging the traditional beliefs of Christianity. We are ceasing to believe in the story of the Fall, partly because science has discredited it, partly because we are ceasing to believe that the Bible is the "Word of God"; and we are ceasing to believe in the doctrine of Original Sin because we are ceasing to believe in the dualism of Nature and the Supernatural. Of agnostics whether theoretical or practical, there are many millions in Christendom, and their number is increasing from day to day. Of old-fashioned believers, whether their faith be positive or negative, there are also many millions, but their number is dwindling from day to day. The Modernists, who belong for the most part to the cultured classes, are still a numerically insignificant body. It is possible,


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and even probable, that their day is to come; but it is certain that it has not yet come; and nothing is so likely to delay its coming as the misplaced optimism of my critic and his friends.

There are two reasons, then, for the prevailing distrust of human nature, which is vitiating education in all its grades and branches. The first is that the time-honoured doctrine of Original Sin still lives in its consequences. The second is that it still lives in the heart of the average believer. If Canon Scott Holland and those who think with him wish to restore to the average believer the faith in human nature which they seem to have regained, let them begin by openly correcting his defective theology. Have they the courage to do this? Will they tell us, fully and frankly, what they themselves believe? Do they believe that the story of the Fall is authentic history, and that "the whole Christian revelation ... in numberless ways assumes the truth of that revelation"? Do they believe that "all men who have lived or will live on earth are descended from the single pair concerning whom we read in the Book of Genesis"; and that "the doctrine of Original Sin and of the Atonement are inseparably bound up with the descent of all men from Adam"? Do they believe that in the Old Testament are recorded, not the changing conceptions of God which had birth in the consciousness - collective or individual - of a certain people, but the actual authentic sayings and doings of the God of the Universe? The Roman Catholic Church believes all these things, and openly says so. Do my critic and his friends believe them? If they do, will they explain to us how belief in them is to be reconciled


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with the interpretation of the doctrine of Original Sin which my critic has set forth in the Commonwealth? If they do not, why have they not the courage to say so? I am told that, in virtue of their wisdom and learning, they carry weight in the councils of the Church of England. If they do, why do they acquiesce in teaching being given in the Day and Sunday Schools of the Church, in which they have apparently ceased to believe? If they would go about among those schools, they would find that in nearly all of them the time-honoured doctrine of Original Sin - the doctrine which assumes that "all men are conceived and born in sin", and that "man is of his own nature inclined to evil" - was still authoritatively taught. So far as the Day Schools are concerned, I can answer for it that if there was any deviation from the old-fashioned "orthodox" teaching in the direction of Modernism (the recent developments of which, in the Church of England, I am supposed to have ignored) the Diocesan Inspector would want to know the reason why.

If, then, my critic wishes his own interpretation of the doctrine of Original Sin to prevail; if he wishes to persuade men that sin is anti-natural and anti-human, that it is "an alien intrusion which cannot be reconciled with the true nature of man"; if he wishes them to infer from this that in finding his true nature man will escape from thraldom to sin, that the development of his nature in the direction of its own ideal is therefore the highest task that he can set himself, that trust in human nature should therefore be the basis of every system of education and every system of life - if he wishes


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these revolutionary doctrines to win acceptance, let him openly preach and teach them, and let him do what he can to have them authoritatively taught.

At present there is not the slightest indication of such a movement being initiated by the school to which my critic belongs. He and his friends prefer to keep their theology in a safe hiding-place, for a purpose which does more credit to their ingenuity than to their ingenuousness. When an outsider, like myself, ventures to criticise the traditional teaching of the Church of England, under the impression that it is still given and received in good faith in the bulk of our schools and churches, my critic comes forward with an air of pained surprise, and exclaims: "You make me rub my eyes. Where have you been living of late? What have you been doing? You actually think that the doctrines which you have criticised are taught by the Church of England. You are quite mistaken. This is what the Church of England really teaches": - here he produces his own enlightened theology, and duly expounds it. But having done this, he puts his theology back in the desk from which he took it, and continues to acquiesce in the orthodox doctrines which he has disowned being dogmatically taught throughout the length and breadth of the land.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church, true to the tradition of 1000 years, having determined to ignore the results of Biblical criticism and scientific research, continues to base its teaching, openly and unreservedly, an the text of the Bible in general, and of the opening chapters of Genesis in particular. In other words, it has nailed its colours to the mast of a sinking ship. For this, and for its stern refusal


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to parley with Modernism, one owes it the homage which is due to consistency and courage. The leaders of the Church know their own mind, and take good care to let the world know where they stand and what they stand for. This is more than can be said of those Anglo-Catholic "intellectuals" -admirable for their agility, if not for their candour - who contrive both to hunt with the hounds of orthodoxy and run with the hare of enlightenment. It is, of course, possible that those who play this double role are following Joubert's prescription for dealing with the "weaker brethren" who are "held in from delirium and the inane by their formulas": "Mentez leur donc et ne les trompez pas". And it may be that there are times when it is better, on the whole, to "lie" to the average believer than to run the risk of "deceiving" him. But if there are such times - times, for example, when criticism is merely destructive, and reconstruction has scarcely yet begun - this is not one of them. For in the present age attempts at reconstruction, or, at any rate, at re-interpretation, are going on in all directions; and those who, like my critic, have re-interpreted for themselves some of the fundamental doctrines of the religion which they still profess, are, I think, bound in honour to give to the world the results of their "higher criticism", if only to protect the average believer, by skilful inoculation, against the possible infection of what they would regard as dangerous heresies.

I doubt if there has ever been an age in which plain speaking on great matters was so imperatively demanded as it is in ours, For so great is the prevailing confusion of thought, and so chaotic is the din of rival beliefs and theories, that only he


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whose voice is strong and clear can make himself heard above it - can make himself heard, not only by the indifferentists who find in a practical agnosticism a temporary solution of the problems that beset them, but also and more especially by those who are clinging, with pathetic loyalty, to the crumbling dogmas of half-forsaken creeds. If silence is to be kept, it must be from a sense of the inadequacy of speech rather than out of deference to vested interests or from fear of giving offence. "Only in a world of sincere men", says Carlyle, "is unity possible, and there, in the long run, it is as good as certain." As a prophecy this saying is perhaps too sanguine; but as a warning it deserves to be laid to heart, and never was there such urgent need of it as there is today.

It is not for its own sake that I lay so much stress on the doctrine of Original Sin, as for the sake of the great tendency of thought which it exemplifies. The doctrine is, as it were, the spearhead which has wounded, well-nigh to death, man's trust in human nature; but it could not have done this if it had not had the spear-shaft, in all its length and weight, behind it - the driving force of the popular belief in the dualism of Nature and the Supernatural. It was from this belief that I worked my way, in the first chapter of What Is and What Might Be, to the doctrine of Original Sin; and it is to this belief that I must now return.

The average man, who ultimately controls the higher movements of thought in the West, is, as a thinker, incurably dualistic. The dualism which seems to be of the essence of language, though it is


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really a superficial aspect of it, becomes for him a philosophy of life. As he opposes mind to body, spirit to matter, good to evil, so he opposes the Creator to the visible Universe, the Supernatural to Nature, God to Man. In each of these antitheses the opposition is absolute. Unable to realise that duality of direction has, as its necessary counterpart, unity of being, and that the objects of its thought are, from one point of view, opposite poles - positive and negative - of a single process - from another, antithetical tendencies which interpenetrate one another in their respective movements from pole to pole, the popular mind must needs introduce into each of the antitheses a great gulf of separation which makes intercourse between the given opposites, except for a miracle, impossible. The result of this is that what I may call the lower term of the antithesis, being deprived of the interpenetrating presence of the higher, is permanently degraded to the lowest imaginable level of itself. Thus the Universe, deprived of the indwelling soul of the Creator, is degraded to the level of its own material framework; Nature, deprived of its own higher self, or Super-nature, is degraded to the level of its own physical plane; Man, deprived of the Divine spirit, which is the very life of his life, is degraded to the level of the "enemy of God". These and similar catastrophes which have been wrought by the dualistic bias of popular thought, have been dramatised and are still symbolised in the Biblical story of the Fall.

I have said that in each of the leading antitheses interaction between the opposites is, except for a miracle, impossible, The miracle must needs


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happen, or we should be permanently faced by a hopeless impasse; but it is obvious that it must come from the higher rather than from the lower side of the intervening abyss. Nature cannot rise to the level of the Supernatural; but the Supernatural, just because it is the Supernatural and therefore exempt from the control of natural law, can descend to the level of Nature, reinforce it with influxes of grace, and infuse into it a new kind of energy. Man cannot climb up to Heaven; but God, who dwells in Heaven, can, at his own good pleasure, come down to Earth. For this interference from above, which theologians call "a supernatural revelation", "special instruments are obviously needed - a special People, a special Scripture, a special Lawgiver, a special Prophet, a special Church."

The first desideratum, in an age when society was organised on a tribal basis, was a special People. Where was this to be found? What was needed was a people which could rise, in its highest moments, to the conception of a Cosmic or Universal God, and yet could, in some sort, appropriate that God to itself. Such a people must possess, in addition to poetic imagination and the spirit of prophecy, one dominant quality - colossal egoism. And this indispensable quality was found in that extraordinary people which has played a leading, perhaps the leading, part on the stage of history - the Jews.

Canon Scott Holland tells me that "the Jew, alone of all Supernaturalists, has made a religion out of the idea of growth ... that this is what he meant by prophecy", and "that he has a horror of


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sin because it arrests growth". He also bids me read certain Psalms and ask myself "whether there ever was in the world a more invincible, inveterate, excellent optimism than that of the Jew" - an optimism which "was far too sure of itself to attempt to deny the awful fact of evil".

My critic, like the rest of us, seems to be a victim of the "inextricable confusion" in which, as Houston Chamberlain truly says, the acceptance of Judaism by Christendom has involved the religious thought of the West. He entirely fails to distinguish between the main current and the side currents of the stream of Jewish life, or, to be more accurate, between the real stream and the backwaters. There might, indeed, be some justification for his glowing panegyric of Judaism if he had in mind the most inspired passages of the great prophets of Israel, and if those passages could be regarded as typically Jewish. But surely he knows as well as I do that in the writings of the great prophets, such as the second Isaiah, Micah, Amos, and Joel, we have a current of spiritual insight and ethical teaching which was moving against, not with, the main stream of Judaism. The voice of the prophets was a voice of protest and revolt; and the Jew, when he had come to a final understanding with himself as to his national destiny and duty, paid no heed to it. The great prophets strove to widen and spiritualise his outlook on life, to teach him charity and tolerance, to free him from the fetters of the Law. And they entirely failed to do any of these things, "What doth the Lord require of thee", asks the Prophet Micah, "but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy


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God?" To which the Jew, the true Jew, the Pharisaic Jew, made answer: "The Lord requires of me hundreds of things which are quite as important as justice, mercy, and humility; and I intend to do them."

We have got into the habit of saying that the Jew had a genius for religion. Even the sceptic and the agnostic think it incumbent on them to pay him this tribute. Did he deserve it? That he had a genius for his own particular brand of religion is undeniable. But was it, is it, the true brand? So strongly has the Jew dominated the religious thought of the West, so successful has he been in imposing his spiritual consciousness on ours, that he has actually fixed the standard by which we now measure the worth of his and all other creeds. And so it has come to pass that we who call ourselves Christians have no fault to find with the Jew except that for some inexplicable reason he rejected Christ. We do not see that he was predestined to reject Christ; that he would have been false to his own ideal, disloyal to his own deity, if he had not rejected Christ; that it belonged to the inmost essence of his religion to reject the inward and spiritual conception of God for which Christ lived and died. Looking at things from the standpoint to which we have allowed him to lead us, we are no doubt justified in saying that he had a genius for religion, just as the Roman had a genius for government and the Greek for art. But to one who has quitted that standpoint and will never return to it, it will seem no paradox to say that the genius of the Jew was anti-religious rather than religious, that it was his mission to de-spiritualise religion


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and so prepare the way for the secularisation of human life.

For what do we owe to the Jew? More thoroughly than any people has ever done, he separated God from himself. The God whom he worshipped was as much outside himself, as much endowed with a distinct personality - with an individuality, one might almost say - as was the ruler to whom he paid taxes, or the merchant with whom he exchanged his wares. With this deity he entered into strictly commercial relations. True to the logic of his religion, he received from him what he could not possibly have evolved for himself, an elaborate Law or code of rules by which to regulate his life. If he obeyed that Law in all its detail, things would go well with him, "he would surely live"; if he disobeyed the least jot or tittle of it, things would go ill with him, "he would surely die".

His consistency was, indeed, admirable. Self-distrust - distrust of all man's inward and spiritual faculties - reason, imagination, conscience, intuition, aspiration - was the Alpha and Omega of his religion. It was in self-distrust that he alienated God from his own inward life. It was in self-distrust that he took upon himself the heavy and ever-growing burden of the Law. It was in self-distrust that he limited the action of his will to the bare choice between obedience and disobedience to a succession of rigid rules. It was in self-distrust - distrust of human nature - that he separated himself from the rest of mankind. It was in self-distrust that he claimed exclusive access to the oracles of God. Canon Scott Holland says that


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"the Jew, alone of all Supernaturalists, made a religion out of the idea of growth". "What can he mean?" The idea of growth, in any but the physical sense of the word, was one which he was constitutionally incapable of entertaining, He did, indeed, think of Man, or at any rate of himself, as having a soul to "save" or to "lose"; but his scheme of salvation - his scheme of life - was the most entirely mechanical that the mind of man has ever devised. That salvation was the natural outcome of growth from within, that the "lost" soul was one which had ceased to grow, was an idea which had never suggested itself to him, and which, had he so much as dallied with it, would have cut the ground from under his feet.

He is supposed to have had a horror of sin; he is supposed, in the excess of his "optimism", to have faced "the awful fact of evil." Sin - evil - what did these words mean to him? Of sin, as a disease and defilement of the soul, of evil, as stunted or arrested growth, he knew nothing. For him, as he looked out upon life, all sin and all evil were resolved into the one sin of disobedience - of disobedience, not to the voice of conscience, not to the laws of man's inner life, but to the detailed rules of an overwhelmingly elaborate code of law. And in that Law all rules were equally sacred, and all acts of disobedience were equally sinful. What did he know of sin who could hold that gathering dry wood for fuel on the Sabbath was as grave an offence as infidelity to the marriage vow, or who could see in the subtle difference between keeping food warm for the Sabbath in coarse tow and keeping it warm in flax tow the difference between right-


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eousness and unrighteousness, between obedience and disobedience to the will of God?

My critic asks me whether there was "ever in the world a more invincible, inveterate, excellent optimism than that of the Jew"? My answer to this appeal is that the greater the apparent optimism of the Jew, the more profound was the pessimism in which his religion and his life were ultimately rooted. The Jew had his poetic moods; and under their inspiration he climbed high and saw far. But he had no spiritual philosophy to sustain his poetic insight; and what he saw as a prophet he was therefore doomed to misinterpret as a teacher. "The Heavens declare the glory of God" is a pæan of "excellent optimism"; and in the heart of the poet himself the optimism was no doubt as genuine as it was strong. But what did the average Jew make of that wonderful psalm? "The Heavens declare the glory of God" - yes, of the God of the Jew, of the God whose light shines on one petty nation, and is withheld from the rest of mankind. The greater the glory of that God, the deeper is the gloom in which the rest of mankind is involved. It has been well said that the religion of the Jew did not often rise above the level of monolatry - the worship of one God, but of a God who was one among many, differing from other Gods in that he was mightier than the mightiest of them and could do more for his people Israel than any other God could do for the people that worshipped him. But when, in his poetic moods, the Jew had risen to the level of true monotheism, he sought, in the sublimity of his egoism, to appropriate to himself the favour, the protecting love, of the One God, the God of the


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Universe, the God whose might and whose glory he had celebrated in immortal words. Looking at things from the cosmic standpoint which in his exalted moments he was able to reach, one sees that what was "invincible optimism" for himself was unfathomable pessimism for the rest of mankind, and that the more he spiritualised his conception of God, and the more he widened the range of God's dominion, the more pessimistic - for the rest of mankind - was he doomed to become. To suppose that the whole human race, with the exception of one small people, was excluded from the light of God's presence, and was regarded by him, not with mere indifference but with active and abiding displeasure, was to sound the lowest imaginable depth of pessimism. The truth is that the pessimism of the Jew was so profound and had behind it an egoism so colossal, that his pæans of self-satisfaction were sometimes mistaken for psalms of all-embracing, cosmic joy. To concentrate all the glory of the Universe in God, and then to appropriate God, radiant with all that glory, to himself, was a stroke of egoistic genius, a masterpiece of self-exaltation, for which the history of religious thought has no parallel. A stroke of genius so daring, a masterpiece so consummate, that it dazzled the eyes of the Gentiles, and inclined them to take the Jew at his own valuation, to believe that he was in very truth the Chosen People of the Universal God.

My critic is, I imagine, one of those who think to justify the predominance of the Jewish element in Christianity, by distilling a spiritual essence from certain passages in the writings of the Poets and Prophets of the Old Testament, and presenting this


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to us as pure, unadulterated Judaism. With this uncritical and unhistorical attitude, which tends to intensify the prevailing confusion of thought in Christendom, I have no sympathy. When I speak of the Jew and of what he has done for us, I am thinking of genuine or post-exilic Judaism; the Judaism which finally triumphed after a long struggle with Prophecy; the Judaism which was the natural development of those national tendencies which the great Prophets had revolted against; the Judaism which resolved all religion and all morality into mechanical obedience to a formulated law; the Judaism which edited the national literature in the interest of its own exclusiveness and intolerance; the Judaism which worked itself out to its logical conclusion in Pharisaism, (1) and so came into violent

(1) As Christ waged a truceless war against Pharisaism, my Commonwealth critic thinks it incumbent upon him to depreciate the Pharisee even while he extols the Jew. In this he shows that he is blind to the teaching of history. The Jew and the Pharisee stand or fall together. That the Pharisees, whom Christ denounced so vehemently, had caught the true spirit of Judaism, that they were Jews of the Jews, is proved by one significant fact. In the words of the learned author of the article on the Jews in the latest (eleventh) edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica: (after the final annihilation of the political nationality of the Jews, A.D. 135), "Pharisaic Judaism, put to the severest test to which a religious system has ever been subject, showed itself able to control and idealise life in all its phases. Whatever question may be possible as to the force or character of Pharisaism in the time of Christ, there can be no doubt that it became both all-pervading and ennobling among the successors of Aqiba" (i.e. among those who re-organised the Jewish people, as a non-political community, by means of the Mishnah, or code of Rabbinic law). Pharisaism was a bad philosophy of life. On this point the testimony of Christ must be accepted as conclusive. But the Pharisee was an excellent person according to his lights; and the part that he played in the "Dispersal" shows that his lights were national rather than sectarian; for he alone can save a nation, when its nationality is in danger of extinction, who can tell it what it stands for, who can interpret it to itself.


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collision with the last and greatest of the Prophets; the Judaism which repeated its outward triumph over Prophecy when it crucified Christ.

I do not wish to go behind the movements of history. I can well believe that the Jew was an instrument in the hands of that overruling and coordinating Power which we call Providence; that he was a necessary vehicle for the transmission of the religion of Christ - profoundly antagonistic though this was to his own - to the "heathen" world; that the strenuous intensity of his nature and the stubborn strength of his will gave the early Christians, who were at first a Jewish sect, a capacity for enduring persecution, which ensured the ultimate triumph of their hybrid creed; that without a temporary admixture of Judaism the pure inwardness of Christ's teaching might have been

        "too bright and good
For human nature's daily food."
And I can well believe that, though Judaism was in a sense the apotheosis of tribalism, the materialistic and legalistic trend of the Jew's philosophy of life played a necessary part in the development of a law-abiding individualism during the ages which followed the break-up of the tribal system, and so helped to save the world from relapsing into social chaos; just as in recent times the Jew, as a capitalist, has played a leading part in developing the material resources of the earth.

Nor do I wish to underestimate the great qualities of the Jew - the extraordinary strength of his rigid will, his unwavering tenacity of purpose, his inexhaustible patience and perseverance, his fanatical


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loyalty to his ideals, his overmastering sense of duty (within legal limits), the lavishness of his charity to his compatriots, the purity and inward harmony of his family life. Great qualities are needed if one is to play a great part, as the Jew has certainly done, on the stage of history; and in each of the great qualities of the Jew there is a certain extravagance of virtue, which Aristotle might have condemned as vicious, but which almost touches the sublime.

If I do not dwell on these matters, the reason is that they are not of interest to me from my present point of view. It is as the accredited exponent of the crude and commonplace philosophy of the average man, that the Jew bulks large in my thought. Strenuous in all things, the Jew had the full courage of the average man's opinions; and having accepted those opinions as a final philosophy of life, he worked them out, with characteristic thoroughness, into all their logical and practical consequences. Hence his ascendancy over the mind and conscience of the West. One's favourite author, says Ste. Beuve, is he "qui nous rend nos propres pensées en toute richesse et maturité." Our favourite poet is he who tells us "what we felt only". The Jew did more than interpret the average man to himself. He gave him back his thoughts - enriched by his own strenuous experience, matured in the "forcing-house" of his own over-intense nature - as the" sovereign dogmas" of an authoritative religion, as echoes of the very voice of God.

Are we to blame the Jew for having done this? The saying "Vox populi, vox dei" seems to be on


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his side. But that saying, if true at all, is true only as prophecy. The voice of the real self, of "true manhood", is divine. And there are times when the master tendencies of man's better nature, when his deep-seated spiritual instincts, rise to the surface of consciousness, and win expression for themselves, and in doing so win acceptance as the voice of God. But the Jewish interpretation of human nature did not go nearly so deep as this. What he deified and gave back to the people was, not their deeper instincts, but their more conscious thoughts - the ways of looking at things, the habits of mind, in which the crudeness and shallowness of their undeveloped humanity were reflected, and which, if consciously realised and accepted as authoritative, would inevitably re-act on the development of the human spirit, and bring it to a standstill. It is for this reason that the predominance of the Jewish element in Christianity has ever been, and is now more than ever, a grave misfortune for Christendom. To make a religion of the spiritual indolence of the average man, of his distrust of nature, of his desire to be "saved" by machinery, of his reluctance to take up the burden of life, the burden of self-development, of growth from within - to make a religion of his dualism, his supernaturalism, his externalism, his materialism, his egoism, his intolerance - to make a religion of these tendencies of nature, immingled though they may be with nobler traits and higher instincts - is to arrest the spiritual progress of mankind.

I have, I hope, made clear to Canon Scott Holland why I cannot subscribe either to his interpretation of the Christian doctrine of Original Sin or


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to his eulogy of the Jew. With the doctrine of Original Sin, which I have merged in a wider tendency of thought, I need not further concern myself. My case against the Jew, which the extravagance of my critic's eulogy has forced me to re-state, is in brief as follows.

The profound distrust of nature which has its source in our spiritual indolence, our instinctive reluctance to undertake the serious business of growing, and which has long been the evil genius of Western education, found its bravest, its clearest, and its most systematic exponent in the Jew. In the religion which he worked out for himself with an intensity of conviction and a horror of compromise which were all his own, and which he held and still holds (wherever he is true to his traditions (1)) with a dogmatic intolerance which has the merit of being logical, we find the leading features of our Western education - its concern for outward results and material prizes rather than for inward states and processes, its readiness to sacrifice the spirit to the letter, its faith in machinery, its indifference to life and to growth.

So great is the influence of the Jew's dualistic distrust of nature that even those who, like Canon Scott Holland, profess in good faith to have emancipated themselves from it, give evidence at every turn that they are still under its control. My critic may protest as strongly as he pleases that sin is unnatural and anti-natural, that "in sinning we do

(1) A faithful picture of the Judaism - legalistic to the very core - which still prevails within the Jewish pale, is given in the first six chapters of an able and interesting book called The Promised Land, by Mary Antin (a Jewess), published by the Houghton-Mifflin Company.


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violence to our true self - we violate the law of our being, etc." - a protest which leads one to infer that to realise his true nature is the supreme duty of Man; but the system of education which he expounds, (1) centring as it does in a demand for blind faith and mechanical obedience, is dualistic to the core. So, too, though his Anglo-Catholic friends would probably resent the imputation of Judaism, their readiness to settle such a difficult and momentous question as that of divorce by reference to a single text in the New Testament, shows that they are Jewish at heart - Jewish in their distrust of the mental and spiritual qualities with which God has endowed them, and in their consequent disloyalty to the "Holy Spirit" whom they profess to worship.

Nor is it only within the limits of Christian "orthodoxy" (in the widest sense of that elastic word) that the Jew makes his presence felt. As the interpreter and spokesman of the average man, he has an almost limitless sphere of influence. We shall see in the next chapter that the idealistic scheme of life of a contemporary thinker who stands apart from all Churches, is thrown into chaotic confusion by the distrust of nature in general and human nature in particular that underlies it - distrust which is in direct conflict with the very theory which the thinker is struggling to expound.

In the world of ideas, as in the world of secular politics, we seem to be menaced with a battle of Armageddon, the advent of which we are all trying to delay, but which will come upon us, in the fulness

(1) My critic's views on education will be considered in a later chapter.


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of time, "like a thief in the night". It will not be a battle between "faith" and" infidelity": the field of that battle will never be clearly defined, as it will always be open to the "infidels" to retort that they are the true "believers", and that the faith of their opponents is pessimism from one point of view, credulity from another. Nor will it be a battle between "theism" and "atheism"; for it will always be open to the "atheists" to retort that they are the true "theists", that their opponents are deluding themselves with an entirely inadequate conception of God. The battle will be one between Supernaturalism and the "Higher Pantheism", between those who would break up the Universe into two dissevered worlds - one shadowy and the other dead - and those who think of it as a living Whole. When the smoke of that battle has begun to clear away, we shall perhaps be able to reconstruct our theories and our systems of education in the light of a new philosophy of life. Yet not so much a new philosophy, as an old philosophy - older than Judaism, old as Truth itself - which the travail of many peoples and many ages will have re-interpreted and re-expressed.



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CHAPTER III

THE PHILOSOPHY OF SELF-REALISATION

I HAVE been blamed by friends as well as critics for having allowed my leanings towards the philosophy of Ancient India to influence my ideas about education. I do not see how I could have done otherwise. A man's views on education ought to be the reflection of his views on life; and a man's views on life are what we call his philosophy. I have long felt that in the Upanishads speculative thought reached its highest recorded level, and that the theory of life which is implicit in those wonderful discourses is the loftiest, the most inspiring, and the most far-seeing, that the soul of man has yet devised. That being so, it was almost inevitable that, if I thought deeply and steadily about education, I should arrive sooner or later at conclusions which it would be possible to affiliate to the "Ancient Wisdom" of India; and the fact that I have arrived at such conclusions is therefore a proof that, in thinking about education, I have at least remained true to myself.

I am not, then, to blame for having allowed my philosophy of life to influence my philosophy of education. But I am perhaps to blame for having adopted a false philosophy of life. To this possible reproach I can but answer that the question which it raises is one on which it is not easy to arbitrate.


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To those who think to disprove the "Ancient Wisdom" by indulging in cheap sneers at its "dreaminess", "mysticism", and "pantheism", I have nothing to say except that I once thought as they did, that their criticism has been predetermined (as mine was) by the traditional Western standpoint, and that to change one's standpoint, when one is contemplating "things in general", is almost equivalent to changing one's whole philosophy of life.

Yet signs are not wanting that the introduction of the idea of development into Western thought is producing a gradual change in our mental standpoint, and that in certain quarters this change is making for sympathy with, and insight into, that ancient philosophy, to which faith in development was the very breath of its life. Professor Eucken, for example, who is commonly regarded as one of our greatest thinkers, and who is certainly one of our greatest interpreters of the history of thought, has formulated an idealistic scheme of life which sometimes rises to the level of the teaching of the Upanishads, and only falls below that level because the author has not always the courage of his speculative convictions. What gives a special interest and value to Professor Eucken's philosophy is that it is not the work of a mere system-monger, but has been distilled, so to speak, from a sympathetic and impartial study of the main movements of human thought. Of human thought in the West, I ought to say; for human thought in the Far East Professor Eucken is content to ignore. In his monumental work on the Main Currents of Modern Thought, which is really a survey of Western


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thought from the time of Plato to the present day, there are, I think, exactly four allusions - all very brief - to the philosophical outlook of India; and in each of these the critical attitude adopted involves a radical misunderstanding of the Indian point of view. But his very inability to enter consciously into the mind of India, or do justice to its profound meditations, shows that the quasi-Indian idealism in which his own mind has found rest is the outcome of a sub-conscious change of standpoint; and the trend of his thought towards the "Ancient Wisdom" is, therefore, far more significant than if he had been directly influenced by the thinkers of India, living or dead.

"How can man", asks Professor Eucken, "who at first appears to be an infinitesimal point, participate in a self-contained world, in a world as a whole, such as the spiritual life now represents?" "It is certain", he replies, "that he can only do so if the spiritual life has existed within his being as a possibility from the commencement, (1) if it is in some way directly connected with him. It would not do for spiritual life to be communicated to him through the medium of his special nature (thus becoming alienated from itself); it must in some fashion be present to him as a whole in all its infinity; it must hence, working from within, open up to him (if at first only as a possibility) a cosmic life and a cosmic being, thus enlarging his nature. (1) In the absence of such an indwelling spirituality humanity can have no hope of making any progress. If, in laying hold of spiritual life, he did not discover his own true self, the former could never be a power to him." (1)

(1) The italics are mine.


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This is the philosophy of the Upanishads; and if Professor Eucken could remain at this level, he would stand where the Sages of India stood 2500 years ago. But the prejudices of popular thought in the West are too strong for him; and again and again he relapses into a crude dualism which makes his scheme of life unworkable, and involves him in many contradictions and in much confusion of thought. For, having told us, not once but many times, that the spiritual life is the real life of man, that it is the "core of reality" and the "core of man's own being", that it is "rooted in the essential nature of things", and so forth, he must needs oppose it, not once but many times, to nature in general and to human nature in particular.

That he regards the spiritual life as the real life of man and also as the "soul of all life" is made clear by a hundred passages. Here are some of them. "Spiritual life" is "true self-life" and "cosmic life". It is "the unfolding of the depths which reality contains within itself". To participate in it is "to participate in a world-life". It "must from the very beginning have been operative in the whole directing it towards itself." It "appertains to man's innermost being ... and is at once natural and ideal." The ascent to it is "a specifically human achievement". It is man's "specific nature" and "true being" and "genuine self". It is "the core of man's own being". In realising it man "rises to a life of his own". It is "a spiritual necessity ruling within humanity". It is "rooted in the essential nature of things". It is "the development of our own soul". It is "the coming to itself of the world-process". It is "a cosmic force operative in man from the very outset".


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It "elevates man's essential being". It is "the dominating fundamental life-force" - "the dominating soul of all life".

Reading these and similar passages, one naturally concludes that the spiritual life is at the heart of Nature, both cosmic and human. But no. The spiritual life is "a new state of reality against that of nature". It is "a new stage of life" and not "a mere prolongation of nature". It is not "a continuation of nature". It is not "derived from mere nature". It is opposed to "mere humanity". It is "separated from and elevated above what is merely human". It is opposed to "the mere life of the soul". It is "superior to all merely human existence". It "reverses the current of man's life". It is "independent and sharply separated from human life". It is opposed to "the mere man", to "merely human life-conduct", to "merely human culture", to "human life", to "our human existence".

From these passages, and from scores of others which have the same general purport, one gathers that the popular belief in the Supernatural, with its implicit depreciation of Nature, has so far influenced Professor Eucken as to make him oppose the spiritual life, first to the life of Nature and then to the life of Man. But as he has already told us that the spiritual life is "cosmic life" and "true self-life", that it is "a cosmic force operative in man from the very outset", and so on, he is open to the charge of having contradicted himself on a matter of vital importance; and in order to forestall this obvious criticism, he prefixes to the words "man" and "human" (and sometimes, though more rarely, to the words "nature" and "natural")


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the most elusive and delusive of all adjectives and adverbs - mere and merely. "Mere humanity", "the mere man", "merely human", "mere life of the soul", "mere existence", are phrases which constantly occur in his writings. Now and again he speaks of "mere nature" and the" merely natural"; but as a rule he is content to assume (in company with the average man) that the natural is opposed to the spiritual as what is lower to what is higher, what is phenomenal to what is real.

Let us consider the phrase "merely human." What does it mean? What do the words "mere" and "merely" mean? The word "mere" means in the first instance, undiluted, unmixed, pure; and so it comes to mean that and that only, that and nothing more. (1) Thus "mere folly" means undiluted folly, folly and nothing but folly. "A mere boy" is a boy and nothing more than a boy, a boy who could not possibly be mistaken for an adult man. "A mere joke" is a joke and nothing more - a joke with no admixture of seriousness or malice. "Mere" and "merely", then, are words which limit or seem to limit, but which do so by exclusion rather than by restriction. This distinction is all-important. In more than one passage Professor Eucken uses the phrase "pettily human" as if it were equivalent to "merely human". That the two adverbs are not really equivalent, that they have little or nothing in common, I need not take pains to prove. It is true that both words seem to limit and disparage; but it will, I think, be

(1) I take it that this is the meaning of the German word (probably bloss) which Dr. Meyrick Booth has translated as mere (or merely).


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found, if the matter be carefully considered, that pettily limits without really disparaging, whereas merely disparages without really limiting. The "pettily human" is the lower, more trivial, less worthy side of human nature. The "merely human" is that which is human and nothing more. "Pettily", when prefixed to "human", limits the idea of humanity, by restricting it for the moment to a particular level or aspect of human life. But it does not disparage human nature. On the contrary, it suggests to us that there is such a thing as the "grandly human", and in any case it leaves the intrinsic range and value of human nature unimpaired. "Merely", on the other hand, when prefixed to "human", excludes from the idea of humanity whatever is extraneous and accidental; and therefore, instead of limiting the idea, it suggests that there are limits to it, and that these must be carefully observed. Hence its tendency to disparage. When I talk of the "merely human", I disparage human nature by suggesting that it has certain recognised limits which it can never transcend, and by leaving it to be inferred that the intrinsic range and value of human nature do not, after all, amount to very much.

It is clear, then, that if the word mere (or merely) is to be fairly and honestly used, we must give the noun (or adjective) to which it is prefixed its full range and depth of meaning, and we must not only know that the corresponding thing (or idea) has limits, but also know in a general way what those limits are. Do we know what are the limits of the human? Are we quite sure that it has limits? Professor Eucken tells us that man's "true


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life" is a "cosmic life". Would there be any meaning in the phrase "merely cosmic"? The plain truth is that, instead of giving the word "human" its full range and depth of meaning before he prefixes to it the disparaging adverb "merely", Professor Eucken deliberately empties the idea of humanity of all that is vital and essential in it. For on the one hand he expressly opposes the "merely human" to that "spiritual life" which "appertains to man's innermost being", which is the "core of man's own being", which is "man's specific nature", and "true being" and "genuine self"; and on the other hand he expressly identifies the "merely human" with the "pettily human", with the "average dead level", with what is "temporal and accidental", with what is "inadequate and base", with "immediate sense-existence", with "narrowness", "pettiness", and "unreality". In other words, he expressly marks off what a plain unsophisticated man would call the lower side of human nature, and then opposes this to what a plain unsophisticated man would call the higher side, as the "merely human" or "purely human" to the "specifically human" or the "genuinely human", as "mere humanity" to "humanity", as "human life" or "the mere life of the soul" to the "true self-life" of man.

To abstract from human nature what, on his own showing, is of the very essence of human nature, and then to label the residue as "human" (with or without the addition of "merely") and oppose it to the "genuinely human", is a strange proceeding on the part of a responsible thinker; and one may well doubt the soundness of the


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philosophical structure which needs to be buttressed by such a wanton misuse of language and such grotesque confusion of thought. Nor will the need for such extraneous support surprise us when we remember that the misuse of language and confusion of thought in which Professor Eucken has involved himself are the direct outcome of his deliberate attempt to find a dualistic basis for an intrinsically pantheistic (1) philosophy.

What is the explanation of Professor Eucken's leaning towards dualism? Why does he revel in "contrasts", "oppositions", "reversals", "sharp separations", and the like? The explanation is, I think (as I have already suggested), that, unconsciously or sub-consciously, he is under the influence of one of the cardinal assumptions - or shall I say the cardinal assumption? - of popular thought. Behind human nature is Nature as such; and the philosophy which recognised the essential unity and all-inclusiveness of human nature, would find itself compelled to predicate the same attributes of Nature as such. But if Nature as such were one and all-inclusive, what would become of that fundamental opposition of Nature to the Supernatural on which the whole system of popular thought is hinged? If this cardinal assumption is to be respected, provision must somehow or other be made for the division of the macrocosm into two dissevered worlds. (2) And if this division

1 I am using the word pantheistic in its Indian, not its Western sense. It is not a satisfactory word; but monistic, which seems to be the only alternative for it, is still less satisfactory. See footnote 2.

2 Now and again a philosophy arises in the West which suppresses one of the two worlds, and then labels itself as [footnote continues on next page]


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is to hold good, the microcosm (in which the macrocosm, as seen by us, reflects and bears witness to itself) must be similarly riven asunder.

The real reason, then, why Professor Eucken disparages "human nature" and opposes it to the true being of man, is that he may be free to disparage "nature" and oppose it to some higher order of things. And this he does with wearisome iteration. It is at the expense of nature, even more than of human nature, that the spiritual life is exalted. Nature is opposed to the "soul", opposed to the "spiritual life", opposed to the "spiritual world", opposed to man's "life of his own". "The life which develops in man" is "not a continuation of nature". "Man" and" humanity" "should rise above mere nature". "The development of spiritual life" has "raised man far above nature". Personality is developed by a "reversal of natural being." And so on.

What does Professor Eucken mean by nature? He tells us that "the natural world, with its thoroughgoing causal connection ... keeps man bound down to the mere ego"; that "the natural world is "blindly indifferent ... to the aims of spiritual life"; that nature "threatens to oppress and overwhelm humanity"; that "naturalism" ignores "the rights of the subject" and "the life of the spirit". He identifies "nature" with "the pettily human", and the "world of nature" with

[footnote continues from previous page] Monism, and boasts its superiority to Dualism. But the division into the two worlds must be made before either world can be suppressed; and this secret dualism is at the heart of almost every Western system of thought. A monism, whether materialistic or idealistic, is nothing but a dualism with one of its antithetical concepts reduced to zero.


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"the sphere of visible existence". He speaks of "nature as seen from the mechanical point of view", of "mere natural self-preservation", of being "enslaved to nature". In other words, when he uses the word "nature" in a depreciatory sense, he is evidently thinking of the "nature" of the "naturalist"; of physical nature, as it is sometime called; of the material plane of existence, and the animal side of human life.

But he does not always use "nature" in a depreciatory sense. The intrinsic force of the word is too strong for him. He speaks of "man's spiritual nature", and opposes this to "mere humanity". He says that "nature and the inner world meet within a single reality"; that "the spiritual life has a nature of its own"; that it has its own" inner nature"; that it is "at once natural and ideal"; that "spiritual culture" is "rooted in the essential nature of things"; that "spiritual work" "separates what is genuine in nature from what is not"; that nature "has behind it a deeper reality" (and so generates spiritual life); that the "unity and inwardness of life" are the "most valuable element in man's nature"; that "man's specific nature" is "his own true being", "his genuine selfhood"; that "nature (in an inward sense) remains secret and aloof", and "withdraws its fundamental verities further and further from our gaze the more science penetrates into its territory."

How are we to account for these extraordinary contradictions and inconsistencies? To oppose "spiritual nature" to "nature" is as fatuous as to oppose the "specifically human" to the "purely


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human", or "humanity" to "human nature". One cannot get on terms with the thinker who uses language so loosely as this. Professor Eucken has well said that "words are not to be treated lightly. Their misuse may contribute towards the obscuration of genuine problems." And it is certain that his own misuse of the words "human" and "nature" has effectively obscured the "genuine problems" which he has undertaken to solve. Like many another thinker, he seems to have forgotten that such a word as nature or human has an intrinsic meaning of its own (determined by centuries of usage), the range of which cannot be arbitrarily curtailed. He tries to limit the range of "nature" to the lower levels of existence; but the concept refuses to be kept down to those levels; and its inherent buoyancy is such that he himself has no choice but to use the word when he is dealing with the highest level of all.

What, then, is nature? That it is not a mere stratum or plane of being, that on the contrary it belongs to every plane and every stratum, Professor Eucken himself has made abundantly clear. Everything that exists has a nature of its own. Every section of the world, every level of existence, every mode of being, every form of life has a nature of its own. As there is outward nature, so there is inward nature. As there is physical nature, so there is spiritual nature. As there is specific nature, there is generic nature. As there is individual nature, so there is cosmic nature. The attempt to divide the Universe into Nature and the Supernatural is eternally stultified by the patent fact that even the Supernatural has a nature of its own.


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Taking the widest possible view of nature, we may perhaps define it as the way of the Universe, the central way which controls and determines, and is itself the resultant of, a billion lesser ways. This is nature in its totality. And when we speak of the nature of this or that particular thing, we mean again the way of that thing, the central, the typical tendencies of its being.

It is, of course, true that within the illimitable limits of Nature such distinctions as that between high and low, great and petty, spiritual and material, essential and accidental, hold good. But these opposites are ever interpenetrating one another, and it is impossible to say where one ends and the other begins. The contrasts and oppositions in which dualism revels belong to another order of thought. The thinker who divides the Universe into Nature and the Supernatural, or into the material and the spiritual worlds, must needs draw a hard and fast line between his "mighty opposites"; and this line of demarcation speedily opens out into a "great gulf" like that which is "fixed" between Heaven and Hell. And the nemesis of dualism in this, as in every other case, is that the gulf of separation drains into itself the reality of both the worlds which it separates - drains away from "Nature" its inwardness, its spirituality, its beauty, its glory, its vitalising purpose, till at last it becomes a mere body of death - drains away from "the Supernatural" its actuality, its substance, its knowableness, its significance, its nearness to human life, till at last it becomes the mere shadow of a shade.

When shall we learn that the remedy for dualism


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is not monism; that the opposition of dualism to monism is itself dualistic; that a monism is at heart a dualism, a dualism which maintains the fundamental antithesis that it began by postulating, but which allows the impetus of its preference to carry it so far in one direction that it ends by denying content to the opposing and competing term? Thousands of years ago the higher thought of India freed itself from bondage to "the opposites"; and the time has surely come for the higher thought of the West to take the same decisive step. Under the influence of the idea of evolution - with or without the consent of our "thinkers" - all "great gulfs" are being gradually filled up, and all hard and fast lines are being gradually effaced. Has not the time come for us to recognise the essential unity of the Universe, to realise that the All of Being is one living whole? If we could do this, if we could abolish the archetypal dualism of Nature and the Supernatural, all other dualisms (and monisms) would spontaneously disappear.

Not (I repeat) that oppositions and contrasts would disappear with them. Unity affirms itself in and through diversity, and self-identity is made possible by self-contradiction. Wherever there is development, there is the opposition of potential and actual; and this primary opposition postulates a multitude of others. Language abounds in antithetical terms, such as good and bad, true and false, high and low, swift and slow, strong and weak; and in each of these antitheses the inferior term is, as it were, the "promise and potency" of the higher. Evil has been defined as "good in the making." Error has


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often proved to have been truth in the making. The low is on the way to becoming high. The slow is on the way to becoming swift. The weak is on the way to becoming strong. (1) There is no gulf fixed between the opposites in any of these antitheses. On the contrary, each of the antithetical ideas interpenetrates the other, and even follows it in its progress towards its own ideal pole. Thus there is no movement so slow but we can conceive of a slower, by comparison with which the movement of a snail is swift. And there is no movement so swift but we can conceive of a swifter, by comparison with which the movement of light would be slow. And each term owes its meaning to its contrast with the other, so that if either term were cancelled the other would share its fate. Take away evil, and what do we know of good? Take away error, and what do we know of truth? From dualism to monism is one step. From monism to nihilism is the next. To think away either of two opposing worlds or tendencies is to make the other null and void.

It is to the exigencies of everyday speech that we owe the dualism of popular thought. But though there is much dualism at the surface of language, there is none at its heart. When one goes deeper into the usage of words, one sees that a never-ending effort is being made to correct the fallacies which arise from our careless handling of a very imperfect instrument. We assume off-hand that antithetical

(1) If I were looking towards the negative pole of the antithesis, I should of course have to invert each of these statements. My reason for looking towards the positive pole is that the process of human development, for which I am trying to find analogies, is in its essence a movement towards the positive pole of existence.


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terms stand for mutually exclusive entities; and we think and act accordingly. But when we give ourselves time to reflect on the corresponding ideas, we find that the relation between them is one of identity even more than of opposition, the antithesis, however complete it may seem to be, falling always within the limits of an essential unity. In the fundamental antithesis of the potential and the actual the primary relation between the two ideas is obviously one of identity; for the actual is present in embryo in the potential, and the potential is what it is because the actual - real, but as yet unrealised - is at the heart of it. It is not by "reversing" the process of development that we pass from the potential to the actual. It is not by "reversing" his steps that the climber passes from a lower to a higher altitude. It is not by "reversing" its engines that a slow-moving locomotive quickens its pace. It is not by "reversing" the process of his physical growth that the weak child becomes the strong man. In each of these cases, and in every similar case, the change from the lower to the higher term in the antithesis is made by going forward, not by going back.

Is it not the same in that supreme antithesis which plays so prominent a part in Professor Eucken's system of thought? He calls the lower term in the antithesis nature (or human nature) and the higher term the spiritual life. He regards these as two separate worlds; and he holds that progress in the spiritual world is not to be achieved except by a "reversal" of the order of the natural world. If this were so, what hope would there be for humanity? Man, according to Professor Eucken, is the meeting-


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place of two worlds. If he is to live in the higher world, he must reverse the whole course of the lower. Can he do this? Is it to be done? Will the mighty forces that inspire his life and enfold his being suffer themselves to be reversed? If Man is to wait for a reversal of the order of the natural world before he can begin to live in the spiritual world, will he not have to wait for ever; will not the spiritual life remain an unrealisable dream?

All analogy and all experience are against Professor Eucken. In every other antithesis the relation of opposition between the antithetical ideas is subordinate to, and dependent on, the more fundamental relation of identity. Let us assume, as we are surely entitled to do, that it is the same in the supreme antithesis. Let us assume that the relation between "nature" and "spirit" or "supernature" is one of fundamental identity; that the natural world is potentially spiritual; that the spiritual world is the self-realisation of the natural; that our choice lies not between alternative worlds, but between the lower and the higher life of the same world; that our business is not to "reverse" the order of nature, but to co-operate with the natural forces which are struggling to spiritualise life. Let us assume this much, and we shall be able to give its full content of meaning to Professor Eucken's pregnant saying that "the spiritual life is the coming to itself of the world-process", and to a score of other passages in which the philosophy of his intuition breaks away from the philosophy of his reason; and we shall be able to provide for the due accomplishment of the mighty role which he assigns to Humanity.


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"The spiritual life", according to Professor Eucken, "has existed within man's being as a possibility from the commencement." "It is (and has ever been) present to him as a whole in all its infinity", and "working from within, it opens up to him a cosmic life and a cosmic being", in realising which "he discovers his own true self." How ill this philosophy harmonises with the crude dualism which opposes "spirit" to "nature" in a truceless and unending war! And how well it harmonises with the higher naturalism which sees in the duality of "becoming" the very counterpart of the unity of "being", and which therefore infers the self-identity of Nature from the opposition of her higher to her lower self. The realisation of the spiritual life is the first and last duty of man. "Have we not to face great truths within ourselves", asks Professor Eucken, "in the development of our own souls?" What place is there in such a life for "reversals" of, and "sharp separations" from, the course of Nature? If there is any place for them, it is the exact opposite of that which Professor Eucken, in his dualistic moods, assigns to them. Man, as a self-conscious being, is able either to further or hinder the evolution of spiritual life in his own soul; and in the choice between these two ways of living lies the whole drama of human life. As the spiritual life is the true life of the Cosmos as well as the true life of man, it stands to reason that it does not so much "reverse" the course of Nature as crown and complete it. It is the egoistic, self-centred life - the very antipole to the spiritual - which tries to "reverse" the central current of Nature, and only fails because, so far as it succeeds,


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it "sharply separates" itself from the life which is in its essence cosmic or universal, with the result that it is at last flung aside by the great stream of tendency with which it refuses to swim.

That what we call spiritual life is the real life of the Cosmos and the real life of Man; that in realising the potencies of spiritual life Man both finds his own true self and attains to vital unity with - (a totally different thing from "dreamy absorption" into) - the self or soul of the Cosmos - is the idea which dawned upon the "deepest heart" of India in the far-off days of the Upanishads, and with which, through all the vicissitudes of the intervening centuries, she has never wholly lost touch. On the fundamental identity of this idea with that which has inspired Professor Eucken I need not insist. It is in his interpretation of the idea that the Western idealist of today differs from his precursors in that far-off age and that far-off land. The former thinks to glorify the spiritual life by disparaging its presumed opposite - "nature". The latter saw that from the glorification of the spiritual life to the deification of Nature there was but a single step. To take that step, without hesitation or reserve, was (and is) India's supreme contribution to the religious thought of the world. The cosmic life, which for India (as for Professor Eucken) is the reward of self-realisation, is the Divine Life; and the cosmic soul, with which the human soul, in the plenitude of its spiritual life, becomes one, is the Soul of God.

For teaching this, India has been accused of pantheism, a word which has no terrors for her, but which the Western mind, with its dualistic


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prejudices, uses as a term of bitter reproach. For in the popular thought of the West the supreme dualism is that of Nature and the Supernatural; and as the supernaturalist deliberately empties Nature of God, and as the anti-supernaturalist accepts and retains his rival's de-spiritualisation of Nature, one cannot wonder that pantheism is regarded in the West as equivalent to materialistic denial of God. But to call the pantheism of India atheistic is to beg the whole question which is in dispute between the West and the Far East. If the Sages of the Upanishads had regarded Nature as soulless and godless, they would not have deified her. The fact that they did deify her, shows on the one hand that they regarded her as all in all, and on the other hand that they conceived of her "essential being" as purely spiritual - that (in Professor Eucken's well-chosen words) they regarded spiritual life as the "core of reality", as "rooted in the essential nature of things", as "the unfolding of the depths which reality contains within its own being", as "at once natural and ideal", as "the dominating soul of all life."

We are confronted by a practical paradox. A Western thinker of the Twentieth Century, who proposes to base his scheme of life on the fundamental opposition of "nature" to "spirit", is constrained by subtle influences which seem to emanate from the very ideas that he handles, to emphasise in telling phrases the central doctrine of Indian "pantheism" - the doctrine of the naturalness of spiritual life, and (by implication) of the spirituality of Nature. In the presence of this paradox, one begins to ask oneself whether the


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saying "East is East and West is West" is really the final argument in the controversy between the pantheism of the older world and the supernaturalism of the younger; and one begins to wonder what the future may not have in store for us in the way of bringing these antithetical tendencies under the control of a higher unity and blending their respective gospels into a higher creed. In any case, the broad fact remains that what seems to be the latest word of Western idealism was spoken 2500 years ago in India; and that if the utterance of that word in the West is faltering and indistinct, the reason is that the speaker, deferring unduly to the prejudices of the "average man" (who makes and unmakes our systems and our creeds), cannot bring himself to accept in full the far-reaching consequences of the grand ideas which are at the heart of his faith.

I claim, then, that the ideas which control my philosophy of education are modern and Western as well as ancient and Eastern. If I may not say, with the Sages of the Upanishads, that "the inner Self of all being is hidden in the heart of man", that "the Soul is the Self of all that is", that "Brahma and the Self are one", I may perhaps be allowed to say, with Professor Eucken, that "the spiritual life has existed within man's being, as a possibility, from the commencement", that "it is present to him as a whole in all its infinity", that, "working from within, it opens up to him a cosmic life and a cosmic being", and that, "in laying hold of it" he "discovers his own true self". In these sentences what I may call the preamble to the philosophy of


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self-realisation is clearly stated; and if I may be allowed to say Amen to them, all that I ask has been conceded to me. For if the spiritual life, as a whole in all its infinity, has existed within man's being as a possibility from the very beginning; if, in realising it, on the one hand man attains to a cosmic life and a cosmic being, and on the other hand. discovers his own true self;-then it is certain that self-realisation is the first and last duty of Man, and that to aid self-realisation is the first and last duty of the teacher.

It will be observed that Professor Eucken takes up a position which differs fundamentally from that of certain modern thinkers, who hold that "the process known ... by the unhappy name of evolution is really more properly epigenesis, the growth of the qualitatively new, and therefore unpredictable, out of the old". For in Professor Eucken's philosophy the "cosmic life and cosmic being" to which man attains, and in which he finds his true self, has been present within his being from the commencement - present at first "only as a possibility", but present also "as a whole, and in all its infinity", just as the banyan-tree, "as a whole, in all its" greatness, is present "as a possibility" in the speck-like seed of its own fruit. And the process by which this possibility of cosmic life and cosmic being is transformed into the corresponding actuality, may be fitly described, either as evolution, if we are thinking of the world-process as a whole, or as growth, if we are thinking more particularly of the self-realising movement in each individual life.

Why should the word "evolution" be spoken of


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as unhappy? That an unhappy use of it is sometimes made, I admit; but the word itself was well chosen, and there is still much work for it to do. There are certain scientists, exponents of the idea of evolution, who, as they trace backward the unfolding of physical and spiritual life, are ever tending (under the influence of an old-fashioned and inadequate conception of causation) to degrade the later and higher forms to the level of the earlier and lower, till at last they come in sight of the conclusion that what is but one degree removed from nothing, when fertilised by chance, becomes the source and cause of everything. But the answer to this crudely materialistic philosophy is not to substitute "epigenesis" for "evolution" as a description of the world-process, but to point out that these so-called evolutionists are taking the name "evolution" in vain. For "nothing" could not transform itself into "everything" unless "everything" were present in it, as a possibility, from the very beginning. The speck-like seed, which is scarcely distinguishable from nothing, could not grow into the banyan-tree if the banyan-tree were not slumbering in it, and in each of its sister-seeds. Nor could the primordia rerum - matter and energy, or whatever they may be - have transformed themselves into the Universe of our experience (with all its latent possibilities) if the ιδεα of the Universe had not slumbered in them, even in the formless void of chaos. The truth is - a truth which many evolutionists are apt to forget - that evolution implies involution, that nothing can be unfolded which has not already been wrapped up.

What potencies are wrapped up in the seed - be


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it the seed of a banyan-tree or of a universe - we cannot say beforehand, (1) and we can never say in full. Those who would substitute "epigenesis" for "evolution" because the latter word suggests to them the realisation of a predetermined or "predictable" (2) form, are, I think, disquieting themselves in vain. In every seed there are wrapped up all the potencies of the developed organism which bore it, plus certain unknown possibilities of further development. Even the banyan-tree, though it has taken a million years to become what it is, has in it the possibilities of further development; for there is no saying what scientific breeding and culture might not do for it; and these possibilities of further development are wrapped up in each of its innumerable seeds.

Wherever there is life, this law holds good. We have seen that the Herbartians, who are doubtless supporters of the doctrine of "epigenesis", reject

(1) i.e. prior to the requisite experience.

(2) "Predictable" - by whom? "Predetermined" - by whom? Whether these words make sense or nonsense, whether they are applicable or inapplicable, depends entirely on the point of view of him who uses them. There is a point of view from which it is possible to conceive of the whole course of Nature as "predetermined", and therefore of the whole history of the world as "predictable" - the point of view of him who believes that

    in the silent mind of One all pure
        At first imagined lay
The sacred world, and by procession sure
From those still deeps, in form and colour drest,
Seasons alternating and night and day, .
The long-mused thought to north, south, east, and west,
        Took then its all-seen way.
From that point of view "the growth of the qualitatively new ... out of the old" would be seen to be as "predictable" as any other change, and the word "evolution" would seem more appropriate than "epigenesis."


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the plant-growth theory of education, because they hold that a wheat-plant does, and a human being does not, "grow to a predetermined form". The answer to their argument is that no plant grows to a fully predetermined form. The form to which a seed of wheat will grow may be largely "predetermined" - so is the form to which a human fœtus will grow - but there is always in the seed, in addition to its potencies of "predetermined" form, an unknown element which we may call x, the possibility or possibilities of further development. If every seed in the plant-world grew of necessity to a fully predetermined form, the bullace would never have developed into the Magnum Bonum plum, and the crab-apple would never have developed into the Newtown Pippin, just as, if every animal fœtus grew to a predetermined form, Eohippus would never have developed into the shire-horse or the race-horse, and the ape-like ancestor of men and monkeys would never have developed into a poet or a saint. It is because there is, and always has been, an x element in every seed and fœtus, that evolution (in the larger sense of the word) is and has been possible, and that the plant and animal worlds of today differ immeasurably from the plant and animal worlds of a million years ago.

Let us, then, continue to use the word "evolution"; but let us remind ourselves that whatever is evolved must first have been involved, and that the highest developments of spiritual life which have yet been achieved, with all their possibilities of further development, must have existed potentially in the very primordia rerum. I learn from Pro-


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fessor Eucken that Augustine likened "the whole world-process" to "the development of a tree from its seed". From what tree did the seed of "the whole world-process", or rather of our world-process, spring? Can it be that "the Universe", as we call it, is the child of some parent world of worlds, which buried its possibilities in each of many seeds, the development of one of which constitutes the life-process of this universe of ours, which we think of as all-embracing, but which is perhaps only one of many kindred worlds? Can it be, in other words, that the process of growth in plant or animal is symbolical, not merely of the process which goes on in the soul of Man and in the soul of the environing world, but also and primarily of the process which is the life of the over-soul of the over-world - the process which is the Alpha and Omega of all life and all being?

These are idle speculations. Let me return to the matter that I have in hand. I have the high authority of Professor Eucken for saying that in every child who comes into this world, a cosmic life and a cosmic being exists, as a possibility, from the day of his birth, and that, in laying hold of this life and this being, the child will find his true self. To realise the potencies of his true self is the life-work of the child. To help the child to realise those potencies is the life-work of the teacher.

Now the potencies which are wrapped up in each of us, waiting to be developed, are of many kinds. I have spoken of the x element which is present in every seed and fœtus - the capacity for unlimited development, beyond the stage which the species in question has reached - the potencies of the ideal


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self. There is another element in every seed and fœtus which we will call a - the element of individuality - the potencies of the individual self. Between a and x comes the element which bulks so largely in our eyes that in plants and animals we are apt to regard it as all-inclusive - the element of type or kind. We will call this element m. We may, if we please, think of it as the diameter of which a and x are the undiscovered poles; but we must not lean too heavily on this metaphor. In plants and animals the m potencies belong to what we call the species or strain. In man they belong to what, for want of a better term, we may call the communal self. I use this term with some hesitation, for, though convenient, it is scarcely correct. Strictly speaking, there are many communal selves, and their number increases with the advance of what we call civilisation. In a primitive state of society man has two communal selves and two only - the family self and the clan or tribal self. Today, in the more highly civilised parts of the world, we have the racial self (white against yellow, etc.), the national self, the provincial self, the civic self, the class self, the sectarian self, the institutional self, the professional self, the school self, the college self, the university self, and so on. When I speak of "the communal self", I am thinking of the general capacity which every normal man possesses of re-acting to the stimulus of each of the communities to which he happens to belong, of subordinating his individual desires and impulses to its interests, of deferring to its claims, of responding to its demands, of sharing in its successes and failures, of identifying himself with its corporate


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life. The more numerous the communities to which a man belongs, the less closely does he identify himself with the life of any one of them, and (as a natural result of this) the less does the communal self tend to dominate and overshadow the individual self in one direction, and the ideal self in the other. This is a point on which I shall have more to say.

We see, then, that in every child there are three main groups of potencies waiting to be developed,the potencies of the individual self (a), the potencies of the communal self (m), and the potencies of the ideal self (x). The harmonious development of all three groups of potencies is of the essence of self-realisation. This is a point on which I cannot insist too strongly. To develop any one group, independently of the remaining two, is either impossible or disastrous. The development of a, to the neglect of m and x, leads to individualistic egoism, and through egoism to spiritual degeneration. The life of self-realisation (so called) which centres in "self", actually reverses the process which it professes to advance. The development of m, to the neglect of a and x, leads to arrested growth. It was in the interest of human progress that the tribal organisation of society, in spite of its almost complete suppression of individualistic egoism, had to pass away. The development of x, to the neglect of a and m is impossible. The "Kingdom of God" is the widest of all communities; and the man who has never cultivated his communal instincts cannot hope to enter it. Also there are as many ways to it as there are individual souls; and

        Each alone
Must find that peace by pathways of his own.

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Is it possible to develop two groups of tendencies independently of the third? Not impossible perhaps; but he who tries to do this will find that he has embarked on a difficult and dangerous enterprise. The attempt to develop a and m, to the neglect of x, may well lead to communal egoism, which is apt to mistake itself for patriotism or some other form of selfless devotion to the common weal. The attempt to develop a and x, to the neglect of m, may well lead to a spiritual egoism, which readily mistakes itself for saintliness, and yet is capable, under certain conditions, of degenerating into sheer devilry. The attempt to develop m and x, to the neglect of a, is foredoomed to failure. A man must remain true to his individual self even while he is outgrowing it. If he does not, he will not outgrow it, for he will not be making the necessary and never-ending effort. It is spiritual indolence, rather than true humility, which makes a man shirk the duty of thinking for himself, and generally, of working out his own salvation. And he who trifles with sincerity opens wide the door to hypocrisy and cant.

There is another important point to which I must thus early call attention. The narrower potencies are always charged with the germs of the wider; and it is only through the transforming influence of the wider that they can properly realise themselves. The individual cannot realise himself except in a social environment; and the society which ends in itself and has no transforming ideal at the heart of it, must either crush individualism at the expense of individuality, or pander to egoism, which is ever ready to push itself to the front as idealism retires


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into the background. I need scarcely add that the a element, besides being indirectly charged with the germs of x (i.e. through the channel of m) is also directly charged with them. It is profoundly true that the individual cannot realise his ideal self except through the medium of a social life; but it is equally true that he must not trust to that medium alone. The cultivation of the communal instincts is not the only way of escaping from" self." Man is by nature artistic and scientific as well as social; and beauty and truth belong to the ideal world, as well as sympathy and love.

We are setting the teacher a mighty task. He must help the child to realise his individual self by subordinating it to both his wider selves; to realise his communal self by subordinating it to his ideal self; to realise his ideal self by cultivating both his lesser selves for its sake. In other words, he must help the child to transform and expand his individual self by losing himself, on the one hand, in social sympathy and service, on the other hand, in the search for beauty and truth. He must help him to transform and expand his communal instincts by passing beyond the limits of whatever community may claim his devotion, in quest of the widest of all communities - the Kingdom of God. And he must help him to find his real or ideal self by living both for others and for high ideals, and yet remaining true to himself.

This is indeed a task for a demigod. But if the teacher will take it up in a spirit of faith and hope, he will find that he has one strong and sure fellow-worker who will repay trust with unfailing guidance


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and loyalty with unceasing service - the nature of the child. The potencies of the individual self, the potencies of the communal self, the potencies of the ideal self - all belong to the child's nature. There is no need for him to be inoculated with any of them. They are there - awake, half awake, asleep, buried in sleep, buried deep in sleep - all waiting to be developed, and each ready to begin to realise itself as soon as its turn comes and the needful stimulus is given to it. The teacher must give the child the environment which will be most favourable to the harmonious development of his potencies; and in particular he must give him the food (in the widest sense of the word) and the guidance which he happens to need. But here a serious problem confronts him. If he is to give the right food and the right guidance, he must know what food and what guidance are needed by that particular child; and if he is to know this, he must know the idiosyncrasy of each of his many pupils, and also - since the wider potencies are always at the heart of the narrower - he must know, in some measure, what is the ιδεα or real nature of Man.

How can he acquire this twofold knowledge? He has thirty or forty children (let us say) to educate. He must know each of these as an individual, and he must also know each of them as the incarnation of an as yet unrealised ideal. In other words, he must keep in touch with both the undiscovered poles of the child's being. This he will not be able to do if he tries to impose himself, through the medium of some conventional system or ready-made machinery, on his pupils. For such an attempt, so far as it succeeded, would


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be fatal to the development of individuality and fatal to the realisation of the ideal, for both of which it would substitute conformity to an actual type. The only course, then, that is open to the teacher is to invoke the aid of his fellow-worker, Nature. He must allow the child to develop himself spontaneously and naturally, so that he may be free to unfold and reveal both the individual and the ideal tendencies of his being. In no other way can the teacher hope to acquire the twofold knowledge which will enable him to aid and direct the growth of the child. In no other way can he provide for each of his pupils to follow the path of his own individuality, and yet for all of them to converge on a common good.

In fine, then, and in brief, he must give freedom to the child.




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CHAPTER IV

THE MEANING AND VALUE OF FREEDOM

WHAT do I mean when I speak of giving freedom to the child? My advocacy of the Montessori system of education, in which freedom is given to young children in generous measure, has exposed me to severe criticism in more than one quarter. In particular, a prominent educationist, who had greeted What Is and What Might Be with generous appreciation, has publicly criticised me for "advocating a liberty of self-government which might well grow into license", and for "preaching a new form of laissez-faire within the schoolroom which, if permitted in adult life, would lead to rampant egoism and frequent disaster". I cannot think that I have said or written anything which justifies these strictures. But there are supporters of the "new education", as it is sometimes called, who seem to think that to give freedom to children is to allow them to do whatever they please, leaving them not merely without restraint, but also without help or guidance; and it is possible that my stern critic holds me responsible for the vagaries of these over-zealous sympathisers.

In any case, in order to avoid misconception, whether on the part of sympathisers or of enemies, it is well that I should explain what I mean when I speak of giving freedom to the child. I mean by freedom release from injurious constraint. This


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is the negative aspect of freedom. The positive aspect is difficult to define except in terms of freedom itself. The critic whose words of censure I have just quoted will, I feel sure, agree with me when I say that every child ought to be free to obey the master laws of his being. And as these laws are all making for his growth or development, I will go on to say - again, I feel sure, with the approval of my critic - that every child ought to be free to develop himself, fully and harmoniously, on all the planes of his being. This is the positive aspect of freedom. In an ideal state of things, every child would enjoy freedom, in this sense of the word, in the fullest measure. Such a state of things does not exist; and would, I need hardly say, be extremely difficult to bring about. But it is an ideal which we ought to try to realise; and while we are fighting our way towards it, it will set us a standard by which to measure our achievements and our shortcomings.

I say that the child ought to be free to develop himself, fully and harmoniously, on all the planes of his being. Let me first say a few words about the physical plane. The child ought to be free to develop his lungs by breathing plenty of pure air; to develop his limbs by exercising them and by avoiding injurious postures; to develop his eyesight by having plenty of light and by avoiding strain; to develop his whole frame by taking in a sufficiency of wholesome food; and so on. Now let us take the case of a child who has to spend four or five hours of each day in an ill-ventilated and ill-lighted classroom; who has to sit still for an hour or so at a stretch on a bench which has no


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back and is too high for him; who has to write on a desk which is too far from his bench and has a wrong slope; and who, when he goes home, is insufficiently and improperly fed. It is obvious that those who are responsible for the bringing up of this child are subjecting him, hour after hour and day after day, to injurious constraint, and are to that extent encroaching on his freedom, preventing him from obeying the master laws of his being interfering with his right to develop himself, to grow. And if I ask for freedom to be given to this child, if I ask for him to be released, in part at least, from this injurious constraint, I am surely asking what is reasonable, and in no way countenancing anarchical theories of education such as we are apt to associate with the name of Rousseau.

I leave it to the medical profession in general, and to the women doctors in particular, to determine how freedom can best be given to the child on the physical plane of his being. My concern is with the higher and more inward planes - the mental, the moral, and the spiritual. On these, as on the physical plane, the child ought to be free to obey those master laws of his being which are making for his development. In brief, he ought to be free to grow. And whatever, in the way of external constraint or pressure, prevents him from obeying that hierarchy of laws, prevents him from growing freely and harmoniously, is an unwarrantable interference with his freedom.

When I use the word unwarrantable, I am, of course, thinking of the injurious constraint to which he is subjected by those who are in a position to control him. I am not thinking of the injurious


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constraint that is generated by circumstances for which no one person is directly responsible. Constraint of this kind - the constraint, for example, which is exercised by slum surroundings - may be injurious in the highest degree; but it is probable that great social changes will have to take place before it can be removed, or even seriously lessened. Meanwhile, there is no need for us to stand still. If we can do nothing else, we can at least try to lessen the injurious constraint which the will of the adult - the parent, or teacher, or whoever it may be - exercises on the will of the child. For in this, from the educational point of view, we have the crux of the whole situation. On the higher planes of his being, the child cannot develop himself except through the action of his will; and whosoever controls his will has taken possession of the head springs of his being, and in doing so has cut off the upwelling waters of his life.

These are sweeping statements. But the matter is one on which I have no choice but to speak strongly. The adult who exacts from a child blind faith and literal obedience, and, having secured these, proceeds to tell the child in the fullest detail what he is to do, to say, to think (or pretend to think), to feel (or pretend to feel), is devitalising his whole personality. I mean by this that he is substituting in the child's life the mechanical movements of a puppet for the vital movements by which alone the higher faculties can be exercised and developed. Unless the child himself - his soul, his self, his ego, call it what you please - is behind his own actions, they are not really his. And if the child himself is behind his own actions, his


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will must be at work. For what do we mean by the word will? Do we not mean the self, in its unity and totality, controlling its own approaches to action? If the self is not there, when the child (or the man) is on the threshold of action, if some other person's self has taken its place and is usurping its function, the human being has been for the moment dehumanised, degraded to the level of a machine.

There was a time when most men believed - and there are many men who still believe - in the original wilfulness, as well as the original sinfulness, of the child. In those days it was authoritatively taught - and the doctrine still has its votaries - that the child brought with him into the world a fully developed will, and that this will (the old Adam in the child) made for evil. It followed from this doctrine that the duty of the parent and the teacher was to treat the child as a potential criminal and rebel, to do violence to his budding nature, to thwart his instinctive tendencies, to bend, and at last to break, his will. And those who held and practised this cruel theory did their best to produce that ruin and corruption of the child's nature, which they had begun by postulating. But surely the truth is that the child, instead of bringing with him into the world a fully-developed will - whether directed towards good or evil - brings with him merely the germ of a will, just as he brings with him the germ of reason, the germ of imagination, the germ of sympathy, and so on. If this is so, it surely follows that the duty of the adult is not to bend or break the child's will, but to cultivate it, to help it to grow. And as the will, like every


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other power or faculty, cannot make growth unless it is duly exercised, it follows further that the duty of the adult is to give the child as much freedom as the conditions of human life allow of, to relieve him as far as possible from constraint and detailed direction, to leave as much as possible to his unfettered choice.

To leave as much as possible to the child's unfettered choice means something more than to give him freedom to choose. It means also to give him freedom to persevere in what he has chosen. This is a matter of vital importance, which is too often overlooked. In most of our Infant Schools the Timetables seem to have been framed for the express purpose of discouraging perseverance and so relaxing the fibre of the will. Some twenty or thirty years ago, the educationists of the day, having suddenly waked up to the fact that young children ought not to be treated exactly like adults, proceeded to lay down as a self-evident truth that no lesson in an Infant School ought to last more than fifteen or at most twenty minutes. And we have been in bondage to this assumption ever since. But if we left children to their own devices, and then studied their ways and works, we should find that, when they were really interested in what they were doing, they paid no heed to the flight of time. I have seen a small child, in the joy of having mastered a certain difficulty, do and undo the same thing, without a pause, and without showing any sign of fatigue, for more than two hours at a stretch. And I was recently shown a little girl in an Infant School in which one class does Montessori work for an hour a day, who,


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having with difficulty mastered the art of tying bows, had done nothing but tie and untie bows (during the Montessori hour) for the whole of the previous week. These examples show how persevering young children are, and how unwise it is to cut up their school hours, day after day, into mere snippets. The son of a friend of mine, after having spent his first morning in a highly enlightened and thoroughly up-to-date Kindergarten School, told his parents when he went home that his time in school had been "all interruptions". If the children who attend our Infant Schools could tell us what they really think and feel, thousands and thousands of them would, I feel sure, say Amen to that criticism. To take away a child from a task in which he has just begun to take an interest, and compel him to do something else, is to thwart his instinctive desire to overcome difficulties, and to damp that spirit of resolution which is the counterpart of the spirit of adventure, and which, like the spirit of adventure, is one of the chief ingredients in the composition of the will. If freedom to choose gives elasticity to the will, freedom to persevere gives strength to it; and the union of strength with elasticity gives vital strength, the strength of healthy tissue, the strength of vigorous growth.

But if the child is to be free to choose, and free to abide by his choice, the adult must take care that the things among which he chooses are all worth choosing. In these days, when the Montessori system of education is being taken up with more zeal than knowledge or discretion, it is well that this word of warning should be spoken. A fond


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mother will tell you that she is bringing up her children on Montessori principles; and if you ask her what precise form the application of the Montessori system has taken, she will tell you that she is allowing the child to do whatever he pleases. And if you make further inquiry, you will find that she has not made the slightest attempt to discover what the child really pleases, or to provide him with facilities for doing what he really pleases. You will find, in other words, that she is taking Dr. Montessori's name in vain. To turn a child loose in a large empty room, and tell him to do whatever he pleases, is not Montessorism. To turn him loose in an elaborately furnished drawing-room, and tell him to do whatever he pleases, is not Montessorism. To turn him loose among a crowd of idle children, and tell him to do whatever he pleases, is not Montessorism. The first duty of the Montessori teacher is to find out what are the things which the child really wants to do. Her next duty is to provide him with facilities for doing those things. Her third duty is to allow him to make his choice among them. As a rule - a rule to which there are, of course, many exceptions - the desires of the young child are dictated to him by the genuine needs of his nature. The things that he wants to do are the things that it is best for him to do - the things that will be most favourable to his growth, not as a young animal only, but also as a living soul. The kitten who darts about in all directions, performing mad antics (as they seem to us), is really doing what is best for its own development, for its growth in the powers and graces of feline life. It is much the


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same with the young child. What pleases him best is what is best for his future well-being. "His unconscious aim", as Dr. Montessori said of the baby in the Pincian Gardens, "is his own self-development". The Montessori teacher takes advantage of this law of his being, studies the master tendencies of his nature, and tries to provide him with the environment which will be most favourable to the satisfaction of his real desires - the desires which have as their counterpart the vital needs of his expanding life. Then, and not till then, does she allow him to do what he pleases. And one of her reasons for giving him so much freedom is that nature - the inner nature of the child - knows better (as she believes) than she does what is best for the child to do, or leave undone, at any given time.

In my official report on the Montessori system I said that in a Montessori school each child is doing what for the time being pleases him best. It is possible that these are the words which have startled and alarmed my critics. I ought, perhaps, to have explained that whatever the Montessori child may be pleased to do is pretty sure to be well worth doing. For the cupboards, to which he has free access, are stored with various items of an ingeniously contrived apparatus, in which many of his natural needs and desires have been foreseen and provided for. He is free to take out and "play" with whichever of these materials happens to please him best. He is free to change his occupation, to move about the room, to talk to his companions. He is also free to rest at his good pleasure - to sit still or lie down - until the need for fresh activity takes possession of him.


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There his freedom ends. If there are many things which he may do, there are some things, as he soon discovers, which he may not do. He may not use his own freedom to encroach on the freedom of others. He may not disturb his companions at their work. He may not take their "toys" away from them, or otherwise interfere with what they are doing. And in point of fact, he seldom, if ever, does any of these things. For though he is not directly forbidden to do them, he somehow or other finds out for himself that they are not to be done.

We see, then, that the freedom which is given to children in a typical Montessori school is limited in two main directions. In the first place, the child has to make his choice among a number of things which are well worth doing. In the second place, he must so use his freedom as not to interfere with the freedom of his companions. How he manages to solve the latter problem - a problem which grown-up men and women often find too hard for them - is easily explained. In the atmosphere of freedom his social instincts, which are starved by the social régime that is autocratically imposed on him from above, begin to evolve themselves; and a new social order, based on his instinctive sympathy with others, and his instinctive sense of justice as between himself and others, gradually comes into being. For one of the merits of freedom is that it tends, automatically, to provide the safeguards against its own abuse.

This account of what goes on in a Montessori school, under a system in which the giving of freedom is essential and even quintessential, has enabled me to explain what freedom of choice for


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the child means and does not mean; and has, I trust, made it clear to my readers that the freedom which I advocate has nothing in common with license. It is dogmatic pressure which leads to license, by provoking a fierce re-action against itself which it is powerless to guide or control. But the child who has once been inoculated with a pure "culture" of freedom will be proof against the morbific virus of license; for a lawless life can have no attraction for one who is learning, in an atmosphere of freedom, to be a law unto himself.

The system of education which centres in freedom of choice provides for the due development of the child's will; and the system which provides for the due development of the child's will, provides also for all his higher faculties being duly exercised. So long as he is the passive victim of dogmatic pressure, his higher faculties are perforce lying dormant and uncultivated. He may, indeed, make a show of exercising them, in obedience to the detailed directions which he is doomed to receive. He may pretend to reason, pretend to imagine, pretend to sympathise. But unless the source of his activity is in himself, unless what he does or says or thinks or even feels is the reflection in some measure of his own purpose and his own choice, he will never get an inch beyond the stage of make-believe and self-deception, of puppet-like response to irresponsible control. Nor will he be able to exercise his general capacity for evolving special faculties, (1) unless he is allowed to adapt himself, on his own initiative and by his own effort, to some at least of the phases of his

(1) See Appendix G, p. 358.


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ever-changing environment, to use his own wits for solving the problems, and his own will-power for overcoming the obstacles, that may happen to confront him.

These, in brief, are my reasons for proposing that freedom should be freely given, as far as may be possible, to children of all ages. Set forth in fewer words, they amount to this, that the denial of freedom hinders self-development and is therefore fatal to healthy and harmonious growth. An attempt will be made to amplify and elucidate them in the remaining chapters of this book.

So much as to what freedom means for the child. Let us now consider what it means for the teacher. It is for his own sake, not less than for the child's, that the teacher should give freedom to the latter. For it is only by giving freedom - (if we may now assume that this is desirable) - that he can hope to learn how best to give it. He has to help the child to develop the three great groups of potencies of which I have already spoken - the potencies of the individual self, the potencies of the communal self, and the potencies of the ideal self. With the potencies of the communal self he need not directly concern himself. If he will give the child a reasonable measure of freedom, he will find that those potencies will begin to realise themselves. "Among a small group of children", says Herbart in one of his inspired moments, "if only a little sympathy exists and is kept awake, a certain need of social order for the common good develops itself spontaneously." These words are profoundly and prophetically true. Experience has amply proved,


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as we shall presently see, that in an atmosphere of freedom a social life is ever tending to evolve itself among children, and that, with such help as tact and sympathy on the part of the teacher can give it, the social spirit will thrive so vigorously that at last the school or class will develop into an almost ideal community which will go some way towards realising the socialistic dream of "Each for all, and all for each."

But if the two remaining groups of potencies are to realise themselves, the teacher must be prepared to play a more active part. He must give to each child the food, the guidance, and (if possible) the stimulus, which he may happen to need. To give stimulus, which is the subtle efflux from a magnetic personality, may not be within his means. But to give food and guidance is his plain duty; and to give the right food and the right guidance will tax to the uttermost his resources and his powers. For consider what we are asking him to do. He has probably not less than twenty or thirty pupils. He may have more. He may have forty, or fifty, or even sixty. But let us say that he has thirty. In a school of the ordinary type, these thirty children would all be receiving exactly the same rations of mental and spiritual food, and exactly the same kind and measure of that dogmatic direction which does duty for guidance. This means that a majority of them would be receiving the wrong food and the wrong guidance, and that in all probability not one of them would be receiving the exact food or the exact guidance that he really happened to need. The teacher who realises that his thirty pupils are thirty individuals rather than


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thirty units, also realises that if they are to be rightly fed and rightly guided, the idiosyncrasies of each of them must be duly considered and provided for. Now, unless the pupils are free, within reasonable limits, to go their several ways, the teacher will never discover what are the idiosyncrasies which he is to consider and provide for. A teacher of the ordinary type soon realises that his pupils are not mere units, that on the contrary they differ from one another in many important respects, and ought by rights to be dealt with in different ways. But the régime under which he works makes differential treatment of his pupils impossible; and even if curiosity should move him to study their respective idiosyncrasies, he would be unable to do so, except within unprofitably narrow limits; for his own unceasing efforts to mould all his pupils to one pattern must needs repress "the manifold budding of pure nature" in each of them.

It is for the sake of the ideal self that the child should be helped to realise his individual self. For if he is to outgrow himself, he must do so in his own particular way, the way which Nature seems to have marked out as best for him: in other words, he must at once realise and transform his individuality - realise it by transforming it, and transform it by realising it-and so win his way to his own true self. The ideal nature, the ιδεα of humanity, is the same for all men. The ways that lead to it are innumerable. But it is not until the one goal has been reached, that the meaning of each of the many ways to it will become apparent. And it is not until the one goal has been reached, that each of the pilgrims to it will have realised


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his own nature and become what he was meant to be.

That being so, it is clear that the teacher who is leading his pupils into the path of self-realisation must not only study their respective idiosyncrasies, but also study the central tendencies of human nature, so that if he may not hope to discover its unattainable ideal, he may at least hope to determine the master law of its movement, or (in mathematical parlance) the equation to its curve. He has to help each of his pupils to find and walk in the path which will best enable him to set his face towards the ideal. In other words, he must study the idiosyncrasy of each of his pupils through the medium of his own vision of the one ideal which, if they can but realise their respective natures, awaits them all. (1)

This means that he must base his pædagogy,

(1) I do not forget, when I send the teacher and each of his pupils in search of the ideal, that there are ideals in existence which may be said to hold the field. I do not forget that by the exercise of a natural, though ill-trained, faculty we are able to discriminate among the sayings and doings of men, admiring some and condemning others (both in varying degrees); and that in this way we have arrived at the conception, and (when we study history) at the perception, of certain ideals of life and conduct, by which we have allowed our own lives and our own conduct to be influenced in an appreciable degree. But instead of regarding these ideals as natural ends of human development, we have thought of them as heroic "reversals" of the course of nature, miracles of supernatural grace, and so forth; and instead of trying to grow towards them ourselves, and helping our children to grow towards them, we are content to contemplate them from a safe distance, and point them out to our children as beacon-lights which they are to gaze at and revere, but are not to think of rivalling. The idea that they are but brilliant outbursts of a light which is shining in each of us, that they have but realised with some approach to perfection the characteristic potencies of our common nature, so that in them [footnote continues on next page]


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both in theory and practice, on Child Study. There are, I believe, Child Study Societies in all parts of this country. And this is a most hopeful sign of the times. But how do these societies carry on their work? If there were a group of societies for the study of bird life which confined themselves entirely to the observation of caged birds, I do not think their studies would add greatly to our knowledge of ornithology. They might be able to note many important facts. They might observe interesting and significant differences between one caged bird and another, between a caged lark, for example, and a caged linnet or a caged canary; or again, if five or six birds of the same species were kept in a large cage, they might be able to study their respective individualities within those narrow limits. But I do not think our stay-at-home naturalists would go far towards discovering the real habits and customs of the birds in question; for those habits and customs do not reveal themselves except when the birds are in a state of freedom, following the dictates of nature, pairing, building nests, rearing families, working hard to supply themselves and their young with food, adapting themselves to an ever-changing environment, obeying their migratory instincts, and so on.

The Child Study Societies in this country are, through no fault of theirs, working under restrictions similar to those which our imaginary orni-

[footnote continues from previous page] we see what we have it in us to become, is one which we have never taken seriously; and the further idea that they are slumbering in every new-born infant, and that the only way to realise them is the way of self-development, is one which we have never entertained, or, if it has been suggested to us, which we have vehemently rejected.


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thologists have imposed on themselves. They are studying the ways and works, the characters and idiosyncrasies, of caged children. This study may yield many interesting results. It may enable the students to discover significant differences between child and child, within the limits which dogmatic direction and strict discipline impose. But it will not take them much further than this. It will not enable them to lay the foundations of a real psychology, of an authoritative science of the soul. The foundations of this science, which we profess to teach in our Training Colleges, and in the absence of which education is a mere groping in the dark, have not yet been laid. Nor will it be possible to lay them until the radical reform of education which Dr. Montessori has initiated has made some headway in this and other lands.

For it is in childhood, when the various tendencies of human nature are making their first (and perhaps their last) effort to evolve themselves and tell us what they are, that the laws of human nature can be most easily and most profitably studied; and so long as education forbids the real nature of the child to unfold itself, so long as the teacher insists on moulding the child "into a set form", so long as the phenomena which the student observes and records and tries to interpret are the outcome of dogmatic direction on the part of the teacher and mechanical response on the part of the child, so long will Child Study (in the true sense of the word) be impossible.

On this point the testimony of Mr. Homer Lane, whom I have already appealed to as an authority on "gang-hooliganism", is, I think, conclusive.


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This remarkable man - whose work among youthful delinquents is of world-wide importance, and whose academic studies of psychology and pædagogy have been supplemented by a practical experience of human nature in schools, colleges, prisons, reformatories, working camps, Indian villages, and the like - after he had lived for some months in a "community of free children" (his "Junior Republic"), came to the conclusion that his psychology was unsound from base to apex, and that the very foundations of it needed to be relaid. This fact gives food for thought. When we find that a man who had given the best years of his life to the study of psychology, both in theory and practice, was driven by the stress of a new experience, to recant the greater part of his psychological creed, we begin to ask ourselves what weight we are to attach to the dogmatic teaching of the professors of psychology and pædagogy at our Universities and of the lecturers on those subjects at our Training Colleges, and we begin to realise what urgent need there is for freedom to be given to children, if the teaching of those supremely important subjects - teaching to which most of our budding schoolmasters and schoolmistresses are forcibly subjected - is to be made really effective.

When we ask the teacher to study the idiosyncrasy of each of his pupils through the medium of his study of human nature as such, we are setting him an almost superhuman task. And, in attempting this task, he will speedily find himself involved in one of the many circles which beset the path of the pioneer in education. If he is to lead a child into the path


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of self-realisation, he must give him some measure of freedom. If he is to give him freedom, he must give him some measure of guidance. If he is to give him effective guidance, he must know what goal he is to set before him. If he is to know this, he must find out what are the real, the central, the ideal tendencies of his nature. If he is to do this, he must study his nature in particular and child-nature in general. And if he is to do this, he must give freedom to him and his companions, so that their several natures may be free to unfold themselves.

Here the circle completes itself. The way of escape from it, as from all similar circles, is practical rather than logical. For the teacher who chooses the path of freedom will find that what he gives as trust in the child's nature he will receive back as insight into it; that what he receives as insight he will be able to give back as tentative guidance; that what he gives as tentative guidance he will receive back as deeper insight; and so on. In this way, guidance being rewarded by insight, and insight making guidance possible, the teacher who invokes the aid of Nature will find that the problem of helping each of thirty pupils to realise his ideal self "by pathways of his own", will gradually solve itself as he proceeds.

But what does giving freedom mean, so far as the action and bearing of the teacher are concerned? We have seen that my advocacy of the Montessori system of education has led to my being publicly denounced for "preaching a new form of laissez-faire;" And to preach laissez-faire is to assign to the teacher a rôle of complete


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passivity, to transform him (in Professor Adams' words) into a "benevolent superintendent of the process of development which he allows to follow its own course". Is this the practical outcome of my scheme of education? I cannot deny that the role of the teacher, as I conceive it, is to retire into the background and let nature take its course. Does it follow that there is no active work for him to do? By no means. It is possible to send the teacher into the background, and yet assign to him (or her) duties of a higher order and also more difficult and exacting than any which he (or she) discharges now.

Let us consider a somewhat analogous case. I have already appealed to the modern treatment of measles, in disproof of Herbart's dogmatic dictum that "to leave man to Nature ... is mere folly". This argument from analogy admits of being more fully elaborated. A boy sickens with measles. What does the physician do for him? What would he have done for him in the Middle Ages? He would have tried to exorcise the evil spirit which had presumably obsessed him; and he might have supplemented this treatment with wildly fantastic remedies which would have been worse for him than the invading microbes. A century or two later he would probably have drenched the boy with inappropriate drugs, given directions for his bed-curtains to be drawn, for fresh air to be excluded from his room, and for other things to be done which would have seriously retarded and might well have precluded his recovery. In both those bygone ages he would have dogmatised with bland self-assurance,


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wantonly interfered with the self-protective processes of nature, and done his best to kill his patient. What does he do now? Realising that the battle must be fought out between the phagocytes and the invading microbes, he retires into the background and lets nature take its course. Does this mean that he sits still and does nothing? On the contrary, he does a work of the very highest importance. He makes the conditions as favourable as possible to the success of nature's processes of self-protection and recuperation. In other words, he works with and for the "sovereign directress", Nature. And the result is that deaths among his patients are as rare as they once were common. But the work that he now does, though much less fussy and obtrusive than what he used to do, is far more difficult, delicate, and exacting. And, whereas the basis of his former treatment was either fantastic à priori reasoning or a hasty misinterpretation of a totally inadequate experience, the basis of his new treatment is scientific, in the true sense of the word, his policy of masterly inactivity (to use a phrase which does less than justice to it) having been both suggested to him and made possible by his widening knowledge of the facts and laws of Nature, and his deepening insight into her ways and works.

Let us now go back to the teacher. For thousands of years he has interfered with nature to his heart's content; and in doing so he has probably been as wasteful of what I may call the higher vitality as the old-world physician was of physical health and life. Two hundred years ago the Court physicians of this country accomplished the remark-


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able feat of killing off the whole of Queen Anne's fairly numerous family. If the old-world therapeutics could achieve so much within the limits of a single household, one may safely conjecture that its victims in the aggregate must have amounted to many thousands of millions. How many millions of budding souls have been killed, so far as life on the higher planes of being was concerned, by the old-world pædagogy, we shall never know. But if the policy of standing aside and letting nature take its course has so marvellously transformed therapeutics, is it unreasonable to suppose that the same policy, resting on a similar and equally scientific basis, might, if applied with tact and wisdom and knowledge, work similar wonders in the field of education? Is it unreasonable to suggest that the true role of the teacher is to aid the natural processes of growth in the soul of the child, to make the conditions under which they are carried on as favourable as possible, to bring supplies of mental and spiritual food within reach of the child, to give him suitable guidance and timely stimulus, and then - though, of course, there is no final then - to stand aside and let nature take its course?

This is the philosophy of education which has gradually shaped itself in my mind, and for advocating which I have been branded as a Rousseauite. I claim for it that, while it emphasises Rousseau's protest against the crassly ignorant, blindly blundering, fussily energetic, and harshly repressive dogmatism which had (and has) so long masqueraded as education, it entirely avoids the opposite extreme of laissez-faire into


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which Rousseau allowed his protest to carry him. For it assigns to the teacher a röle of ceaseless though quite unobtrusive, activity, of real and lasting usefulness, of subtle and far-reaching influence; and it makes demands upon his intelligence, his resourcefulness, his tact, his patience, his imagination, his sympathy, which, unless he has exceptional gifts or has had exceptional experience, he can scarcely be expected to meet in full.

If there is anyone among my readers who still thinks that freedom for the child means passivity for the teacher, let him pay a visit to a genuine Montessori school. The voice of the teacher is seldom heard in a Montessori classroom; but it does not take one long to discover that she is the real vital centre of the class. If she does not stand in front of it, authoritatively demanding silence and attention, issuing orders and directions to solid blocks of children, wearing out her vocal chords with constant talk, she does what is far more effective: she moves quietly among her pupils, guiding them into the path of self-guidance, helping them to help themselves, encouraging them, befriending them, diffusing love and light wherever she goes. And what she does not demand from the children - obedience and devotion - she never fails to receive from them, and always in the fullest measure. The eyes of the children wait on her, not because the formula "all eyes on me (or on my other self, the blackboard)" is ever heard in the school, but because growing plants instinctively turn towards the sunshine. If to admire this type of teacher, if to advocate this type of teaching, is


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Rousseauism, then I am well content to be a Rousseauite.

I have named this chapter "The Meaning and Value of Freedom". For the child freedom means relief from dogmatic pressure, and the substitution of self-control for forced obedience, and of self-development for mechanical response to dogmatic direction. For the teacher freedom means retirement into the background so that he may deepen his influence and widen the scope of his activity, and the substitution of sympathetic guidance for dogmatic direction, of the partial control of the child's environment for the full control of the child himself. The value of freedom to the child is that except in an atmosphere of freedom he cannot grow. And the value of freedom to the teacher is that except in an atmosphere of freedom he cannot foster growth.




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CHAPTER V

"THE PRIMROSE PATH"

MANY of my friends and some of my journalistic critics seem to think that to give freedom to children is to demoralise their lives. When I tell of schools in which children are given freedom in liberal measure, in which they are allowed within certain limits to follow their own tastes and inclinations, to develop their own powers and capacities, to solve problems by themselves, to overcome difficulties by themselves, to initiate things for themselves, to plan things for themselves, to think for themselves, to discipline themselves, and so on - and when I add that the prevailing atmosphere of those schools is one of joy, that the children in them seem to be animated by "vital feelings of delight" - the first impulse of the listener is to cry out: "Oh, but is not that a poor preparation for the discipline and drudgery of life? Is it not bad for the children to enjoy their hours in school? Is it not good for them to do what they dislike doing?"

Such objections as these have been urged by my friends, not once but a hundred times. And one or two of my reviewers have spoken to the same effect. In particular my Commonwealth critic (Canon Scott Holland) tells me that "the secret of education" lies in the "resolution to go forward


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with a task that has lost all ease and light and joy, and has become a sheer unmitigated grind, done against the grain, by faith in what is ordered, under the strict discipline of obedience", that "there is no escaping this probation", and that it is my failure to realise this and my consequent lack of "grit" and "masterfulness", which makes my "picture of ideal education so unreal and unconvincing". And Dr. Geraldine Hodgson, who has not, as far as I know, criticised me directly, but who has sent me for my edification a pamphlet called the Theory of the Primrose Path, in which she inveighs against the Montessori system (in entire ignorance, as is quite obvious, both of its fundamental principle and of its practical working), says: "To bring children up to avoid every pain and to indulge every inclination, (1) and then to turn them into the ways of the rough heedless world, seems to me to be something very like common cheating;" and she is disposed to associate "the distressing signs of the times" (which she duly catalogues) and "the abominable work which is done in England day by day and continually in many trades" with the advocacy of the "principle of liberty" in education.

This is one side of the picture. Here is the other. The Head Mistress of a large Infant School on the outskirts of one of our great towns, having studied sundry Montessori books and found much in them which appealed to her, determined to introduce the Montessori system into the lowest class in her school. The necessary apparatus was procured, and Montessori work was begun in the autumn of 1912. Six months later the system was introduced

(1) Who, I wonder, is the lunatic who proposes to do this?


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into a higher class, by the desire of its teacher. I visited the school twice in the spring of this year (1913). My second visit was paid about a week or ten days after the introduction of the system into the higher class. The Head Mistress, who is a woman of exceptional wisdom and ability, told me that what had impressed her most so far was the effect of the system on character. She found that in the lowest class, where the ages of the children ranged from three and a half to five and a half, a social life, based on goodwill, consideration for others, and self-control, was gradually evolving itself. For this there were two reasons. In the first place, the life of free and rational activity was so congenial to the children that the atmosphere of the classroom had become one of joy - an atmosphere in which feelings of comradeship and sympathy seem to germinate spontaneously and make vigorous growth. In the second place, experience had insensibly taught the children that they must not always expect to have things their own way, that they must be ready to give as well as to take, that they must control their self-seeking impulses, that they must not allow their own freedom to encroach on the freedom of others; and so, without in the least realising what they were doing, they had become kindly, courteous, and unselfish in their dealings with their classmates, and had begun to impose on themselves the discipline of self-control. The contrast, in these respects, between the lowest class, which had been "doing Montessori" for six months, and the higher class, which had but recently begun to do it, was striking. In the former, though there were fifty children and not more than four


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replicas of any item in the apparatus, there was never the slightest trace of squabbling when the children went to the cupboards to get out what they wanted to "play" with. In about one minute the cupboards were emptied and the children were all happily at work. In the higher class there was a certain amount of scrambling and pushing while the cupboards were being emptied; and it was obvious that rudeness and unselfishness had by no means died out of the class. But the Head Teacher assured me that the magic of freedom had already done wonders for those sixty children, and that it was humanising and civilising them from day to day.

This was not the only aspect of the effect of freedom on character. The attitude of the children towards life had undergone a significant change. From being passive and expectant, it had become active and originative. The children had begun to realise, in their instinctive sub-conscious way, that they were independent and responsible agents, and that a considerable measure of initiative had been transferred from their teachers to themselves. This discovery had transformed the classroom into a busy hive. Wherever I looked I saw evidence of the outgrowth of those qualities which (according to Dr. Geraldine Hodgson) Dr. Montessori and other advocates of the "Primrose Path" are engaged in destroying - such qualities as activity, industry, patience, perseverance, resolution, resourcefulness, self-reliance. So keen was the interest of the children in what they were doing, that they expected an onlooker like myself to share it. One by one, they came up to me, a perfect stranger,


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and took me by the hand, and led me away to show me what they had done. I do not know which impressed me the more favourably, their evident joy in their own work or their naïve confidence in my sympathy and goodwill.

Here, then, are two sides of the same tapestried picture. Which is the real side? Let us think the matter out. I have long felt, with Herbart, that the moral aspect of education is the most vital aspect, and that, according as a type of education tends to moralise or to demoralise, so it must stand or fall. Does the type which has so long held the field tend to moralise human life? I was brought up under it. Let me go back to my own childhood. In those days I firmly believed that it was impossible for grown-up persons to do wrong. For there was no one (as far as I could see) to issue commands to them; and as wrong-doing began and ended in disobedience, the inference was clear that they could not, if they would, go astray. In this childish belief, I went straight to what was vital and essential in the scheme of morality under which I lived. A law or code of commandments was set before me by my parents, tutors, and governesses. To obey that law was to do right. To break it was to do wrong. If I broke it, I was punished. If I obeyed it, I escaped punishment. This was the outlook on life which a rigorously dogmatic education forced upon me. With such an outlook on life, it is no matter for wonder that such moral defects as untruthfulness, hypocrisy, cowardice, evasion, regard for the mere letter of the law, began to germinate in my heart. Happily for me (let me say in passing) there were


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moralising influences at work, in no way connected with my education, which saved me from suffering moral shipwreck, as, had I been less fortunate, I might well have done.

The scheme of life under which I was brought up, and under which the victims of the conventional type of education (in the absence of modifying influences) are all brought up, is, in a word, legalism. For those who uphold this morality, faith is the first and last of inward virtues, and obedience is the first and last of outward virtues. But the faith which they glorify is not the spontaneous response of the soul to the appeal of what is intrinsically high and pure. And the obedience which they glorify is not the spontaneous submission of the soul to the master laws of its own being, and therefore to the authority of what is intrinsically high and pure. Faith for them is the response, under compulsion, to the demands of an external authority for blind confidence. And obedience for them is submission, under compulsion, to whatever orders an external authority may be pleased to issue.

What is the value of this scheme of life? Is it likely to moralise or demoralise human life? Is obedience to external authority (with faith in external authority, as its counterpart) the beginning and end of all virtue? The dogmatists, who, (or obvious reasons, are in a position to control public opinion, have at all times made much of obedience, setting it on a pedestal by itself and calling on the other virtues to bow down to it as their suzerain and the source of their authority. (1) They have done

(1) In the eyes of the thoroughgoing dogmatist, continence is a virtue because men are authoritatively told not to commit adultery; honesty is a virtue because men are authoritatively [footnote continues on next page]


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this in perfect good faith, and in equal good faith they have placed in command of the Universe an arch-dogmatist who has appointed them his deputies and delegated his authority to them, and who will punish disobedience to them as if it were disobedience to himself. But in point of fact, obedience, as they understand the word, obedience to external authority, is not a virtue at all. All the other virtues have some intrinsic merit. It alone has none. It is in this respect that it stands apart from the others, and not in being the source of their authority. It shines, when it does shine, with a wholly borrowed light. In other words, the motive is everything, the act is nothing. He who obeys from motives of disinterested love is virtuous indeed, but only with the virtue of disinterested love. He who obeys from motives of fear, or sordid self-interest, or even ordinary mundane prudence, is not virtuous in the slightest degree. If obedience were intrinsically virtuous, it would be a meritorious act to obey the captain of a gang of bandits. That this is not necessarily a meritorious act anyone can see. Yet obedience to a bandit chief from motives of disinterested loyalty would be more meritorious than obedience to "lawful authority" from motives of self-interest or fear. A soldier may obey a martinet officer, partly from fear, partly from the force of habit. Yet his obedience may have so little of virtue in it, that he will shoot the officer in battle if he gets the chance. On the other hand disobedience to external authority is so far from being inherently vicious, that there is no reason why the

[footnote continues from previous page] told not to steal; filial pity is a virtue because men are authoritatively told to honour their parents; and so on.


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law-breaker should not be a high-souled hero, though the odds are no doubt in favour of his being a common thief.

The legalist may possibly contend that, before obedience is given, he who obeys should satisfy himself that the authority which claims his loyalty has the right, as well as the might, to enforce its claim. But this argument, besides being for obvious reasons inapplicable to the nursery or the schoolroom, is one which undermines the whole position of legalism. For if it is permissible to examine the credentials of a self-constituted authority, it is surely permissible, à fortiori, to exercise one's judgment with regard to each of the commands that it issues. But the moment this right is exercised, the moment the question: "Ought it to be done" takes the place of the question: "Is it so commanded", the hollowness of the legalist position is exposed. The truth is that legalism, in its attempt to find a logical basis for its system, must needs emphasise and re-emphasise its own characteristic defect, the obedience which it demands becoming progressively more formal, more casuistical, more mechanical, more literal, till at last, when its foundations have been sunk to bedrock, the inherent absurdity of its scheme of life will have become apparent to all but those whom its influence has blinded and drugged.

When obedience to external authority ceases to count as a virtue, the whole structure of legal or dogmatic morality crumbles into dust. Then the true obedience, obedience to the master laws of our being, becomes free to resume its sway. For if the ultimate source of authority in morals is not out-


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side us, where are we to look for it but in ourselves? If the scheme of life by which we are to order our goings is not to be imposed upon us from without, must we not impose it upon ourselves from within? If the difference between right and wrong is not the difference between obedience and disobedience to a series of formulated commands, on what does it depend but on distinctions which are inherent in the very constitution of the soul? Above all, if the child is not to be drilled into good conduct, must he not be allowed (and helped) to moralise himself?

For what is moral evil? Is it not the loss of internal harmony in the soul? When the outward life affirms itself at the expense of the inward, we get worldliness. When the animal self affirms itself at the expense of the spiritual, we get sensuality. When the narrower self affirms itself at the expense of the wider, we get selfishness. And these three - worldliness, sensuality, and selfishness - the world, the flesh, and the "snake of self" - are, by general consent, the main sources of moral evil. In each of these cases what is intrinsically lower gets the better of what is intrinsically higher, defies its authority, breaks from its control. This means that the balance of nature has been upset, that the inherent harmony of the soul has been impaired.

I have said, in answer both to those who contend that human nature is neither good nor bad and to those who believe in original sin, that human nature, like every other nature, has at any rate the goodness of its own type or kind; in other words, that it is good in the sense that the normal child has at birth the characteristic potencies of human perfection. To this position I adhere. There is


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nothing in human nature which is intrinsically evil. What the child brings with him into the world is, not a corrupt nature or even the germs of moral depravity, but the vital distinction between higher and lower, between what is central and what is subordinate, between what is meant to rule and what is meant to obey. When the growth of the child's nature is perfectly healthy and harmonious, the higher affirms itself as higher and the lower takes its place contentedly as lower. Then we have moral sanity. When growth is restricted or distorted, when it is sickly or one-sided, it becomes possible for what is intrinsically lower to defy the authority of what is intrinsically higher, and to go its own way without restraint or control. Then we have moral evil: and when the lower tendencies are allowed to run riot, we have demoralisation and malignant disease of the soul. The outward life is not intrinsically evil. On this point we must make our minds quite clear. What is evil is the triumph of the outward life over the inward. The animal self is not intrinsically evil. What is evil is its triumph over the more spiritual self. The narrower self is not intrinsically evil. What is evil is its triumph over the wider self. Whatever makes for these unnatural triumphs, for these reversals of the real order of nature, is a demoralising influence in the life of the growing child.

Hence the failure, from the standpoint of morality, of the conventional type of education. By resolving all virtues into obedience, by subjecting its victims to the deadening pressure of dogmatic direction and quasi-military drill, the education with which we are all familiar so restricts and distort


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growth - arresting it in some directions, overstimulating it in others, making it mechanical where it should be vital, driving its baffled current through unnatural outlets into dangerous channels - as at last to destroy that internal harmony which is of the essence of the virtuous life. Of the various ways in which it has demoralised, and is still demoralising, the lives of its victims, I need not speak at length. Suffice it to say that it weakens the will by transferring the source of its activity to the will of another person, and so restricting the sphere of its action to a bare choice between obedience and disobedience to a series of isolated commands; that it atrophies the moral sense, not merely by forbidding it to consider the larger issues of life, but also by defining right and wrong for it in all the details of conduct; that it externalises life by ignoring inwardness of aim and motive, and making a ceaseless demand for visible and measurable results; that it lowers the plane of life by appealing, in its search for motive power, to selfish desires and ignoble fears; that it despiritualises life by making much of obedience to the letter, and making little of devotion to the spirit; above all, that by substituting finality of achievement, as the goal of endeavour, for the quest of unattainable perfection, it cuts the soul off from its own ideal and therefore from the very life of its life. This list could easily be extended, but I think it is long enough.

If virtue is internal harmony, education must make it its business to produce vigorous and many-sided growth. For in no other way can internal harmony be secured. When the nature of the child, under the fostering influence of a sane education,


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grows healthily and as a whole, the higher tendencies, as they unfold themselves, will spontaneously take their places as higher, and the lower tendencies, as they unfold themselves, will spontaneously take their places as lower; what is central will begin to guide and control, what is subordinate will begin to follow and obey; the diviner self will place its latent wisdom, the animal self will place its latent energy, at the service of the common weal; each organ, each power, each faculty will go its own way and live its own life within the limits which are prescribed by the just claims of other organs, powers, and faculties, and by the needs and demands of the nature as a whole. In such a life there is no tyranny, no bondage, no usurpation, no rebellion. Each part works happily for all; and all the parts, in their organised totality, work happily for each. In a word there is no discord; and where there is no discord, there is no moral evil, no vice, no sin.

I am painting a picture of what might conceivably be. I am postulating a healthy and well-balanced nature, in which the higher potencies are ripe, so to speak, for active development, and to which education has given a happy environment, wise guidance, and a reasonable measure of fostering care. It is possible that such a nature is rare; and it is certain, let me say in passing, that such an education is rarer still. But be the child's nature what it may, the broad fact remains that whatever makes for its vigorous and many-sided growth makes also for the inward harmony of its parts and powers, and therefore for its moral well-being. It follows that no influence in the life of the child is


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so moralising, so conducive to right living, as the education which fosters growth, not merely by making the conditions favourable to it, but also and more especially by setting the child free to grow.

When I follow out this train of thought, I begin to understand why the children in a typical Montessori class, like those in my "School in Utopia" and others whom I can call to mind, are unselfish, good-tempered, friendly, sympathetic, considerate of others, masters of themselves. In the first place, the expansive force of all-round growth is beginning to emancipate them from bondage to self. In the second place, the secret desire to find outlets for the swelling current of their lives is beginning to teach them to live in the lives of others. In the third place, their higher tendencies, as they unfold themselves, are beginning to assert their natural authority and to place the lower tendencies under due control. In the fourth place, having been relieved from the pressure of dogmatic discipline, the children, as they instinctively feel after social life and social order, are beginning to realise the need of disciplining themselves. These are weighty reasons. But there is one more; and it counts for so much that it may almost be said to hold all the others in solution. The children are living in an atmosphere of joy.

Why have our writers on morality persistently ignored the moralising influence of joy? I can only suppose that in this, as in other matters, the doctrine of original sin has made its presence felt. Joy, being a spontaneous outwelling from the springs of human nature, has always been regarded with grave suspicion and has often been proscribed


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as carnal and anti-spiritual, and visited with the condemnation that is meted out by censorious moralists to the various pleasures with which men beguile their sojourn on earth. But there is a profound difference between pleasure and joy. Pleasure is generated by the gratification of a particular part of one's nature, and, when present in excess, is apt to be accompanied by pain in some other part and by disorder in the whole. Joy is generated by the gratification of one's nature as a whole. Emanating from the growing soul as a sense of general well-being, on the one hand it gradually impregnates the environing social atmosphere with its subtle life-giving essence, and on the other hand it re-acts on the soul from which it emanates, vitalising all its higher energies, quickening its capacity for faith and hope and love, and stimulating it to feelings of sympathy and deeds of kindness. He who lives for pleasure lives, in the last resort, for himself alone. But joy is in its essence unselfish, the first impulse of the heart that rejoices being to share its joy with others, and the outrush of joy into other lives being one of the chief sources of the renewal of joy in one's own.

Surprised by joy - impatient as the Wind
    I turned to share the transport -
This is what everyone who rejoices, instinctively desires to do. "He who loveth", says the author of the Imitation, "flieth, runneth, and rejoiceth". It is equally true that he who rejoiceth loveth. Joy is the other self of inward harmony and health of soul. It is also the other self of love. And love is the fulfilling of the law. What way of life, then,


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is so moral or so moralising as that which leads to joy? The joy that lights the face of a child is at once the surest proof that all is well with him, and the most potent of all the influences that make for his well-being.

The moralising effect of joy shows itself in the manners, not less than in the morals, of the child. For manners, if spontaneous and sincere, are good or bad according as there is good-will or ill-will behind them; and for him whose heart overflows with joy - a joy which at once and of inner necessity translates itself into good-will - good manners are a natural outlet, of which he instinctively avails himself and which he uses on all occasions and without respect of persons. And as the good-will which springs from joy carries one away from oneself into the lives of others, it must needs invest the good manners which it tends to generate with the subtle charm of unconsciousness of self. (1) That genuine good manners - the manners which are the spontaneous expression of good-will - cannot evolve themselves except in an atmosphere of freedom, is a point on which I need not insist. Where spontaneity of expression is forbidden, deportment must be regulated by codes and enforced by drill; and where this happens, it stands to reason that correctness of manner is either a trick or a sham.

Such is in outline the type of morality that

(1) Ill-will is always self-conscious except when it rises to the level of passion. When it falls short of that level, it produces an offensive type of manner, in which things are done "with a bad grace". When it reaches the level of passion, the bad manners which it generates are apt to pass beyond the limits which the word "manners" usually connotes, ranging as they do from aggressive rudeness to assault and battery, and in the last resort to manslaughter.


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springs up spontaneously, under reasonably favourable conditions, in a "community of free children". What part does formal moral instruction play in it? The scheme of life which is imposed on children by their elders may need to be enforced by precepts as well as by rewards and punishments. But to give lessons on morality to young children who are instinctively moralising themselves is scarcely less foolish than to give lessons on organic chemistry to a plantation of sapling trees. (1) As the child grows older, judicious and tactful moral instruction may become a favourable element in his environment, though it will always count for less than the indirect training of the moral sense (the "æsthetic sense" of Herbart's philosophy) which results from the well-directed study of history and literature. In any case the teacher must remember that, as children are naturally imitative, example will always be more effective with them than precept, and that to give lessons on truthfulness to children whom he is cramming into the semblance of knowledge, and in other ways familiarising with make-believe and unreality, or to illustrate a lesson on self-control by losing his own temper on slight provocation,

(1) "Anthropos" reminds me that the Buddha gave lessons on morality. No doubt he did, but not to young children. "Anthropos" and his fellow-Herbartians seem to think that formal instruction is equally suitable for human beings of all ages. I contend that it becomes less and less suitable as one descends from maturity, through adolescence and childhood proper, towards infancy. I wonder where, if anywhere, "Anthropos" would draw the line below which formal instruction in morals ceases to be profitable. Would he send "babies" to church to hear sermons? Or would he invite a professor of Moral Philosophy to give lectures on the foundations of morality to the children in an Infant School? Surely in this, as in other matters, there is such a thing as "weight for age".


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or to give formal lessons on sympathy and good-will while his own bearing is harsh and unsympathetic, is a sure way to bring moral instruction into disrepute.

Let us now consider some of the stock objections to the morality of freedom and joy. Canon Scott Holland has formulated one of these. In education, he tells us, "there arrives a stage when the difficulties begin to show themselves; and there is nothing for it but grim, relentless grind. We cannot see why we are made to learn this or to practise that. All the experts assure us that this is the only way; but to us it appears unnatural, unnerving, stupid, tough, repugnant. And our whole easy-going nature rebels; and it hates the dreary task set it; and it never seems to get on. In every department of learning, this stage occurs, from those beastly scales in music down to the subtle placing of the thumb on a golf-driver. And, whenever this stage is reached, education has touched its crisis. This is the moment that tests and sifts. No one is educated, who has not survived it. And, to survive it, means always a conflict, hard and bitter - a struggle against all that is lazy, selfish, silly, and perverse in oneself." Then comes the sentence which I have already quoted. "In that conflict, in that effort to master self, in that resolution to go forward with a task that has lost all ease and light and joy, and has become a sheer unmitigated grind, done against the grain, by faith in what is ordered, under the strict discipline of obedience-in that lies the secret of education." "In that lies the secret of education." Alas, I


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know this only too well. It is indeed the secret of education - of education as it has been and still is, but not as it ought to be, and not (I hope against hope) as it is going to be. Carried away by the stream of his own rhetoric, my critic fails to see that, instead of supporting the accepted theory of education with argument, he is merely emphasising some of its characteristic features. This mode of conducting a controversy makes no impression on me. The vehement exposition of a theory of education which I detest does not in the least convince me that it is anything but detestable.

I will now examine some of my critic's statements. "We cannot see why we are to learn this or practise that." Exactly so. The demand for blind faith is of the essence of dogmatic education. But why should we not be allowed to see, and, if necessary, helped to see? Is not a man a rational animal? And is he to be blamed for wishing to understand what he is doing, and to co-operate with those who are teaching him? But "all the experts assure us that this is the only way." Do they? Are all the experts ever agreed about anything? I admit that in education certain ways of teaching have somehow or other managed to establish themselves, and win acceptance as "orthodox"; and that these have been followed in blind faith by ninety-nine teachers out of a hundred. But we must not hold "the experts" responsible for this senseless procedure. Experts are not often teachers; and teachers are not often experts at any of the things that they teach. The expert, if you go to him for instruction, will teach you by his own way - "the only way" for him - the way which he understands


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and practises. Twenty years ago, two professionals and one amateur gave me lessons in golf; and each of these experts had his own way of "addressing the ball", which he wished me to adopt. This set me thinking; and at last I came to the conclusion that as no two men were exactly alike in the build of their bodies, legs, arms, and hands, it was but natural that there should be many ways of addressing the ball, and desirable that each man in turn should find out for himself the way which suited him best. I did not infer from this that one ought never to take lessons in golf. What I did infer was that the wise teacher (who must be something more than a mere "expert") was he who, while not withholding timely guidance, encouraged his pupils to work out their own salvation; and that the more a man had done for himself in the way of solving problems and mastering difficulties, the better he would be able to appreciate and make an intelligent use of the hints of such a teacher, and the more he would be likely to learn by watching his play and studying his strokes.

What is true of the teaching of golf is true of teaching in general. The fallacy of "the only way" has been one of the chief causes of the failure of education. Based as it is on the assumption that all human beings admit of being moulded to the same pattern, it necessarily leads to that demand for blind faith and mechanical obedience which is congenial to the dogmatic mind, and which saves the teacher so much trouble, but against which, as my critic says, "our whole nature rebels". Why does our "whole nature" rebel against this arbitrary demand? Why has "a sheer unmitigated


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grind, done against the grain, by faith in what is ordered, under the strict discipline of obedience", no attraction for it? "Because", says my critic, "it is easy-going ... lazy, selfish, silly, and perverse." But does poor human nature deserve all these question-begging epithets? May it not be that the instinctive reluctance of the child of nature to walk in the path of blind faith, mechanical obedience, and monotonous grind, is due partly to the desire of his reason for light, the desire of his energies for an adequate outlet, the desire of his heart for a worthy end of action, the desire of his "whole nature" to live its own life, and do its own work - partly to these, and partly to his secret conviction that he is not being properly handled, that "the only way" is not the right way for him?

The theory of "the only way" is being gradually abandoned in many branches of education. It was long believed that the only way to teach writing was to make the child fill copy-books with pothooks and hangers; that the only way to teach arithmetic was to make him learn rules and tables by heart and do abstract sums for months at a time; that the only way to teach languages was to load his memory with declensions, conjugations, grammatical rules, and the like; that the only way to teach music was to make him practise "beastly scales" (1) ad nauseam;

(1) "Beastly scales". This damnatory epithet is, I fear, too often thoroughly deserved. In an interesting paper on the teaching of music, which I recently read, I came across the following passage: "As a rule scales are not built up, much less practised, until a child can play easily in the five-finger position. When the necessity for them arises they must be made interesting by rhythmic and dynamic variation. The dull, mechanical practice of scales, arpeggi, and jive-finger exercise is the deadliest impediment to progress ever devised by the [footnote continues on next page]


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that the only way to teach drawing was to make him draw straight lines and curves in his "infancy" and do flat copies for the rest of his school life; that the only way to teach woodwork was to make him practise sawing for one month, planing for another, chiselling for a third, and so on; that the only way to teach religion was to cram him for a periodical examination with catechisms, hymns, and texts. In most of these "subjects", and in others which I have not named, "the only way" is being discredited by the miserable results which it has produced, and attempts are being made to think out new ways.

When I say "new ways", I do not mean a new "only way" in each subject. An "only way", whatever form it may take, is of necessity a bad way. For as it is imposed on all children and therefore on all teachers alike, it must needs be a mechanical way, a soulless way, a way of unintelligent routine for the teacher, a way of puppet-like response for the child. "To know that there is no Way, this is truly to have learned the Way of the Gods." The true pioneers in education are those who realise that there is not, and never can be, an "only way" which is to be imposed on all children alike; that for each child there is a way which is better than any other; and that if the child is to find out the way by which he will work best, desirable ends must be set before him which he must be helped to reach by the use of his own faculties and his own energies,

[footnote continues from previous page] conscientious teacher", If I may argue from my own experience, the compulsory practice of "beastly scales" must have stifled the musical instinct in millions of unhappy children. But scales are not necessarily "beastly." See footnote to p. 173.


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by solving his problems for himself, by overcoming his difficulties for himself, by remain ing true to his individuality even while he struggles to outgrow it. (1) This is the "only way" which will provide for each child following his own way, and so arriving at the one goal which is common to all who seek it. It is not the way of "sheer unmitigated grind, done against the grain". It is not the way of blind faith in authority or of meek obedience to dogmatic direction. But it is the way of awakened intelligence, of vital initiative, of spontaneous activity, of ungrudged effort, of untiring industry. Above all, it is the way of life, of growth, of light, of joy.

"Man", says my rhetorical critic, "is ever an athlete; a pilgrim; a soldier; a worker". I quite agree. But he will be a better athlete if he knows for what prize he is contending; a better pilgrim if he is allowed to travel with his eyes open, instead of being led, blindfolded, by the hand; a better soldier if he is fighting for a cause which is clear to him; a better worker if he can throw himself, heart and soul, into his work. It is useless to

(1) The pupils of Dr. Yorke Trotter, the well-known teacher of music, who are encouraged to express themselves freely, and even to do original composition, from a very early age, practise their "beastly scales" (within reasonable limits) with due diligence, but, strange to say, do not find them "beastly"; for they instinctively realise that without such practice they will not be able to go far along the path of self-expression; and drudgery ceases to be drudgery when it is seen to be the means to a desirable end. So, too, those who teach handwork in elementary and secondary schools are at last beginning to discover that the earlier constructive work, and even original constructive work, is begun, the more ready will the learner be to master the use of the requisite tools, and the more rapid will be his progress, and the more truly educative the hours that he spends in the workshop.


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exhort a man to be a hero when you treat him as a slave.

Canon Scott Holland contends that the type of education which I advocate is bad quâ education. There are other critics (including many of my friends and acquaintances) who hold that a free, happy childhood is a bad preparation for the trials of adult life. Dr. Geraldine Hodgson seems to be one of these. I have to thank this critic for having suggested to me a suitable title for this chapter. I had thought of calling it "The Morality of Joy". But "The Primrose Path", besides being more euphonious, calls to my mind a beautiful couplet in Wordsworth's invocation of duty:

Flowers laugh before thee in their beds,
And fragrance in thy footing treads,
and an equally beautiful sentence in "Solomon's" eulogy of wisdom: "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." If the paths of duty and of wisdom are "Primrose Paths", I need not shrink from giving the same title to the path of freedom and joy.

The "Primrose Path" in education is blamed because the children who walk in it find pleasure in doing things which other children regard as drudgery. Are we to infer from this that the conventional education is meritorious because it makes the path of duty - or what passes for such - dull, tedious, irksome, and generally repulsive, and yet compels the child to walk in it? If we are, we must go on to infer that the essence of virtuousness is to hate virtue, while you practise it, and that it is a deadly sin to enjoy doing what is right.


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The critics of the "Primrose Path" assume that when the well-drilled product of repressive education goes out into the world and has to do disagreeable things, he will be able to do them because he will have spent his school life in doing disagreeable things under compulsion. They assume, in other words, that a blind habit of doing disagreeable things will have been formed in the child, which will carry him safely through life. This assumption goes too far. The mingled tedium and constraint of the average child's school life is as likely as not to provoke a fierce re-action; and the more full of vigour and vitality is the individual child, the more ready will he be to kick over the traces when once the curb of school discipline has been relaxed, and the more violent and destructive will his plungings be. There are ne'er-do-weels and criminals in profusion on the roll of the ex-scholar of our schools of all grades; and it is possible that in a majority of these cases the depth of the failure is directly proportioned to the natural capacity for success. The truth is that in the sterilising atmosphere of the ordinary school the blessings of natural endowment may well become curses, while natural defects may well become the only available means of grace. There is a type of mind, which will accept this state of things as of Divine dispensation, and console itself with the reflection that the ways of the Lord are past finding out. But I, who am reluctant to hold the Lord responsible for the consequences of my own and my neighbours' blunders, cannot but think that the frequent transformation of Nature's best into Society's worst - of the child of superabundant vitality into the ne'er-do-


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weel or the criminal - is a heavy price to pay for the achievement of turning boys and girls of deficient vitality into decently successful drudges.

Far from justifying the optimism of those who regard a repressive education as the best preparation for the drudgery of life, experience leads one to predict that when the product of such an education - the product of strict school discipline and a Spartan bill of mental fare - is confronted by the duller and more tedious tasks of life, he will do one of four things: shirk the tasks completely, and enter wild and lawless paths of his own; shirk the tasks partially - i.e. do them as slackly and perfunctorily as may be compatible with his escaping severe censure; do them with energy and efficiency, in the hope of material advancement; do them conscientiously and punctiliously, but without finding either pleasure or interest in the work.

How will the product of the "Primrose Path" solve the problem of drudgery? From his earliest days he has been accustomed to see a meaning in all that he does, and to take pleasure in his work because it has a meaning. Ends which are congenial to his nature are constantly set before him; and, in his desire to achieve these ends, he is ready to take the necessary means, however difficult and tiresome these may be. In other words, he is learning to find a pleasure and interest in what is commonly regarded as drudgery; and this way of looking at things will probably be his as long as he lives. For this reason, and because the outflow of his energies is becoming strong and steady, it may be predicted that when he grows up he will neither shirk nor slack, but will do the dullest of


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tasks cheerfully, if not with actual enjoyment. In the ordinary school the children are set tasks in which they are not allowed to see a meaning (if indeed they can be said to have any), and which they therefore rightly regard as dull and tedious, and do under compulsion and with a silent and subconscious protest. (1) Far from being a good preparation for the work-a-day world, this is perhaps the worst that could be devised. For it makes the children think that work and drudgery are synonymous terms, and predisposes them to assume beforehand that what they are expected to do will prove uninteresting, and therefore to turn away from it before they have fairly tried it.

Dr. Geraldine Hodgson rebukes certain persons - I know not whom - for assuming that all work is distasteful. "Just as it is a blunder to confuse happiness with pleasure, or play with ease, so it is to confound difficulty with pain. Difficulty may amount to pain; but it may be, and in the degree of it which we call effort often is, highly pleasurable." There is much truth in this protest; but I do not see the exact point of it. Does Dr. Geraldine Hodgson imagine that she is rebuking the upholders of the "Primrose Path"? In reality she is giving them her support in a matter which they

(1) The Russian novelist Dostoieffsky, in his book on convict life in Siberia, has truly said that the most terrible punishment which could be inflicted on a human being - a punishment from the prospect of which even the most hardened criminal would shrink with horror - would be that of compelling him, day after day, to do useless and meaningless work. Do we not go near to inflicting that punishment on our children when we require them, day after day, to do dreary and monotonous tasks in which they cannot see a meaning, and in which we are well content that they should not see a meaning?


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regard as of vital importance. The confusion of "difficulty with pain", like the confusion of "play with ease", is one against which they never cease to protest. Their whole scheme of education is pivoted on the assumption that, just as play, rightly understood, is serious work rather than "ease", so the wrestling with difficulty, if the effort is the child's own, is pleasure rather than pain. Indeed, one of the chief reasons why they ask for freedom in education is that the child may be able to satisfy a deep-seated need of his nature by wrestling with his difficulties himself, and overcoming them (if they are not insuperable) by his own effort and by the exercise of his own powers and energies. It is because the "Primrose Path" cultivates the child's inborn love of surmounting obstacles, of solving problems, of getting things right, that it makes the best possible provision for the conduct of his adult life. For the habit of rational activity which a school life of joyful effort must needs generate will predispose him to do with his might whatever his hand may find to do; and his tendency to associate pleasure with difficulty will give him an élan vital which will carry him far into the heart of the heavy tasks that await him.

The problem of drudgery may be looked at from another point of view. To one who is predisposed to be bored with life, work as such is drudgery. And the product of the conventional type of school, with his lowered vitality and his one-sided development and consequent paucity of interests, is always ready to fall a victim to ennui. The" Primrose Path-finder", on the other hand, with his vigorous vitality, and the many interests in life which have


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been generated by his harmonious training, has resources in himself which he will carry with him into the world, and which will lighten all his burdens. I have elsewhere told of the "Utopian" ex-scholar who sang folk songs while he collected flints and piled them in heaps on the hillside. This boy, who had long walked in the "Primrose Path", had never heard the word drudgery, and could not easily have been made to understand what it meant.

There is yet another source from which the votary of the "Primrose Path" will draw strength when disagreeable duties confront him. As a child, he has always worked from pure motives. In most schools the children are set such uncongenial tasks that they must be either bribed or coerced into doing them. This means that a low range of motives is habitually appealed to - fear, greed, vanity, and the like. He who has worked from these motives in his childhood will probably be swayed by them when he grows up; and he will find that the hope of external reward and the fear of external punishment are among the influences with which, even as an adult, he will have to reckon. But in this world of ours, as it is at present constituted, outward prizes - wealth, position, distinction, and other signs of "success" - are for the few. The many cannot hope to do much more than live in obscurity and earn a bare competence. Their rewards - if they look outside themselves for reward - will at the best be poor. It follows that the fear of punishment, in some form or other - the fear of being reprimanded, of being fined, of being passed over for promotion, of losing a situation, of getting a


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bad character - will count for much in their lives. In response to its pressure, the average worker will perhaps do the work that is set him; but the chances are that he will do it with reluctance and count it as drudgery; and it is possible that, whenever the pressure on him is relaxed, he will relax his exertions in an equal degree. In the "Primrose Path", where rewards and punishments are unknown and where the spirit of competition has never been fostered, the child habitually works from love - love of his work, love of the ends that are set before him, love of his teachers, love of his comrades, love of his school. For one who has learnt from his early days to take this view of life, the prospect of hard and monotonous work has no terrors. No task can be set him, in the doing of which he will not be sustained by joy and love.

I will now ask the enemies of the "Primrose Path" one or two pertinent questions. If they could be convinced that Dr. Montessori's method of teaching writing, which every healthy child enjoys, was both more effective and more rapid in its operation than the prevailing "pothook and hanger" method, which every healthy child dislikes, would they still advocate the latter, because of the drudgery which it involved and the distaste which it generated? They hold that children ought to be made to drudge in order to prepare them for the drudgery of adult life. Do they also hold that children ought to be beaten and otherwise treated with cruelty in order to prepare them for whatever pain and cruelty life may have in store for them? Do they really think that it is undesirable for a child to enjoy his school life? Do they


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really think that it is enervating and demoralising to love to do what is right? Do they really think that to do right reluctantly and with horror of heart, is to reach the highest level of virtue? If they cannot say Yes in answer to these questions, on what general principle do they take their stand?

"But the after life of the child will probably be dreary. So let us accustom him to dreariness by giving him a dreary school life." This argument, though seldom openly formulated, sways the minds of many who extol the merits of drudgery. But why is the after life of the child so often dreary? In part, at least, because his school life was one of drill and drudgery and monotonous routine; and because that gave him a dreary outlook on life. Whether life shall be bright or dreary depends largely on the inward eye with which we look at it. The light of joy comes from within the soul; and wherever it falls, the shadows vanish and the mists melt away.

        we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live:
Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her shroud!
    And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allowed
To the poor loneless ever-anxious crowd,
    Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
    Enveloping the Earth -
And from the soul itself must there be sent
    A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element!
"Ours is" the "wedding-garment" which Nature wears. But ours, too, is "the shroud." For him whose heart has lost the radiance of joy, life, even if it be an unbroken sequence of pleasures and


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amusements, will be full of gloom. The wealth of a multi-millionaire can no more buy him happiness than the poverty of a day-labourer can shut out the sunshine of inward joy. It is because the prevailing type of education, which is based on profound distrust of human nature, makes no attempt to cultivate the child's capacity for joy, that it involves his after life in an atmosphere of gloom; and it is because the supporters of that type of education foresee that the child's after life (as the result of their mishandling of him - though this they cannot see) will be dull and dreary, that they try to prepare him for this ordeal, by giving him frequent foretastes of it in his home and his school. A vicious circle this, from which there seems to be no escape!

That the after life of the child will have its trials and troubles, its pains and sorrows, its vexations and disappointments, its drudgery and monotony, I do not for a moment deny. But I do deny that the advocates of drill and drudgery in childhood are giving the child the training that will carry him safely through the dark passages of life. They seem to assume that the lowered vitality which a repressive education is likely to produce, will fit its victim for that strong and sustained effort by which alone the difficulties of life are to be met and mastered. No assumption could be further from the truth.

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito
is the poet's wise advice to him who finds himself in "a tight place". If the child is to meet the demands which adult life will make upon him - the demands for courage, for fortitude, for self-control, for patient


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effort, for tenacity of purpose, for vigour of will, for that boldness in attack which is the best defence - he must arm himself for the fray with the energy of awakened vitality, with the resistless, relentless force of strong and healthy growth. But where there is no sunshine, growth is enfeebled and vitality ebbs away.





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CHAPTER VI

THE DECADENCE OF ENGLAND

THE decadence of England is a favourite theme with certain writers. Dr. Geraldine Hodgson shakes her head over "the distressing signs of the times", of which she gives us the following list: "the prevalence of pleasure seeking; the dread of pain and discomfort; the substitution in public life of coarse invective for sound knowledge, depth of conviction, and strength of principle; the shameless offers of bribes to thrift and short cuts to success, with other sops to Cerberus too numerous for cataloguing here ... the abominable work which is done in England day by day, and continually in many trades - the bad plumbing, the shocking building, the miserably misfitting clothes which even good tailors are not ashamed to turn out, the colour-printing which goes abroad because our artisans are too slovenly to use properly the simple mechanism necessary to its production, the shameless dawdling of reputable shops over the execution of orders", and in general a "slackening" of the "ideal of English business life."

All this is very sad. To what is it due? Dr. Geraldine Hodgson will scarcely contend that the "Primrose Path" in education is responsible for these distressing signs of the times; for the "Primrose Path" has not yet been given a fair trial except in a few scattered schools - perhaps in one


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in a thousand, though that is probably an overestimate. Nor will she contend that the advocacy of the" Primrose Path" by certain enthusiasts has worked all the mischief; for though "coming events" are said to "cast their shadows before", the shadow cast by this particular "coming event" (if, indeed, it is destined to "come") is at present so faint as to be almost imperceptible. It is only since the beginning of the present century that the voice of the herald of the "new education" - which is still "the voice of one crying in the wilderness" - has been heard in the land; and the causes of Dr. Geraldine Hodgson's "present discontent" must surely be sought for in the later years of the Nineteenth Century, if not in an even earlier age.

What Dr. Geraldine Hodgson would say is, I imagine, that advocacy of the "Primrose Path" in education is itself a distressing sign of the times - perhaps the latest and most distressing of all. But this leaves the decadence of England, of which Dr. Geraldine Hodgson has noted so many symptoms, unaccounted for; and if anything is to be done to avert the threatened downfall of our country, an attempt must first be made to determine the causes of the moral dry-rot from which it seems to be suffering. The nearer, not the remoter causes. The search for the latter would be both impracticable and unpractical. Why the timbers of which the various structures of national life are built should, one and all, have in them the germs of dry-rot, we cannot say; and it would profit us nothing to inquire. But why dry-rot should show itself in this place or in that, or in this age or in that, is a problem which is not necessarily insoluble, and


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which it is certainly worth our while to attempt to solve.

Dr. Geraldine Hodgson is, I think, a little hard on her fellow-countrymen. If the gloomy view which she takes of them were justified, I do not quite see how the business of the country could be carried on. Would it be possible, for example, for the seven or eight millions of people who live in Greater London to be fed and clothed and otherwise catered for unless a large majority of those who see to these things worked faithfully and well? If the percentage of pleasure-seeking, work-shy persons were as high as Dr. Geraldine Hodgson seems to imagine, the day to day life of this vast population, which is made possible by an immense and complex organisation of mental and manual labour, would be completely disordered, and there would be a rapid movement in the direction of chaos, starvation, and general ruin.

Or let us consider the foreign trade of this country. Both in volume and value the exports from the British Isles are greater than they have ever been; and they are growing from year to year. They are also greater, at any rate in value, than those of any other country. And, with the single exception of coal, the things that we export are all manufactured. This does not look as if we were the nation of slackers, shirkers, and dawdlers, which Dr. Geraldine Hodgson makes us out to be. And if we hold our own in the markets of the world, in spite of severe and ceaseless competition, the reason is, not that we are more pushing or enterprising or businesslike or even conciliatory than our rivals - for in these respects we seem to fall behind some of


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the great trading nations - but that our workmanship is generally better, that the quality of our goods has on the whole a higher reputation. In more than one of the recently developed branches of industry we have allowed other nations to get ahead of us at the start, and to build up a considerable business before we had fairly waked from our conservative slumber. But when once we have waked up and gone in pursuit of our rivals, we generally succeed in overtaking them; and one reason for this is that we are more thorough and accurate in our work, and that our standard of excellence is higher. For example, France had begun to use and build automobiles while we were still talking about them; and for many years her automobile industry was far more extensive and important than ours. But now there are large automobile factories in various parts of our islands; and I am told on good authority that in two at least of these the cars which are manufactured are the best that the world produces.

There are, of course, slackers and shirkers and dawdlers in this as in all other countries, and in this as in all other ages. And as the population of the British Isles is now 45,000,000, a number which is considerably in excess of what had been recorded in any previous decade, and which is exceeded in only two other European countries, it is possible that the number of these undesirable persons in this country is larger today than it has ever been, and larger than it is today in most other civilised countries. But is the percentage higher?

On this point we have no evidence. Statistics are not forthcoming; and Dr. Geraldine Hodgson's


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jeremiad is unconvincing, if only for the reason that it is but the echo of a croak which has been heard in every age. The pessimist who is "distressed" by the "signs of the times" we have always with us; and I am by no means sure that a serious attempt to get to the bottom of his (or her) troubles would not take us back to the year One. For, like Mrs. Gummidge, he (or she) seems always to be thinking of "the old 'un" - of some bygone age of all-round honesty, thoroughness, and efficiency, which may or may not have existed, but which certainly seems to recede from us into the mists of antiquity as we go in quest of it under the guidance of the historian.

If Dr. Geraldine Hodgson is right, if this particular country, in this particular age, has more than its fair share of slackers, shirkers, and loafers, it is, I think, possible to account for this deplorable fact; and I will presently try to account for it. Meanwhile, I must call attention to a "sign of the times" which distresses me more than any of those which Dr. Geraldine Hodgson has noted. We are less enterprising than we used to be. The truth of this statement will scarcely be disputed. Formerly we gave a lead to the world in the paths of invention and discovery. Now we are content to let some other country - France, the United States, Italy, or Germany - play the pioneer, while we lag behind for awhile, and then, after passing through successive stages of hostility, incredulity, distrust, and doubt, wake up to the fact that a new path has indeed been found, and set off along it in the track and in pursuit of our rival. To give a few of many examples. In the use of electricity for generating


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light and heat and power, of the submarine, of the automobile, of the airship and aeroplane, of wireless telegraphy, and in many departments of medicine and surgery, we have allowed the pioneering work to be done by other countries, and have paid the penalty for our lack of imagination, initiative, and enterprise, by being left behind at the start and outdistanced for awhile in each of these typical paths of scientific or industrial progress.

So, too, there is today a general tendency on the part of the young men of this country, when the time comes for them to choose their several parts in life, to avoid the paths of enterprise and adventure and to take those beaten paths in which there is no romance and no prospect of a rich reward, but also no risk. The British Empire was built up, in part at least, by the cadets of the county families and the sons of professional men. But nowadays the young men who, in a more adventurous age, would have gone to the Antipodes and other remote parts of the world to "seek their fortunes", prefer to stay at home. An Assistant Master who has had thirty-three years' experience of boys in a Public School which has long been famous for its output of brilliant "intellectuals", says that "the boy of today seems to play for safety in his choice of a profession. Nearly all the clever boys plump for the Civil Service. They choose the way of safety and routine instead of the more uncertain but more individual paths." And there are few Public Schoolmasters who would not agree with him on this point. Not only do the clever boys plump for the Civil Service, but - so little taste have they for empire-building - in recent years they have shown


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a marked preference for the Home Civil Service. A desk in a Government Office, in spite of its monotonous work, low salary, and poor prospect of advancement, has greater attraction for them than a district (as large as an English county) - with the prospect of a province (as large as a European country) - in India. (1)

All this is symptomatic of a general change of character which has come over us during the past fifty years. To what are we to attribute this change? During the same period another great change has taken place. A national system of education has been established and developed. For one child who was attending an elementary school fifty years ago, there are at least ten attending such schools today. And the proportional increase in the number of secondary scholars has been at least as great. Can it be that there is a causal connection between these two great changes? The causes of the decline of the spirit of enterprise in this country are no doubt many and complex. But may it not be that the spread of education during the past half-century is one of them?

Let us first consider the problem from the standpoint of elementary education. Ever since the passing of Forster's Act (1871) the children of the "masses", who had previously been for the most part uneducated, have been required to attend school. What has compulsory education done for them? In their pre-education days Englishmen

(1) For a criticism of the modern "Competition Wallah", and of the type of education of which he is the victim, by an Indian civilian of thirty years' standing, see Appendix E.


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were distinguished above the inhabitants of other lands for their love of freedom. Many years ago I heard a man who was "half seas over" deliver himself of the following formula which, after the manner of those who are "concerned in liquor", he repeated again and again: "What I wants is to be let alone." "In vino veritas". The tippler spoke for his nation. What Englishmen wanted in those days was to be let alone. Yet their traditional love of freedom was on the whole a positive rather than a negative quality. The typical Englishman resented dictation and dogmatic direction; but he did this chiefly because he wished to do things his own way, to go his own way, to live his own life, to be a lamp unto himself. Hence came many qualities which used to be regarded as characteristic of Englishmen, such as individuality, initiative, enterprise, love of adventure, love of surmounting obstacles, coolness in danger and difficulty, resourcefulness, self-reliance, self-control.

These are the qualities with which the Englishman of today seems to be less richly endowed than his forefathers; and they are the very qualities which the type of education that has been given at our elementary schools, ever since attendance at school became compulsory, would be likely to weaken. On this point there can scarcely be two opinions. The teacher in the typical elementary school is, through no fault of his, a petty autocrat who drills his pupils into passivity and mechanical obedience. Having thus done violence to their inborn love of freedom, he proceeds to repress and discourage all the qualities which the love of freedom tends to foster. He discourages individuality


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by treating his pupils as if they were all exactly alike, and trying to mould them all to one set form. He discourages initiative, enterprise, and the love of adventure by never allowing his pupils to originate action of any sort or kind, by making them the mere imitators of what he does, the mere reproducers of what he says, the mere recipients of the information that he doles out to them. He discourages the love of overcoming obstacles by never allowing his pupils to do anything for themselves which he can possibly contrive to do for them, and by removing with fatal foresight all obstacles from their path. He discourages coolness in danger and difficulty, resourcefulness, and self-reliance by relieving his pupils as far as possible of the necessity of thinking things out for themselves, of extricating themselves from their own difficulties, of relying on their own wits and resources. And he discourages self-control by imposing on all his pupils the sham discipline of forced obedience and quasi-military drill. From first to last he is trying, without intending to do so, to "form the character" of each of his pupils "outside the will of its possessor", an attempt which, so far as it succeeds, is necessarily fatal to character as such. Also, by gradually destroying the interest which healthy children take in energising vigorously, in doing things well, in work for its own sake, he tends to transfer the centre of the child's interest from his environment to his petty self, and so fosters in him a love of frivolous pleasure and false excitement, the craving for and pursuit of which, during the years of adolescence and early manhood, will further weaken the character which his school life has already undermined.


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The prevailing type of elementary education has, no doubt, some compensating advantages. The young people whom it turns out are on the whole milder, gentler, tamer, more orderly, less rough, and less brutal than the typical product of the pre-education days. But the outgrowth of these more amiable qualities in the product of modern education is partly due to his very lack of vigour and vitality, and to his consequent loss of that spirit of enterprise and adventure which carried his rude and ignorant forefathers so far afield.

I shall perhaps be reminded that the great pioneers, the adventurous spirits who extended the boundaries both of the British Empire and of the realms of industry, commerce, and science, belonged to a higher stratum of the population than that which we have just been considering. But did they? No doubt many of them did. But some of them, including not a few of the very greatest, were of the humblest origin. One of the characteristics of England in its pre-education days was that its great pioneers, like Napoleon's marshals, not infrequently rose from the ranks. Captain Cook was the son of a farm-servant. James Hargreaves was a carpenter. Richard Arkwright was "born of parents in humble circumstances", and was the youngest of thirteen children. George Stephenson was the son of a fireman of a colliery engine, and did not learn to read till he was seventeen years old. Michael Faraday was the son of a blacksmith. Henry Bell was a millwright's apprentice and a carpenter. Brindley was of humble origin, and received little or no education . Would these famous men have been the pathfinders to whom we owe so much, had their energies been repressed and their


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individualities stifled by seven or eight years of compulsory education? I doubt it. The latent ability and force of character which enabled them to rise superior to the damning disadvantages of obscurity, poverty, and ignorance, might well have been suffocated, before they had had time to assert themselves, by the repressive mill which they would have had to pass through. In any case the forcible subjection of the children of the masses to a deadening, devitalising type of education cannot fail to re-act disastrously on the vitality and originality of the nation as a whole. For the educational system of a country is, or ought to be, a pyramidal structure, of which elementary education is the base and university education the apex; and if the base is ill-laid or otherwise unsound, the whole structure will assuredly be unsymmetrical and insecure.

Will it be pretended that the system of education which is being built up in this country is symmetrical and secure? Are those middle and upper "courses" which have been superimposed on the base well-laid and of durable material? During the past fifty years there has been a great extension and a great development of secondary education. What has this done for the national character? Can it be that in the secondary school, as in the elementary, forces have been at work which have tended to discourage initiative and enterprise? Let us consider the changes which have taken place in the higher strata of secondary education, in the schools which prepare for the Universities and the learned professions. (1)

(1) For observations on the education given in the "Preparatory Schools", i.e. the schools which prepare for the "Public schools", see Chapter VII.


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Fifty years ago I entered one of the great Public Schools. We divided our time between Classics and Mathematics in the ratio of two to one. These were the only subjects that we took seriously. French and Drawing were supposed to be taught, but lessons in them were rare and futile. English, Modern History, Geography, Science, Music, and Handwork were entirely neglected. Of teaching, in the true sense of the word, we received but little. Certain tasks were set us; and we had to get these up by ourselves, and satisfy our master that we had got them up. The text-books that we used were dry, dreary, unilluminating, and uninspiring. Twice a year we were examined in the work of the past half-year - in Classics by our own masters (except in the highest form of all), in Mathematics by an outside examiner. No attempt was made to cram us for our examinations. We had to prepare ourselves for them as best we could. This was a wholesome discipline, to which I have always looked back with some measure of gratitude. What we suffered from, apart from the extreme narrowness of our curriculum, and the dryness and formality of our study, was want of guidance. Our masters gave us but little guidance, partly because the idea of doing anything but setting and hearing lessons had not suggested itself to them, partly because the school was seriously understaffed. Our text-books which might have "saved the situation", did little to help us. They were, I think, intended to be hand-books for the use of the teacher rather than guide-books for the use of the scholar. I have always looked upon myself as a mathematician manqué. My masters left me largely to my own devices; and in spite of their neglect I did bril-


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liantly in the half-yearly mathematical examinations for at least three years; but when I passed beyond the limits of algebra, euclid, trigonometry, and conic sections (as these subjects were then taught in schools), I found the mathematical hand-books so intolerably dull and dry, and so entirely destitute of sympathy with and insight into the mind of the beginner, that at last I turned away from them and from mathematics in disgust.

During the fifty years which have passed since I first went to school, great changes have taken place. For one thing, the curriculum of our secondary schools has been appreciably widened. English Literature, Modern History, and Physical Science have been added to it, and increased attention has been given to modern languages. But it cannot be said that harmonious development has yet been provided for. When I was in the service of the Board of Education, it was my duty, as Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools, to interview candidates for the post of Junior Inspector. Most of the men who came to me had done brilliantly at Oxford or Cambridge. Having regard to the work which they would have to do if they entered the service of the Board, I had to ask them if they knew anything about (1) Music, (2) Drawing, (3) Handwork, (4) Elementary Science. The answers to my questions were almost invariably in the negative. I must have interviewed from 100 to 150 candidates. One of these happened to be a competent artist, and two others were able to draw. About a dozen were musical. The number who could use their hands or who knew anything about "nature" was pitifully small. On the whole, I think I may say that out of


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500 possible Ayes (125 x 4), the actual number was about 20. The remaining answers were unqualified Noes.

Not only is the curriculum still much too narrow, but the expansion in it which has taken place since the days of "Classics and Mathematics" is more nominal than real. On the "Classical Sides" of the Great Public Schools, where the clever boys are wont to congregate, Latin and Greek are still regarded as the subjects that really count, English Modern Languages, Modern History, Geography, Science, and Mathematics being usually treated as παοεοα. From the age of eight to twenty-three, the boys whose parents can afford to give them a "Public School and University" education - unless they are driven to the "Modern Side" by the need of preparing for the Army or for the medical or engineering professions, or by abnormal stupidity at Latin and Greek - go through the Classical mill, with the result that when they leave their respective Universities and go out into the world, four-fifths of them know next to nothing of either Latin or Greek and do not pretend to have any other intellectual interest.

But what has tended more than anything else to make the apparent expansion of the Public School curriculum a sham, is the early age at which specialisation is permitted. In this respect there has been a marked retrogression during the past half-century. When I was at school, the boys who were strong at Classics did Mathematics, and the boys who were strong at Mathematics did Classics, up to the day of their leaving school. The only exception to this rule was that the classical boys who were


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going to Oxford or Cambridge were allowed to drop Mathematics during the last three months of their school life. But today specialisation is begun much earlier. Indeed I am told that it is resorted to in the Preparatory Schools in the case of boys who are going to compete for entrance scholarships at Winchester, Eton, and the other Public Schools. And the more brilliant the boy, the more certain he is to become the victim of premature specialisation, and therefore of an utterly one-sided education. For in these days the preparation of boys for scholarship examinations is as much an art and an applied science as the preparation of racehorses for the Derby, or of American athletes for the Olympic Games; and the early specialisation which it involves is vitiating education in all its grades and branches.

Nor is early specialisation the only or the worst evil which the examination system tends to produce. A still worse evil is the state of entire dependence on his teacher to which it reduces the promising boy. I have said that, when I was at school, I suffered from lack of guidance, my teachers being either indolent or overworked (or both), while the text-books that I was expected to get up were formal and unsympathetic, and took too much for granted. All this has been changed. Today guidance is freely given to schoolboys; but more often than not it is guidance in the wrong direction, guidance towards the production of those outward results which examiners appraise and by which "success", whether on the part of teacher or pupil, is duly measured. The true guidance is that which leads into the path of self-guidance; but where the shadow of an impending examination falls, guidance


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of that sort cannot well be given. The experiment of giving it might perhaps be tried; but the attendant risk would be great, and ninety-nine teachers out of a hundred prefer to give the guidance which an Alpine guide gives to a novice at climbing, or which a trainer gives to the athlete who places himself unreservedly in his hands. The teacher who is preparing a boy for an important examination takes possession of him, and orders all his goings. Not content with telling him in the fullest detail what he is to read and how he is to read it, not content with making him work a series of examination papers in which the impending ordeal is prophetically rehearsed, he must needs provide him with digests of the more important sections of the books which he is studying, give him ready-made answers (in skeleton form) to probable questions, and put him up to all the tricks and dodges which are likely to be of service to him in the examination-room.

This, it will be said, is a type of cramming for which few teachers can find time. Perhaps it is. But it is a type of cramming with which many examinees are familiar, and to which cramming as such is ever tending to conform. And the lamentable thing is that, wherever the shadow of the examination system falls, there is a constant tendency for cramming to take the place of teaching, and for guidance, which ought to liberate, to fetter and at last to enslave. Dr. Geraldine Hodgson complains with justice that "labour-saving devices, whether of text-book apparatus, or examination dodges, are gradually supplanting thoroughness and effort"; and she tells us, on the authority of M. Fischer de Chevriers that "when the Roman Empire was tottering,


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abbreviations of every kind - abbreviations of history, abbreviations of philosophy, of grammar, of rhetoric, of literature", came into fashion, and brought about the downfall of education. Dr. Geraldine Hodgson hits out so wildly that it is not always easy to tell who is meant to receive her blows. This particular blow is, I imagine, aimed at the advocates of "the principle of freedom in education", or, as she and I have agreed to call it, the "Primrose Path". If so, it is as little deserved as were the blows which the Irishman at Donnybrook Fair, whose motto was, "wherever you see a head hit it", must have landed on the heads of his friends. For on this particular point the advocates of the "Primrose Path" are Dr. Geraldine Hodgson's best friends. They ask for freedom to be given to the child in order that he may be free to grapple with his difficulties and solve his problems by himself; and they detest the wiles of the crammer and the abbreviator quite as heartily as she does. Nay, they detest them more heartily; for they see more clearly than she does whence they come and whither they tend. For her the crammer, with his nefarious practices, is one of many "distressing signs of the times", just as the advocacy of freedom for children is another. But the advocates of freedom for children see that the crammer is the necessary product of a dogmatic system of education, with its deep-rooted distrust of human nature and its deliberate pursuit of outward and visible results. And they see that the final end of cramming is the starvation, through the atrophying of his natural faculties, of the child' s inward and spiritual life. Hence their demand for freedom - which distresses Dr. Geraldine Hodgson - for they see that in no


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other way can the child be delivered from thraldom to a teacher (falsely so called) who makes it his business to do for him what he ought to do for himself, and what cannot be done properly except by himself.

The pity of it is that the cleverer the boy - (unless, indeed, he is endowed with that supreme ability which insists on being a law and a lamp unto itself) - the more likely he is to become enslaved to the crammer, and to cease to rely on his own wits and resources. An Oxford tutor once complained to me that his pupils who were reading for honours, including those who had won open scholarships and come up with good reputations from their respective schools, were, as a rule, content to place themselves unquestioningly and unreservedly in his hands. For not only - so he assured me - did they expect him to dictate to them their courses of reading in all their detail, but they even seemed to resent his occasional suggestion that they should make some attempt to exercise their own judgment and initiative. One cannot wonder that, when it come to the choice of a profession, these clever young men, who insist on being driven in blinkers, and seem to think that in winning scholarships they have also won the right to be helpless and dependent, should deliberately play for safety, and concentrate all their energies on passing an examination which will save them from the dire necessity of carving out careers for themselves.

There is another reason why the spirit of adventure is on the decline in this country even in those social strata in which it might be expected to flourish. The government of our Public Schools, though much less harsh than it used to be, is as


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autocratic as it ever was. Had the development of the examination system, with the encouragement that it gives to the crammer and the "abbreviator", been offset by the extension - within reasonable limits - of social and quasi-political freedom and responsibility to the boys of our Public Schools, the decline of the spirit of adventure in the land might perhaps have been arrested. But freedom to order their own lives is the last thing that the Head Master of a Public School thinks of giving to his pupils. And that being so, the mildness of his rule as compared with the harshness which prevailed half a century ago and the cruelty which was rampant in remoter ages, though a change for the better from many points of view, has one serious drawback which we cannot afford to ignore. It tempts the pupils to acquiesce in what is on balance a deadening and devitalising régime. In the days when floggings were frequent, and severity was apt to degenerate into brutal cruelty, many of the boys were in a state of semi-rebellion against the régime under which they lived; and this attitude on their part had at least the merit of keeping alive the spirit of freedom, to which the spirit of adventure is near of kin. But the boys of today are content to bow their heads to a yoke which is not the less oppressive because it is no longer enforced by the birch-rod or the cane.

In these days, when the tide of democracy is steadily rising, and when the more statesmanlike minds are trying to regulate rather than to stem its advance, one would have thought that the experiment of allowing the scholars some measure of self-government might be tried with advantage in some at least of our Public Schools. But no: the govern-


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ment of those schools is, as I have said, unswervingly autocratic. The delegacy of authority to some of the older boys, who are known as præfects, or monitors, is no more a concession to the spirit of freedom than is the delegacy of authority by the Czar of Russia to the governors of provinces, or by the Emperor (or "President") of China to mandarins of high rank. (1) The right to have a voice in the administration of the community to which they belong, a right which has been given with the happiest results to youthful delinquents - mostly of slum origin and otherwise unfortunate antecedents - in "Junior Republics" and "Little Commonwealths", is entirely denied to the well-born, well-brought-up, and well-disposed boys who attend those great and famous schools which we have always regarded as characteristically English, and which are supposed to be unrivalled and even unparalleled in other countries. By comparison with the Public Schoolboys of England, the "infants" in a Montessori class are free and responsible agents, for they are allowed to do something towards shaping their own destinies and ruling their own lives.

Even in the playing-fields, though a certain measure of self-government is allowed, the boys are far from being their own masters. In their games, as in their studies, they have little freedom of choice. The Head Master of a large Public School recently issued an edict - a Ukase I might almost call it - abolishing lawn-tennis (which had hitherto been an "optional" game for the older boys) and

(1) Has the idea of allowing the boys to elect their own præfects ever suggested itself to any of the Head Masters of our Public Schools?


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making cricket, and attendance at cricket matches, compulsory. Why did he take this step? What end had he in view? What were his objections to lawn-tennis? For recreating the mind and developing the body, lawn-tennis has few rivals among games. Indeed it may be doubted if there is any other game which takes the player more completely out of himself, or which exercises, without overstrain, a greater variety of muscles. In both these respects it is superior to cricket, which has, of course, merits of its own on which I need not dwell. Also, lawn-tennis has the great advantage of compressing a large amount of vigorous exercise into a short space of time; whereas in cricket a player may well spend nine-tenths of the allotted time either in standing in the field with his hands on his knees, waiting for balls which will not come his way, or in sitting still in the pavilion, waiting for his turn to bat. (1) For these reasons one would have thought that the older boys, at any rate, might be allowed to choose between cricket and lawn-tennis in the summer term, and might be spared the humiliation of being compelled to look on at a game in which they took but little interest. And I can only suppose that the Head Master who issued the Ukase on which I have commented is one of those who think it good for boys to have to do what they dislike doing, even if that should happen to be otherwise bad for them.

Do the Head Masters of our Public Schools ever

(1) A schoolmaster who has won the confidence of his pupils by allowing them a reasonable amount of freedom, tells me that many of them have confessed to him that they dislike cricket on account of the waste of time and the forced inaction which it so often involves.


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remind themselves of the ages of their pupils? At the age of fifteen, Edward the Fourth, then Earl of March, led a body of troops to join the forces of his father, the Duke of York; and at the age of nineteen he commanded the victorious Yorkist army at the decisive battle of Towton. Now the bulk of the boys in our Public Schools are between fifteen and nineteen years of age. But, far from thinking them worthy to command armies, we do not even trust them to command themselves. For we insist on ordering their goings for them up to the last day of their school life. No wonder that, when they leave school and go up to Oxford or Cambridge, where freedom is given to them in fairly liberal measure, many of them are unable to use to advantage a boon which had been too long denied them. No wonder that the more industrious among them prefer to remain in leading strings, so far as their studies are concerned, and are even disposed to regard dogmatic direction as a sacred right of which they must not be deprived. And no wonder that some of the less industrious, carried away by a not unnatural re-action, become the pleasure-seeking idlers whose presence at our "ancient seats of learning" is a standing reproach to the higher education of this country.

As for the boys who go neither to Oxford nor to Cambridge, but, having passed straight from school into the Army, the hospitals, professional offices of various kinds, and houses of business, become their own masters at a comparatively early age - we know from experience that for them the sudden change from bondage to freedom will probably mean temporary demoralisation, and may even mean


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irretrievable disaster. And when these young men have played the fool or (in extreme cases) gone to the devil, their spirit of enterprise will, I fear, have exhausted itself. We must not look to them for many high adventures. The average Public Schoolboy is, by general consent, one of the most conventional, and therefore one of the most unoriginal and unadventurous, of human beings; and the reason for this is that the education which depresses vitality and paralyses initiative predisposes its victims to yield without a struggle to the pressure of the public opinion (moulded in part by the dead hand of tradition and custom) of the petty world in which they live. (1) Now the conventionalist is one who habitually plays for safety in the sphere of social life. And he who plays for safety, and nothing but safety, in one of the most important of all fields of action, can scarcely be expected to play a bold game in any other field. (2, 3)

(1) The desire to play for safety, the terror of having to use one's own initiative, is not the only reason why our Public Schoolboys are such ridiculous conventionalists. Another, and perhaps a more fundamental, reason is that, owing to all legitimate outlets being denied them, the self-governing instincts of the boys have to content themselves with makeshift channels, of which this is one.

(2) I have been looking at our Public Schools from a particular point of view, and I do not pretend to have gone fully into their merits and demerits. Whatever may be said against them, one thing must be said in their favour. Many of them have kept unbroken the tradition of honour which they inherited from the Rugby of Dr. Arnold, who initiated the policy of trusting boys and putting them on their honour when they were not under the eye of the teacher. This was a move in the direction of giving freedom to the young, which has not been followed up. Yet the striking success of the experiment, the splendid response which was made (and is still made) to that one concession of freedom, might well have encouraged the teaching profession to adopt and develop Dr. Arnold's [footnotes continue on next page]


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What, then, is to be our answer to Dr. Geraldine Hodgson's jeremiad? I have given my reasons for thinking that she has (so to speak) put the boot on the wrong leg - in other words, that Englishmen are not less industrious than they used to be, but that they are less enterprising. And I have attributed this "distressing sign of the times", not to the advocacy of the "Primrose Path" in education, but to certain tendencies of the prevailing system of education against which the advocates of the "Primrose Path" have declared open war - to the tendency to distrust the nature of the child, to deprive him of freedom, to stifle his curiosity, to leave nothing to his initiative, to relieve him of responsibility, to solve his problems for him, to lift him over his obstacles, to do for him most of the things which he ought to do for himself, and to continue this devitalising treatment through the years of boyhood (or girlhood) and adolescence, as well as of childhood proper.

But if Dr. Geraldine Hodgson is right in her gloomy diagnosis, if, in addition to having lost the spirit of enterprise, we have begun to lose the spirit of honest work, if the nation as a whole is beginning to succumb to a kind of moral creeping paralysis, I think I can tell her where to look for

[footnotes continue from previous page] revolutionary policy, instead of merely reproducing one of the features of his system.

3 As a nursery of adventurous spirits, the Grammar School is, I fear, as ineffective as the Elementary School and the Public School. The Head Master of a provincial Grammar School, who has held his present post for twenty-five years, tell us, in the columns of the Daily Mail, that "the boys of today show a lack of initiative; they do not 'find' for themselves as they did twenty years ago. They rely on others to make arrangements for them in their games and in their subjects for debate. There seems to be an attitude of 'Do as you are told, from head downwards'."


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the true cause of this insidious malady. For had education set itself as its central task the production of a generation of slackers, shirkers, and dawdlers, I know not how it could have better served its purpose than by doing the things which the advocates of the "Primrose Path" reproach our national system of education for doing - by systematically repressing the child's natural activities, by teaching him from his earliest days to identify work with meaningless drudgery, by doing its best to destroy his instinctive interest in what his hand finds to do. But whereas a spirit of enterprise is a more or less volatile essence in the character of a nation, habits of industry and thoroughness, once they have established themselves, become deeply rooted in it and do not easily change. And I still think, with all due deference to Dr. Geraldine Hodgson, that our national system of education has not yet had time to produce the deadly results of which she sees, or imagine she sees, so many distressing signs.

As a warning, however, her jeremiad deserves our attention. For nothing can be more certain than that, unless a radical change is made in our whole attitude towards education, the habits of industry and thoroughness which have so long resisted the corruptive influence of the existing system, and which have again and again made good the loss which the decay of our spirit of enterprise has entailed, will sooner or later begin to weaken, and the percentage of slackers, shirkers, and dawdlers in this country will begin to rise above the margin of safety. When that day comes, the decadence of England, which has so often been prophesied, will have actually begun.


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CHAPTER VII

WAYS AND MEANS

SOME of my reviewers and many of my friends find fault with me and my book for not being sufficiently constructive. The Daily Mail, for example, blames me for "not being practical". The Christian Commonwealth wishes that "the necessary steps towards educational reform were more explicitly stated". And the Irish Independent, repeating a question which has often been addressed to me, asks what I am "going to put in place of the examination system".

Is this criticism fair? My book does not pretend to be a manual of pædagogy. Such a manual I could not write if I would, and I would not write if I could. My book embodies an attempt to diagnose a grave malady, and to indicate the general direction in which a remedy is to be found or, at any rate, sought. That there is something seriously amiss with education in all its grades seems to be admitted by nearly all persons who are in a position to appraise its results. To trace these admitted defects back to their fundamental causes, in other words to get a true diagnosis of the malady through a correct interpretation of its symptoms, should be the first aim of the would-be reformer. This was the end which I set before myself; and in my pursuit of it I found myself compelled to explore


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the foundations of popular religion, popular philosophy, and social life. The conclusion which I reached was that the ultimate source of the defects and aberrations of Western education was to be sought in the externalism of Western civilisation - its undue regard for what is outward, visible, and measurable - a tendency which, as it seemed to me, was at once the product, the expression, and the cause of a radical misconception of the meaning and value of life. And to this conclusion there was an obvious corollary - that what was needed for the reform of education was nothing less than "a new creature"; that if I were asked point-blank what remedy I would propose for the evils which I had described and tried to account for, I could but answer in the last resort (in the words of my sympathetic reviewer in the Morning Post) "Conversion: ye must be born again after the spirit".

The critics who blame me for not being practical would wish me, I suppose, to suggest palliatives for the various symptoms of the failure of education which meet one at every turn. This I am not prepared to do. It has long been a reproach to the medical profession that, in its desire to alleviate painful symptoms, it has neglected its higher function of searching for and, if possible, eradicating the sources of disease. And the great progress which the healing art has made in recent years has been in the direction of relieving, or even removing, symptoms through a scientific treatment of their remoter causes.

I am not, however, quite so unpractical as some of my critics affect to believe. In my account of Egeria and her school I not only indicated the


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general direction in which reform was to be aimed at, but also described in some detail a revolutionary movement in education which had been crowned, as it seemed to me, with brilliant success. And towards the end of the Tragedy of Education I set forth some of the things which the teacher who wished to lead his pupils into the path of self-discipline and self-education would have to do - avoiding detail as much as possible, but offering suggestions which, if too vague to satisfy the teacher who was on the look-out for "tips", might perhaps open up vistas to the teacher who wished his imagination to be stimulated rather than his path to be mapped out.

I have, of course, ideas of my own as to how certain things ought to be done. But I have not followed those ideas far into their practical consequences; and even if I could interpret them to the "practical man", whose outlook on life and education probably differs widely from mine, I am afraid they would not be of much service to him. As, however, I have been directly challenged to find a substitute for the examination system, the entire abolition of which I am supposed to advocate, and as I do undoubtedly regard the examination system as the evil genius of modern education, I ought perhaps to make an attempt to grapple with this difficult problem.

Let me, then, explain, to begin with, that I do not condemn examinations as such. What I condemn is the preparation of children for external examinations - examinations which are held by men who know nothing about the inner life of the school


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or class which they examine, and less than nothing about the individualities of the various scholars, who have one rigid standard for all their examinees, and on whose verdict depends the success or failure (partial, if not total) of each school or class as a whole, and also of each individual member of it, so that both teachers and pupils are constantly tempted to look to success in the examination-room as to the final end of educational effort.

This is the type of examination which I regard as pernicious and anti-educational; and it is a type with which, unhappily, we are all familiar, so much so, indeed, that we are apt to think of it as the only type. But this is a mistake. There is another and a better type. One of my reviewers, commenting on my antipathy to the examination system, reminds me of the familiar saying "the life which is unexamined is not worth living". The introduction of this saying into a review of my book was scarcely to the point. But I am grateful to my reviewer for having reminded me of it. For the examination which Socrates had in his mind was obviously self-examination; and self-examination, whether we mean by that word Man's attempt to understand himself, or the individual's periodical stocktaking of his own powers, resources, and tendencies, is a salutary and even a necessary process. It is true that in the spheres of moral and spiritual life, self-examination, if overdone or injudiciously done, may degenerate into morbid introspection and casuistical self-criticism; but in the sphere of mental life it is the one kind of examination to which no exception can be taken; and all the examinations held by


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teachers or examiners are helpful or harmful in exact proportion as they approximate to or decline from its central axis.

When I was an undergraduate at Oxford, I attended a course of lectures on philosophy given by a famous Scotch professor. Towards the end of the course the lecturer announced that he would hold an examination on the subject matter of his lectures, which anyone who pleased might attend. I, for one, responded to his invitation with alacrity. The lectures had been an inspiration to me. The examination was in all respects worthy of them. And I have always felt that I owed much to it and to them. This was an examination of the right type - self-examination on the part of the lecturer, who wanted to find out how far he had succeeded in interesting his students, in illuminating their minds, and in getting them to think for themselves - and self-examination on the part of the students, who (if I may venture to speak for them) were glad that their interest in and understanding of the lectures should be thoroughly tested.

This is one kind of self-examination. Here is another. Mr. Spenser Wilkinson, Professor of Military History at Oxford, served at one time in the Volunteers, and took his duties as an officer so seriously, that he persuaded five or six of his brother-officers to join him in forming a society for the study of military tactics. Having carefully studied a certain standard book on the subject, the officers wished to test their knowledge of it; and as they could not find anyone to examine them, they determined to examine themselves. Accordingly each of them set two questions; and in this


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way a full and searching paper was prepared. Each of them answered all the questions except the two which he had set. For these he acted as examiner. I cannot imagine a better way of testing one's knowledge of a book than that of setting questions from it and revising answers to them; and it seems strange that this co-operative examining, as one may perhaps call it, should never (as far as I know) have been tried elsewhere.

Here we have the examination system at its best. Let us now study it at its worst. In order to do this we must cross St. George's Channel. The Commissioners for Intermediate Education in Ireland hold (1) periodical examinations of candidates from the various secondary schools in the country, on the results of which considerable sums of money, in the form of exhibitions and prizes, are paid to the successful schools. How the system works and how these examinations are prepared for, at any rate in the Roman Catholic Diocesan Seminaries, is set forth in an interesting and illuminating book called Father Ralph, which is obviously in large measure autobiographical: "At the first class after the Easter recess Father Doyle made a vigorous speech on the necessity of hard work until the examinations were over. Instead of a red-backed novel he had in his hand a sheaf of dummy examination papers with the answers attached. In some subterranean way he had found out the names of the examiners in the several subjects at the forthcoming examinations in June. He had then looked up all the examination papers previously set by those examiners, and picked out what seemed

(1) Or used to hold. I may possibly be wronging the Commissioners when I use the present tense.


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to be their favourite Questions. The students were ordered under pain of severe punishment to learn all these questions and their answers by heart.

'Have you been reading over the papers Nibs (Father Doyle) gave out this morning?' said Magan to Ralph at recreation.

'Yes.'

'I Do you think they are good answers now?'

'As far as I can judge, they are.'

'It beats me to know how he done them then', said Magan in a puzzled tone.

'He do them!' said Lanigan contemptuously; 'he'd ate them first. For sure it's that clever cousin of his at University College that did them for him. I'd bet sixpence to a penny on it.'

Magan gave a sigh of relief. 'Troth, I'll learn every word of 'em then,' he said. 'I was doubtful whether they'd be worth while as long as I thought they might be his own doing.'

Good or bad, Magan would probably have had to learn the sets of answers, as Father Doyle mercilessly punished those who failed to be word-perfect."

That such an examination system must tend to strangle the mental life and debase the moral life of the schools and seminaries that come under it and take it seriously, is a point on which I need scarcely insist. The examination for which Father Doyle prepared his pupils was obviously a fraud and a farce; and the preparation for it was nothing better than an organised swindle. As a test of mental capacity, the examination was, of course, worse than useless. Magan, who combined an excellent memory with the "brains of a tom-tit",


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came out head prizeman of his year, had an equally brilliant career at Maynooth (where a similar examination system seems to prevail), and after some years returned to his old seminary as Principal, in succession to Father Doyle, whose smoky torch he took over, and whose nefarious work he carried on.

Here, I say, we have the examination system at its worst. If the bulk of the examinations held in this country came midway between the two extremes which I have described, things would be in a bad way; but they would be better than they are. For I am not exaggerating when I say that most of our examinations, including all those which carry weight and confer distinction, have little or nothing in common with the self-examination type, and much, though fortunately not everything, in common with the Irish type, success in which seems to depend on a retentive memory in the pupil and the free use of the cane by the teacher.

This is the state of things for which I am invited to suggest a remedy. Where and how am I to begin? On one point I am tolerably clear. Reform must come from below, not from above. It is true that under the examination system the senior institution - University, College, Public School, or whatever it may be - is always tending to overshadow and blight the life of the junior; and from this it might be inferred that reform ought to come from above. But the younger the pupil, the more he suffers from the pressure of an external examination; and it is therefore desirable that the junior school should at all costs be released from that


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pressure, even at the cost of its rebelling against the ascendancy of the senior. If this could be done, if the junior school could be set free to educate instead of being compelled to cram, a new type of scholar would be sent up to the senior school, and the influence of a new spirit in education might begin to spread upwards, counteracting the evil influence which, under the existing system, sinks down from level to level, and gradually transforming the ideals of the upper levels up to the very summit, wherever or whatever that might be.

Let us first consider what is commonly regarded as the highest grade of education, that which begins in the Preparatory School and ends in the degree examination at Oxford and Cambridge. We must leave the Home and Indian Civil Service examination intact. It is supposed to be a democratic institution. In point of fact it is quite the reverse. But for the moment the only alternative to it is a reversion to patronage; and to those who speak in the name of the democracy the word patronage is as a red rag to an angry bull. We must also leave the University and Professional examinations intact. If these are to be abolished or remodelled, the transforming influence must come from below. And we must let the Public Schools go their wonted way until the Preparatory Schools have taught them what education for its own sake really means.

It is the Preparatory School that suffers most under the existing régime; and it is in the Preparatory School that reform should be begun. How much the Preparatory School suffers, how deadly is the shadow which falls on it from the Public School,


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the following examination papers will, I think, make abundantly clear:

HISTORY, 1789-1913

1. Where are, and what historical events are connected with, the following: Torres Vedras, Bute, Austerlitz, Tilsit, Acre, Assaye, Walcheren, Navarino, Scutari, Jellalabad, Sedan, Khartoum, Meerut, Amiens.

2. How are the following names connected with the period: Wilberforce, Byron, O'Connell, Robespierre, Thistlewood, Garibaldi, Todleben, Nana Sahib, Parnell, Macaulay, Akbar Khan, Cobden, Bismarck, Burke, Soult, Lord J. Russell, Abraham Lincoln.

3. Between whom and with what results were the following battles fought: Borodino, Leipsic, Vittoria, Marengo, Camperdown, Valmy, Jena, Solferino, Alma, Tel-el-Kebir, Albuera, Modder River.

4. For what are the following dates remarkable: 1800, 1837, 1832, 1798, 1815, 1848.

5. Explain: Berlin Decree, Catholic Emancipation, Guerillas, Mamelukes, Reign of Terror, Boycotting, Caste, The Eastern Question, Chartist, Free Trade, The Mahdi, Home Rule, Primrose League, Tariff Reform, Suffragette.

6. Give a list of the Prime Ministers of England between 1800 and 1913.

7. What towns were besieged during the period; Name, in each case, the attacking and defending parties.


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8. What names are connected with the following: Balaclava, Great Exhibition, Income Tax, Penny Post, Improvement of Roads, Ministry of all the Talents, Italian Independence, St. Helena, Insurance Bill.

SCRIPTURE

A.1. Explain and give the context of :

(a) Let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water to the congregation.
(b) Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
(c) Turn in, my lord, turn in: fear not!
(d) He taught the men of Succoth.
(g) Say now, Shibboleth?
(h) If ye had not ploughed with my heifer.
(i) Cursed be the man that buildeth this city.
(j) There is none like that: give it to me.
(k) Surely the bitterness of death is passed.
(l) Is not the arrow beyond thee?
B.2. Give the names of :
The two sons of Naomi - The three sons of Zeruiah - The two daughters of Saul - Eldest son of Jesse - Father of Samuel, Samson, Phinehas, Jesse, Abner, Gideon - The Husband of Jael, Deborah, Abigail, Achsah.
3. What events are connected with:
Bethshemesh - Bethshan - Thebez - Gath - Ai - Nob - Jabesh Gilead - Hebron.

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C.4. Not more than three lines on :

Sisera - The Kenites - Abimelech - Urim and Thummim - The Prophets - Doeg - Nethinim - Dagon - Ichabod - Jasher - Nazarite.
These papers were set to boys of ten and eleven years of age in the third class of a Preparatory School which has a high reputation. A friend of mine who has sons at Preparatory Schools, and who, unlike most parents, takes a keen interest in their education, having read these papers, tells me that they are perhaps of rather more than average woodenness, but that their type is one with which he is quite familiar. It would be a waste of time to enlarge on their defects. What is wrong with them is that they embody a radically false conception of education. There is not a question in either paper which has any educational value whatever. The teaching which they are intended to test is not teaching at all, but cramming of the worst description. The boy who came out bottom of his class in the history paper had an almost enthusiastic love of history before he went to school. In sinking to the bottom, he entered a silent protest against the hideous misconception of the educational value of history, of which he was the unhappy victim; and perhaps he is less to be pitied than the boy who came out top.

What is quite clear about the school in which it is possible for such papers to be set, is that its teachers are giving no thought whatever to the education of their pupils. They are so intent on preparing them for the entrance and scholarship


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examinations which admit to the Public Schools, that they have no time to think about anything else. Instead of educating, or trying to educate, these small boys in the manner which is most suitable to their comparatively tender years, they can do nothing for them but make them rehearse beforehand the parts which they will have to play when they go up to the Public Schools for which most of them are destined. There must be something wrong with the system which keeps education down to the miserably low level indicated by these soulless papers. The aim of the Preparatory Schoolmaster controls his methods; and the obvious absurdity of his methods is a convincing proof of the futility of his aim.

What remedy can I suggest for the disease of which these papers are the symptom? I have but one suggestion to offer - that the teachers of the Preparatory Schools should go on strike against the despotism to which they are at present subjected; that they should say to the Head Masters of the Public Schools: "We will no longer prepare our boys for your entrance or scholarship examinations. We will devote the whole of our time and thought and energy to giving them the kind of education which boys who range in age from eight or nine to fourteen really need. To this one aim we will subordinate every other consideration. The boys whom we send up to you will, we hope, be far better specimens of boyhood than those who now enter your schools. It will be for you to deal with them as you think best. In order to guide you in dealing with them, we will send with each boy a brief history of his career, a sketch of his


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character (so far as we can judge of it), an estimate of his mental capacity, and an indication of his tastes and aptitudes. If this will not suffice for you, we can but ask you to come to our schools and see the boys whom we propose to send to you - see them at work and at play - and (incidentally) see how we educate them."

If the Preparatory Schools could send some such ultimatum to the Public Schools, the latter would have to accept it; and in doing so they would relieve themselves of a grave responsibility. Hitherto, by controlling the aims and methods of the Preparatory Schools, through the medium of their own entrance and scholarship examinations, they have made themselves responsible, in no small measure, for the quality of the Preparatory Schools' output. Henceforth, the Preparatory School would become responsible for the quality of its own output, and would bear, as it ought to bear, the blame of failure. I have often heard Assistant Masters at the Public Schools speak with contempt of the output of the Preparatory Schools, in forgetfulness of the fact that the Preparatory School is in the main what the requirements of the Public School have made it. But if the revolutionary movement which I advocate could come about, criticism of the Preparatory by the Public School would become both reasonable and (one might hope) effective.

There is one practical difficulty with which I have not attempted to grapple. On what principle would the foundation scholarships to Winchester, Eton, and other Public Schools, old and new, be awarded? To this question I can but answer that almost any principle would be better than that


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which has held the field for the past half-century. To give a free, or nearly free, education to the sons of parents who are rich enough to pay the fees of expensive crammers for four or five years, is a grave abuse of ancient charities; and for this reason, and because the existing method of selection puts a high premium on cramming, "forcing", and premature specialising, I do not feel bound to make provision, in my scheme of reform, for its continuance. But if it is to be continued, it were better that certain schools should be set apart as training stables for these "racing fixtures" than that the Preparatory Schools as a whole should remain any longer under its blighting influence. If such an arrangement could be made, it would be interesting to compare the boy of average ability who had been educated with the clever boy who had been crammed; I doubt if the gap between cleverness (of the scholarship-winning type) and apparent mediocrity would be so great as it is nowadays when no attempt is made to discover talent (of the non-scholarship-winning type) and when the interests of the many are too often sacrificed in order that the school may be able to boast of the successes of the few.

Were education for education's sake to take the place in our junior schools (as we ought to call them) of preparation for an external examination, the reform which would thus be initiated might have far-reaching consequences. The new stamp of boy who would come under the hands of the masters of our senior schools might open the eyes of the latter to the advantages of an education which was careless of outward results, and might possibly


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incline them to doubt whether success in a competitive examination was in very truth the final end of education and the supreme test of its work. The day might even come when the Public Schools would combine to free themselves from bondage to the scholarship examinations at Oxford and Cambridge, and to insist on their relations to the Universities being reconsidered, with a view to a new concordat being framed.

So much for the schools which cater for the sons of the "upper classes". Since the Education Act of 1902 came into operation, the land has been covered with Secondary Schools of a lower grade - municipal schools, county schools, resuscitated grammar schools, and so on. These schools are attended by boys and girls whose ages range from twelve or thirteen to sixteen or seventeen years. A considerable proportion of the scholars come from the elementary schools, to which many of them will eventually return as teachers. I do not know much about these schools; but, as far as I can make out, they are as fully dominated by the examination system as are the schools of the higher grade. Preparation for some of these examinations is, I suppose, unavoidable; but many of the schools send up candidates to the "local examinations" held by Oxford and Cambridge and other Universities; and so long as they submit themselves to this oppressive and unnecessary yoke, it is unlikely that they will do really effective work.

In the days of educational chaos which preceded the passing of the Act of 1902, there was something to be said for the Oxford and Cambridge Locals (as they are familiarly called); for by setting the


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private secondary schools, which then abounded, a standard of a sort, they may claim to have done a little towards organising secondary education. No worse way of organising education than that of holding a central examination for all sorts and conditions of schools, could possibly be devised. But as half a loaf, or even a dry crust, is better than no bread, so it may be said that any attempt at organisation, however misdirected or mischievous it may be, is better than none.

This much, then, may be placed to the credit of the Oxford and Cambridge Locals. But, with the passing of the Act of 1902, and the consequent cleansing of one educational Augean stable, their raison d'être came to an end. The lower grade secondary schools are now organised and managed by the various Local Education Authorities, and inspected and reported on by the Board of Education, as well as by local officials; so that the good offices of the Oxford and Cambridge examining bodies are no longer needed; and if candidates are still sent in for their examinations in thousands, the reason is, I suppose, that the lower middle class parent regards an Oxford or Cambridge certificate as a highly desirable label.

In principle these local examinations are almost as bad as those which are held in Ireland by the Board of Intermediate Education, the chief difference in their favour being that grants of money are not paid on their results. In practice they probably fall short of the "bad eminence" of the Irish examinations; for their examiners are, one may conjecture, more liberally endowed with moral courage and common sense. For example, if an Oxford or Cambridge examiner found that a dozen candidates


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from such and such a school had given absolutely identical answers to a certain question in History or Geography, he would, I imagine, regard all those answers as unreal and virtually fraudulent, and would give no marks for them: and one result of this would be that a Magan would come out bottom of the list instead of top.

But however much it may be improved upon in practice, the principle which the Oxford and Cambridge Locals embody is so radically bad, that the managers and teachers of our lower grade secondary schools would be well advised to leave them severely alone. And that for two reasons. The first is that an external examination which concentrates in itself the aims and efforts of thousands of schools, must needs go far towards stifling the mental life of each of them. The second is that, by prescribing certain books, plays, periods, etc., for the examinations which they propose to hold, the Oxford and Cambridge examining bodies interfere unduly with the curricula of all the affiliated schools, and in doing so prevent their Head Teachers from having full control of them. (1)

If, then, I may be allowed to offer advice to a body of teachers with whom I am not personally acquainted, I would say to them: "Boycott the Oxford and Cambridge and all other local examinations; and educate the parents of your pupils so that they may cease to regard an examiner's certificate as the only guarantee of mental progress."

(1) I am told that the syllabus of the lower grade secondary schools is, to a large extent, prescribed by the Board of Education. That being so, I am at a loss to understand why the teachers of those schools should allow their freedom and responsibility to be further restricted by the indirect interference of superfluous examining bodies.


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May I now say a few words to my old friends, the teachers of Elementary Schools? Nearly twenty years have passed since payment by results was abolished and the yearly examination was discontinued. During those years, though local inspectors have tyrannised over the teachers in some areas, and scholarship examinations have overshadowed their work in others, they have on the whole enjoyed a large measure of freedom. What use have they made of it? I find that in many quarters the present output of the elementary school is regarded as inferior to what it was in the days of payment by results. This may or may not be true. If it is, an explanation of it is not far to seek. What was good in the old régime passed away with it; but its evil influence has survived; and as the possibilities of the new régime have not yet been realised, and its spirit has too often been misinterpreted, elementary education, in its present transitional stage, may be said to have the defects of two systems and the virtues of neither. This criticism is overstated and covers too much ground. But there are still thousands of schools of which it holds good in greater or less degree - schools which remain contentedly in the old grooves, regardless of the fact that those grooves have lost whatever meaning they may once have possessed - schools in which (to touch on one typical feature) the children are no longer compelled to exert themselves, while their teachers have not yet discovered how to induce them to do so.

The day is coming, if I do not misread the signs of the times, when the teachers of our elementary schools will have to choose between making a


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bolder use of their freedom and having it ruthlessly abridged. Professor Adams, in his latest book on education, draws a lurid picture of what he believes to be in store for the teacher and the child. "What the future has to do", he says, "is to improve the machine. All the present indications ... point ... to a future in which the profession will be made up of men and women of a high level of average intelligence and virtue, but without any special initiative, officered by a small body of highly specialised men and women of particularly high capacity and attainments, and with a large amount of initiation." I am not quite sure whether this - to me - appalling prospect is for Professor Adams a haunting nightmare - the nightmare Death in Life - or a cherished dream. I am half afraid that it is a cherished dream; for not long since I received a letter from an ardent Herbartian who is a follower and admirer of Professor Adams, in which he told me that the idea of giving freedom to teachers was now quite "stale"; and I gathered from this that he had read Professor Adams' forecast of the future of education, and accepted it as inspired prophecy. If Professor Adams and his fellow-Herbartians imagine that the "intelligence" of men and women who are never allowed to exercise their initiative, will long remain at a "high average level", and if they imagine that "highly specialised men and women" are the right persons to "officer" an army of teachers, they are, I fear, the victims of two singularly dangerous delusions. But this is by the way. What it behoves the teachers of England to note is that the idea of subjecting them to the supervision and control of a clique of "experts" is in


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the air; in other words, that there is a serious danger of their being forcibly" institutionalised" if they do not prove themselves worthy of a better fate.

Now, whatever else may be doubtful, one thing at least is clear. The teacher who is not prepared to pass on freedom to his pupils cannot hope to retain it for himself. Freedom to stifle freedom is a sinister privilege which no teacher has a right to demand. There are many ways in which freedom might be passed on to the pupils in our elementary schools. But there is one which is so simple that it might be tried tomorrow in any and every "efficient" school. Of the lessons that are given in the ordinary school two, at least, must strike the onlooker as wholly meaningless and ineffective - the reading-lesson, in which each child in turn stands up and mumbles a few lines from a school "reader", and the lecture, in which the teacher stands forth and talks history or geography or even nature-study to a class of silent and yawnful children. Instead of compelling children of all ages to devote, say, one-thirtieth of the time allowed for reading to reading aloud, and the remaining twenty-nine-thirtieths to sitting still and doing nothing, the teacher ought to accustom his pupils, even in the lower "standards", to read to themselves, and so train them to do what at present they cannot do - to use a book. And instead of boring the older children to extinction with lectures on such subjects as history and geography, he ought to encourage them, once they have learnt how to use a book, to study these subjects for themselves under his general supervision and guidance. This would be a step in the direction of self-education;


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and the teacher who had the courage to take it would find that he had entered a path which would lead him beyond the shadow of the doom with which Professor Adams has threatened him.

But if the teacher will not enter that path, an examination system of some kind or other, whether conducted by local officials or by Professor Adams' "highly specialised" experts, will, I fear, be reimposed upon him. What makes it difficult for him to walk in the path of freedom, now that he is a teacher, is that he was never allowed to walk in it while he was being trained for his profession. For what are the antecedents of the average elementary teacher? He first spends from six to eight years in an elementary school, which, though exempt from the direct pressure of the examination system, still preserves (in all probability) some of the evil traditions of the days of schedules and percentages. He then goes for three or four years to a municipal secondary school which has its syllabus prescribed for it either by the Board of Education or (indirectly) by the Oxford and Cambridge local examination boards, and in which most of the older pupils are being prepared for examinations of various kinds. He then becomes a student-teacher; and, after having passed the "Scholarship" or an equivalent examination, either returns to an elementary school as an assistant teacher or enters a Training College, where he will spend most of his time in preparing for the Certificate examination of the Board of Education. Now it is tolerably certain that the teacher who has never received a vitalising education will be unable to give a vitalising education to his pupils. And as things are, the budding teacher cannot hope to receive such


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an education in the elementary school, or in the secondary school, or in the Training College. Where, then, and how is he to find emancipation and enlightenment? The elementary school cannot be transformed until he has been "converted", so that at present there is but little hope for him in that quarter. The secondary school, which is too often over-examined and over-inspected, will not be able to help him until a healthy spirit of revolt and self-assertion has taken possession of its teachers. The only hope for him, as far as I can see, is that the Training College should be remodelled. If our student-teacher could go to a college in which freedom and responsibility were freely given to the students, in which rewards, punishments, and the spirit of competition were unknown, in which individuality, initiative, enterprise, resourcefulness, self-reliance, and self-control were sympathetically cultivated, and in which, to speak generally, the students were encouraged to discipline and educate themselves, the chances are that, when his college career was over, his attitude towards education would have undergone a change which would be almost equivalent to "conversion". Then indeed there would be a dawn of hope for the children of this country.

But so long as the Training Colleges are overshadowed by the impending Certificate examination, the transformation in them of which I dream will not be practicable. What, then, is to be done? May I make one last suggestion? At present there are two examinations for admission to the elementary branch of the teaching profession - the Scholarship examination (or its equivalent), which gives partial admission, and the Certificate examination,


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which gives full admission. I would suggest that in future there should be only one examination; that this examination should be open to candidates of the minimum age of eighteen; and that to those who passed it a provisional certificate should be given which would not become effective till after the lapse of three years. Of these three years the successful student would spend two in a Training College and one in an elementary school; and he would have to produce certificates of good conduct, diligent work, and satisfactory progress, both from the principal of the Training College and from the head of the elementary school, before he could be fully certificated by the Board. If he was unable to go to a Training College, he would have to spend the three years as an assistant teacher in elementary schools, attending classes for self-improvement, and, at the end of his period of probation, producing certificates of good conduct, etc., from all the teachers under whom he had worked.

Is this suggestion wholly impracticable? If it is, if the Certificate examination is to continue to overshadow the Training Colleges, there is no hope of the latter undergoing that transformation from within which would enable them to vitalise their students and so change their outlook on life and education. But if my suggestion is not impracticable, if the shadow that chills and darkens the life of the colleges could pass away, if a generous measure of freedom could be given to the college staff and transmitted by them to the students, the reform of elementary education would be begun where it would surely be most effective - in the heart and mind of the teacher. Professor Adams' "small


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body of highly specialised" experts who are to "officer" the army of teachers in the future, will, I suppose, issue codes and syllabuses and "instructions", as the Board of Education used to do in the days of payment by results. But even if these codes and syllabuses and "instructions" were the distilled essence of wisdom, they would do nothing for the reform of education until the teacher himself - the private in the ranks - had been "born again".

I have written this chapter reluctantly, and almost against my better judgment. For my aim in writing about education is to set people thinking; and the proof that a man has been set thinking is that he has begun to think for himself. Those who are thinking for themselves will not want me to think for them, and will, therefore, regard the suggestions which I have formulated as more or less superfluous. Those, on the other hand, who want to have their thinking done for them will regard them as vague and unpractical, and by their demand for more detailed directions will show that they have misread my book. I can only hope that there is a class of readers intermediate between these two, though nearer to the former class, who will accept my suggestions as suggestions, and perhaps be stimulated by them to go on thinking for themselves. These readers will, I am sure, join with me in saying Amen to Herbart's wise and weighty aphorism: "Education is a vast whole of ceaseless labour which exacts true proportion from beginning to end. Merely to avoid a few errors is of no avail."


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CHAPTER VIII

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH

IN the last chapter of What Is and What Might Be I contended that if Socialism was ever to "arrive", the way for it must be prepared by the gradual substitution of the spirit of comradeship for that of competition in our schools and colleges; and I pleaded that, instead of compelling children of all ages to regard one another as rivals, we should give them such a measure of freedom and self-government as would make it possible for their social instincts to evolve themselves, in which case, following the dictates of their better nature, they would soon learn to regard one another as comrades and friends. Speaking of Socialists, I said: "With their social ideal, regarded as an ideal, one has, of course, the deepest sympathy. Their motto is, I believe, 'Each for all, and all for each'; and if this ideal could be realised, the social millennium would have begun. But in trying to compass their ends by legislation, before the standard of reality has been changed, they are making a disastrous mistake. For, to go no further, our schools are hotbeds of individualism, the spirit of competitive selfishness being actively and systematically fostered in all of them, with a few exceptions; and so long as this is so, so long as our highly individualised society is recruited,


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year by year, by a large contingent of individualists of all ranks, drawn from schools of all grades, for so long will the Socialist ideal remain an impracticable dream. An impracticable and a mischievous dream; for in the attempt to realise it, the community will almost inevitably be brought to the verge of civil war. When the seeds of Socialistic legislation, or even of Socialistic agitation, are sown in a soil which is charged with the poison of individualism, the resulting crop will be class hatred and social strife."

For saying this I have exposed myself to adverse criticism from a writer in the Clarion, who is otherwise one of the most sympathetic and appreciative of friends. Having told me that the paragraph which I have quoted is "neither clear thinking nor accurate knowledge", my critic goes on to say: "If our motto be 'All for each and each for all', how can it result in class hatred and social strife to try to convert people to the ideal of the motto? How can the 'dream' be impracticable when every year new statutes are being added to our code embodying ever more and more of the Socialist principle? If a town supply its folk with water and gas better and more cheaply than a profit-making company would do it, why can it not also supply its folk with bread and coal? Herein our author mixes truth with falsehood. He speaks from lack of knowledge of us and of our cause. With the main idea he wants to convey we of the Clarion are in perfect accord: Collectivism will not bring about Socialism. But such Collectivism as we can attain to will help the mass to realise a little further the Socialist ideal. The two


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will act and re-act on each other. Not till we get the ideal changed a little more shall we get the land nationalised; and once the land is truly nationalised, preventable poverty will disappear and a new step forward in 'the standard of reality' be possible."

This criticism is governed by an assumption which I am not prepared to grant. "To try to convert people to the ideal" of "Each for all, and all for each" will not "result in class hatred and social strife", if one goes the right way to work. On this point there cannot be two opinions. But are my critic and his Collectivist friends going the right way to work? On this point there may well be two opinions. My critic assumes that he and his friends are going the right way to work. He assumes that municipal trading will familiarise people with the ideal of "Each for all, and all for each", and that land nationalisation, if it does not actually bring in the social millennium, will be a further step in its direction. I am by no means sure that he is right. Municipal trading might help to prepare the way for true Socialism if party politics could be kept out of it. But in a highly individualised society organised on a competitive basis this, I fear, is impossible. Municipal trading, like every other department of municipal government, is, as a matter of experience, riddled with party politics; and party politics are apt to bring favouritism, jobbery, and corruption in their train. Municipal trading may, indeed, go far towards familiarising people with the ideal of "All for each", but it goes but a little way towards familiarising them with the correlative ideal of "Each for


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all." In a municipality the people are divided into the governing body and the governed. The governed expect the governing body, who stand to them for the "all", to provide them with water, light, drains, scavengers, tramways, and other such commodities and conveniences. And the governing body expect the governed, who stand to them for the "all", to provide them with position and power, and with opportunities for feathering their nests and the nests of their relations and friends. In other words, both parties look to the "all" to provide them with many things; but the idea of giving disinterested service to the "all" is one which neither party has fully assimilated.

The same things would probably happen, but on an infinitely larger scale, if the land, the railways, and the mines were nationalised and administered by the State. The Government of the day would have a prodigious patronage, of which it could scarcely be expected to make a disinterested or impartial use. As things are, the leaders of rival political parties, when they ask for support from the people, appeal without shame or hesitation to the selfishness and cupidity of the electors. But if the Government had complete control of the land, the railways, and the mines, in addition to the Army, the Navy, the various branches of the Civil Service, the Post Office, and the telegraph and telephone services, besides having indirect control of a multitude of associated industries, it would be able to give direct and tangible rewards to its followers on a scale so vast that all other considerations would tend to be lost sight of, and politics would degenerate into a gigantic game of


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grab, in which the motto "The spoils to the victors" - to the rank and file as well as to the leaders - would be unblushingly adopted by both parties.

I cannot see, then, that collectivist trading, whether national or municipal, is a necessary stage in the movement towards true Socialism. Indeed, I am inclined to think that, by making a direct appeal to personal cupidity one of the recognised moves in the political game, the nationalisation of "industry" and commerce would tend to disintegrate society instead of building it up, as Socialism ought to do, into a harmonious whole. And I am also inclined to think that, by concentrating unlimited patronage, and therefore unlimited political power, in the hands of a few unscrupulous bosses, it would make for a new form of political tyranny which would be anti-democratic in the fullest sense of the word and in the highest possible degree. (1)

My Clarion critic seems to think that Collectivism and Socialism are interchangeable terms. But is this so? In recent years Syndicalism, which, as a development of Socialism, may be said to move at right angles to Collectivism, has made great

(1) There is another objection to collectivist trading, which the recent events at Leeds have served to emphasise. The more such trading was extended, the easier would it be for malcontent employees to "hold up" the life of the Community by means of a well-organised strike. Had the citizens of Leeds been dependent on the Corporation for their supplies of bread, coal, milk, and other "necessaries", many of them would have died of starvation while the strike was in progress. That collectivist trading, whether municipal or national, affords no guarantee against strikes, has been proved to demonstration in this and other European countries, and in our Colonies.


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headway, and has fomented economic strife with a success to which the following figures bear eloquent witness. In the five years, 1902-6, about 11,000,000 working days were lost by strikes in the United Kingdom. In the five years, 1907-11, the number was about 33,000,000. In the one year 1912 it was over 40,000,000. And not only are strikes, under the inspiration of Syndicalism, many times as numerous as they were ten years ago: they are also angrier and more violent. If one is in doubt on this point, one need but recall the names of Liverpool, Tony Pandy, Johannesburg, and Dublin. With these facts and figures before me, am I not justified in repeating my warning that to sow the seeds of Socialistic agitation in a soil which is charged with the poison of individualism is a dangerous experiment which may well lead to social and economic disaster?

The plain truth is that we have not the least idea in what form true Socialism - the Socialism which aims, first and foremost, at the health and happiness of society as a whole - will reveal itself to us when its hour comes. The Collectivist and other theories which call themselves Socialistic are plants which have been artificially reared by certain ingenious and enthusiastic minds in the hot-house atmosphere of speculative thought, and which we are ready to "bed out" in society as it now exists, without pausing to ask ourselves whether the soil is likely to be favourable or unfavourable to their growth, or whether they are plants which can grow in any outdoor soil. Yet the soil is the thing that really matters. In the wrong soil the fairest of plants - the most ingenious and plausible of


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Socialistic theories - will either change its character or dwindle and die. In the right soil the bedding-out of elaborate theories will probably prove unnecessary, for Socialistic ideas and sentiments - the seeds of the social systems of the future - will spring up spontaneously and make free and vigorous growth. It is our utter neglect of the soil, of the social seed-bed, which has stultified all our efforts to reform society and improve the condition of the masses. So great, indeed, have been our shortcomings in this matter that the words "utter neglect" do less than justice to them. Strictly speaking, we have not neglected the soil. What we have done is to give much care and thought to the preparation of the worst possible seed-bed for the reception of Socialistic theories; for, by fostering individualism and competitive selfishness among our children, we have deliberately poisoned the soil of social life.

To impose a Socialistic régime on a community against the will of the community is the dream of a fanatic. If disinterested devotion to the common weal is not of the essence of human nature, if the germs of it are not in every human heart waiting to be developed, we may spin Socialistic theories to the day of doom, but we shall never arrive at Socialism. What, then, must we do to be saved? In this, as in other matters, we must follow the one and only path of salvation. We must give human nature a chance. In the days when society was organised on a tribal basis, disinterested devotion to the common weal was as much an integral part of normal human nature as was (and is) the instinct of obedience in a normal


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child, or the instinct of maternal love in a normal woman. Can we go back to those days? No, we have left them behind us for ever. But we can, perhaps, go back to the level that we reached then; and if we can but go back to that level, we shall be able to climb high above it.

Many years ago I read an interesting book of Himalayan travel called The Abode of Snow, in which the author described how, in order to get from the foothills of the Himalayas to the high mountains, he had to descend into, and then climb out of, the upper "alley of the Sutlej, a deep, dark, sultry, stifling valley which he hated so strongly that he called it the "Valley of the Shadow of Death". I sometimes think that we of this enlightened and highly civilised Twentieth Century, with our triumphant advance from discovery to discovery, from achievement to achievement, from record to record, are passing through the deepest recesses of such a valley. I think that the historians of the distant future will tell of the gradual descent of the human race from the heights of clan or tribal Socialism, with its complete suppression of individualistic egoism, into a valley of competition and individualism, and its gradual ascent out of that valley - here I speak the language of hope and prophecy - towards the skyline of a larger and loftier communism. And I think that the name which I have given to the present phase of human development, wildly paradoxical though it may seem, is not wholly inappropriate; for the deeper we descend into the valley of individualistic civilisation - and perhaps in these days of rampant


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individualism, feverish competition, and bitter social strife we are in sight of its lowest depth - the more fully do we pass into the shadow of a great danger - the danger of being absorbed into and centred in self, the danger, in other words, of spiritual death.

We had to descend from the lesser heights. There was nothing else for us to do. Those heights were not the lower slopes of loftier mountains. They had a summit level of their own - a certain finality of spiritual achievement - to advance beyond which was to descend. In the days of tribal organisation the suppression of individualistic egoism, the absorption of the individual into the community, was complete. In that direction there was no room for further progress. Mr. H. M. Hyndman tells us that in the South Sea Islands, whenever a war-canoe was upset, the rowers instantly formed a circle round the chief - the symbol, in their eyes, of the unity of the tribe - and allowed themselves to be picked off by sharks, one by one, keeping intact their ever-narrowing circle, thinking only of the welfare of the community, caring nothing for their own individual lives. Had there been a South Sea Island equivalent of "Sauve qui peut", and had this rung in their ears, they would have been incapable - physically incapable, one might almost say - of responding to its appeal. And they did all this - so Mr. Hyndman tells us - as a matter of course, and thought nothing of themselves for doing it. Could unselfish devotion go further than this?

Perhaps it could; but not along that particular road. There it had reached its limit. And that is why tribalism was (and is) doomed to perish.


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War, commerce, and religion have been among the efficient causes of its downfall. But the real cause has always lain deeper than these. The completeness of the success of the system, the completeness of its triumph over individualism, has been the secret source of its decay. Bees and ants, in their unselfish devotion to the common weal, do heroic deeds as a matter of course, and think nothing of themselves for doing them; and the social system which lifts men to the level of bees and ants, and leaves them there, must sooner or later break up and pass away. For finality of spiritual achievement is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness; and when that sin has been committed, the avenging forces of Nature - the "Hounds of Heaven" - are let loose.

I have elsewhere suggested, when looking at things from the standpoint of self-realisation, that in each of us there are three great groups of potencies waiting to be realised - the potencies of the individual self, the potencies of the communal self, and the potencies of the ideal (or universal) self. And I have also suggested that if growth is to be healthy and harmonious, if human nature, whether in the individual or in the race, is to unfold itself as a whole, all three groups of potencies must be concurrently realised. To realise one group at the expense of the others is fatal to the healthy outgrowth of each of the three groups as well as of the nature as a whole; for hypertrophy is as morbid a condition as atrophy; and when internal harmony is lost, each of the parts is necessarily affected by the consequent derangement of the whole.

One can see at a glance that, when society was


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organised on a tribal basis, the harmonious development of human nature was impossible. In the tribe, as in a beehive or an ant-heap, the community was everything and the individual nothing. The very consciousness of the individual became in a sense collective, like the consciousness of a bee or an ant. He ceased to live for himself, or even as himself. He lived for the community to which he belonged; and he drew the breath of his inner being from its communal life, and from no other source. This annihilation of individualism was the supreme achievement of tribal communism; but the price that it paid for it - the annihilation of individuality - was disastrously heavy, and involved it at last in spiritual bankruptcy. To suppress the individual self is to arrest the development, first of the individual and then of the race. For each of us must develop himself in his own way; and if he is never allowed to go his own way, the work of self-development must needs come to a standstill. The tendency of dogmatic pressure, from whatever source it may emanate, is to arrest growth; and as the tribal community subjected the individual member to a constant pressure which was as relentless as it was strong; and as, by doing everything for him - the counterpart of its demanding everything from him - it reduced him to a state of slavish dependence on itself, we can see that on some at least of the planes of his being the path of his self-development must have been completely blocked. But the tyranny of the tribe did more than suppress the individual self. Its suppression of the ideal self was as ruthless and as complete. The tribal community suppressed


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the ideal self in the act of suppressing the individual self; for each of us must escape from himself into the open air of the ideal by the pathway of his own individuality; and if that pathway is closed against him, he is cut off from all access to the ideal. And it suppressed the ideal self more directly, and more effectually, by claiming the whole of the individual's devotion, and so putting itself forward as his ideal, as the horizon beyond which he was never to look. High levels of moral and even of æsthetic development have been reached under the tribal system, as among the North American Indians (where they have not been contaminated by contact with whites), or in Old Japan; but the levels reached have, as a rule, been finite and measurable, and no one has dreamed of climbing above them. In other words, finality has been of the essence of tribal achievement; and finality and ideality are mutually exclusive conceptions.

In suppressing the ideal self, tribal communism cut the individual off from the fellowship of Humanity, the true communion of souls. For the ιδεα, or ideal type, being the same for all the individual members of a kind or species, is the supreme source of unity in Nature; and the pursuit of the ideal, the attempt to realise it, is the on thing which all individuals, in the various stages of their development, can be said to have in common. It follows, in the case of human beings, that to suppress the ideal self is to deny the individual access to the ideal of human nature; and so to cut him off from all vital intercourse with his kind, beyond the limits of the tribe to


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which he happens to belong. Hence the frailty of tribal culture, which has to be strictly isolated in order to flourish, and which speedily deteriorates when exposed to alien influences. Hence, too, the terrible inhumanity of tribal warfare. The more completely the individual surrendered himself to the claims of the community, the more indifferent he became to the claims and rights of the rest of his fellow-men. The history of Old Japan, as of the Highlands of Scotland, in both of which the organisation of society on a tribal basis lasted down to comparatively modern times, is a history of unceasing tribal warfare, in which the most savage cruelties - such as the wholesale slaughter of women and children, as well as men - were practised almost as a matter of course. Heedless alike of the individual and of Humanity, the clansman thought and acted as if the clan were a living being, and the only living being with which he need concern himself; and so, when clan quarrelled with clan, each individual member of the hostile clan, down to the latest-born baby, was regarded as a hated enemy, to be exterminated without mercy, if the fortune of war should allow of this being done.

And in the growth of this anti-human spirit we see the shadow of a new egoism beginning to darken human life. Individualistic egoism had been suppressed, but communal egoism had begun to take its place. Cut off the individual from access to the ideal, the dream of which is the one sure, never-failing antidote to the poison of self-seeking, and egoism, however thoroughly it may have been suppressed on one plane of the man's


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being, will begin to re-assert itself on another. The man who devotes himself to the service of an ideal does so because he belongs to it; but the man who devotes himself to the service of a community which claims his entire devotion may get to do so because it belongs to him, because he can say of it (in the Buddhist formula): "This is mine; this am I; this is my Ego." In other words, when intercourse with the ideal is wholly suspended, interested devotion to the community may begin to take the place of disinterested devotion, and the conquering clansman may slay the women and children of the conquered clan without compunction, not merely because they are the enemies of his community, but because, as the enemies of his community, they are the enemies of his own well-being, because they threaten to encroach on his means of subsistence, because for various reasons they stand in his way.

When tribalism had begun to re-introduce into human life an egoism which was scarcely less individualistic than that which it was its glory to have eradicated, the time had come for it to go. It was arresting the evolution of the human spirit, by suppressing individuality on the one hand and idealism on the other; and it was arresting the unification of Humanity, by compelling the member of each isolated community to regard their own social organisation as an end in itself. And that being so, the forces which are ever making for the evolution of the human spirit and for the unification of humanity, had no choice but to arise in their wrath and sweep it out of their path. For this purpose they used, as I have already suggested, three chief instruments - war, commerce, and


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religion. To these I ought, perhaps, to add a fourth - culture, including science, letters, and art. In the West we associate the unifying work of war with the name of Rome, the unifying work of culture with the name of Greece, the unifying work of commerce with the name of Phœnicia, and the unifying work of religion with the name of Galilee. How these instruments have been used by the supreme controlling power which we speak of sometimes as Nature, sometimes as Providence, sometimes as Destiny, is a long story which the annalists and interpreters of Western civilisation are still struggling to tell.

A day came, then, a day which has no exact date, when, having climbed to the summit-level of tribal socialism, and found that we could go no further in that direction, we began to descend, under the pressure of a spirit of adventure which still drove us onward, into what I have called the Valley of the Shadow of Death. With the enlargement of the state, partly by conquest, partly by the political skill and tact which secured the ground that conquest had won, with the diffusion of a religion which claimed to be universally valid, of a culture which appealed to the common heart and the common reason of Man, and of a commerce which strove as a matter of business to foster intercourse between people and people, there came a continuous multiplication of communities, by which the communal sentiment was gradually sapped. A multiplication of types, not of units. Where there had been a hundred or a thousand tribal communities, there was now one state. But where there had been


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only one type of community - the tribe itself - there were now many types; and each of these claimed the services of each citizen in turn. In the days of tribal socialism a man belonged to his own family, and to that expansion of the family which he called the tribe. Today he belongs to a family, to a circle of kinsmen, to a town or village, to a county or province, to a nation, to a kingdom, to an empire, to a race, to a school, to a college, to a university, to a profession or other calling, to a trade union, to a political party (national or municipal), to a religion, to a Church or sect, and to an indefinite number of societies - social, political, economic, professional, artistic, scientific, and so forth. Now it is clear that the man who belongs to twenty or thirty different communities cannot feel for any of them the whole-hearted devotion which is felt by the man who belongs only to one. Hence the break-up of the tribal system has at all times been accompanied by the gradual loss of that capacity for absorption into the communal life, which was characteristic of the tribal age, and by the gradual emergence into the light of day of the two polar selves - the individual and the ideal - which the communal self had so long and so completely overshadowed.

Of these two emancipated selves, it was the individual rather than the ideal which hastened to make use of its release from constraint. The ideal self had been overshadowed by the tribal life; but it had not been forcibly held under, for it had scarcely begun to assert itself. But the individual self had been held under as well as overshadowed; and when the iron grasp that subdued it began to


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relax, it began to fight for freedom and to claim its place under the sun. And, apart from the ever-weakening force of the communal sentiment, there was nothing to keep it in check. The outgrowth of the ideal self had been arrested by the fatal finality of tribalism, so that the counterpoise which it might have provided was wanting. Here and there, indeed, an idealist arose, and gave light and guidance to the world. But influences were at work in the world which tended to obscure his light and make foolishness of his wisdom. The latent egoism of the individual self had been entirely suppressed by tribalism, so far as the relation of the individual to the community was concerned. But, apart from this, it had pot been interfered with; and as the tribal system, when corrupted by its own finality, had begun to breed an egoism which was individualistic as well as communal, we cannot wonder that the history of what we call civilisation has been, from one point of view, the history of the outgrowth of individualism, with its attendant evils and miseries, in the social life of mankind. Of individualism, not of individuality. The path of individuality is the path of sincere self-expression, and therefore of genuine growth and at last of emancipation from self. But individualism arises, when the individual, having ceased to live for a community, and not having begun to live for an ideal, claims the right to live for his own isolated self.

The part that religion has played in the development of individualism must not be ignored. The relation between the social and the religious life of the West has been one of continuous reciprocal


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action; and the growth of individualism in religion has, therefore, the threefold significance of a cause, an effect, and a sign. In religion, as in other developments of human life, the break-up of the tribal system was followed by the outgrowth of individualism among the rank and file of men, and of idealism among the chosen few. Enlightenment and inspiration came from the idealists; but the interpretation of what they taught, and the control of the machinery of religion, fell into the hands of those who understood and could speak for the rank and file; and the growing individualism of the latter began to affect religion both in theory and practice. The crowning triumph of individualism was achieved when the idea of individual salvation established itself both as a theological doctrine and as a popular belief. Familiarity with this idea has blinded us to its essential nature; but there is a point of view from which one who can divest himself of encrusted prejudice and consider the idea on its merits, will see in it the most anti-social, and even anti-human, of all the ideas that have ever taken possession of the mind and heart of man. The individual who is content that he, for one, should save his soul alive, even though the bulk of his fellow-men perish everlastingly, and who can promise himself perfect happiness in such an exclusive Heaven, is as self-centred and separatist in his attitude towards Humanity as he is sense-bound and unimaginative in his attitude towards God. The re-active influence of such an eschatology on the social life of the West must have been incalculably great. When we find that an individualistic conception of eternal life can satisfy the hearts


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of men who are supposed to be spiritually-minded, can we wonder that the multi-millionaire should live contentedly in the temporal Heaven of Park Lane, his happiness unruffled by the knowledge that millions of his fellow-men are passing their days in what Cobbett called the "Hell-holes" of our urban slums? And can we wonder that the owner of one of the largest of the Hebridean islands should claim full proprietary rights in her vast estate, including the right "to do what she pleases with her own", when we find that the pious religionist claims full proprietary rights in what has a wider range than a million islands - his own soul?

The development of industrialism during the past century has affected the social life of the West in two diametrically opposite ways. On the one hand, by promoting intercourse between land and land, by spanning the continents with railways and the oceans with fleets of steamships, by annihilating time and space through the medium of the telegraph (wired and wireless) and the telephone, by making the discoveries and inventions of one nation the common property of all, by diffusing the light of Science through all parts of the world, it has made the material organisation of society more and more complex and far-reaching, and has also worked incessantly for the unification of the human race. On the other hand, by making the acquisition of wealth the chief end of human action, by dazzling men's eyes with brilliant material prizes, by lifting the standard of comfort and luxury to a dangerously high level and so bringing home with deadly vividness their poverty to the poor, by


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teaching men to identify the good things of life with those outward possessions of which there can never be enough to satisfy, and therefore never enough to go round, it has raised the competitive spirit in Western society - the spirit of individualistic egoism - to a far higher power than it had ever reached before.

Here we have the materials of a stupendous disaster. While the inventions and discoveries which we may regard as by-products of the prevailing struggle for wealth, besides complicating life in many ways, and complicating the structure of every social organism, are preparing the way for the organisation of Mankind as a single community, the individualism which is of the essence of the same struggle is threatening to disintegrate society, through the medium of a world-embracing war of classes. Now the violent disintegration of a highly organised society is the most terrible catastrophe that it would be possible to imagine; and it is towards such a catastrophe, involving, as it would necessarily do, horrors analogous to those of swift organic decay, that we seem to be slowly drifting, slowly for the present, but with an ever-accelerating motion. The general trend towards complex organisation is turning the very forces of disruption into organised hosts; and so "far-flung" are their respective "battle-lines", that a conflict between them, such as a widespread strike of miners or railwaymen, might well involve London and other great towns in actual famine, besides producing a general upheaval of business which would spread economic ruin far and wide, and send its devastating waves into all parts of the civilised world.


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Three years ago the danger of such things happening was a cloud on the horizon, no bigger than a man's hand. Today it is darkening the sky.

What is to be done? That things cannot remain as they are is the one point on which we are all beginning to agree. When individualism organises itself on a vast scale, when selfishness becomes a principle of brotherhood, when materialism becomes a new ideal, when the motto "All for each" is pressed into the service of "Each for himself", we are evidently getting near to an impasse which is practical as well as logical, and out of which a way must somehow or other be found. Can it be that after many wanderings we are approaching the bottom of the Valley of the Shadow of Death? The widespread conviction that great changes are impending suggests that we are. But if we are, if the nethermost morasses of the Valley are now before us, we must either lose ourselves in them and perish miserably, or, having found a path through them, we must set our faces upwards and begin to ascend.

What, then, is to be our next step? I cannot give a positive answer to this question. There are many schemes for the reform of society; but there is not one which by any effort of imagination I can induce to work. And the reason of this is not that they are intrinsically unworkable, but that my imagination, being in thrall to the existing order of things, cannot provide them with the conditions that they need if they are to be fairly tried. As I have already said, our Socialistic schemes are hothouse plants which cannot be bedded out without serious risk, owing to the existing soil being unfit


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for their reception. Do I, then, despair of social salvation? By no means. If I cannot see what we are to do to be saved, I can see that there is one thing which we can cease to do. We can cease to poison the social soil. In other words, we can begin to reform education.

Writing in the early part of the Eighteenth Century, William Law, the author of The Serious Call, complained that the parents of his day brought their children up on principles diametrically opposed to those which they themselves professed. The same thing is happening now. When Law wrote, humility was held in high esteem as a Christian virtue; and Law pointed out with cogent force that pride and vainglory - the polar opposites of humility - were systematically taught in the homes and schools of his day. Humility has not the place among Christian virtues which it once held. For, unhappily, the name has been abused. Of the true humility which bows before the inward light, before the real self, before the soul's ideal, we cannot have too much. But the humility which takes the form of kowtowing to those who happen to have the whip-hand of one, of meekly doing whatever one is told to do, of meekly believing whatever one is told to believe, has rightly fallen into disrepute; and it is not because the education of the day undermines that bastard virtue (which, indeed, it is very far from doing) that I blame it, but because it undermines the very virtues which we profess to hold in the highest esteem - sympathy, good will, the spirit of comradeship, brotherly love.

Law's point of view is not exactly ours; but his


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argument, as addressed to his own age, is unanswerable; and as it applies as fully and with equal force - mutatis mutandis - to our age, I cannot do better than set it forth in his own words:

The first temper that we try to awaken in children is pride, as dangerous a passion as that of lust. We stir them up to vain thoughts of themselves, and do everything we can to puff up their minds with a sense of their own abilities.

Whatever way of life we intend them for, we apply to the fire and vanity of their minds, and exhort them to everything from corrupt motives; we stir them up to everything from principles of strife and ambition, from glory, envy, and a desire of distinction, that they may excel others and shine in the eyes of the world.

We repeat and inculcate these motives upon them, till they think it a part of their duty to be proud, envious, and vain-glorious of their own accomplishment.

And when we have taught them to scorn to be outdone by any, to bear no rival, to thirst after every instance of applause, to be content with nothing but the highest distinctions; then we begin to take comfort in them, and promise the world some mighty things from youth of such a glorious spirit. ... And after all this we complain of the effect of pride; we wonder to see grown men actuated and governed by ambition, envy, scorn, and a desire for glory; not considering that they were all the time of their youth called upon to all their action and industry upon the same principle.

You teach a child to scorn to be outdone, to thirst for distinction and applause; and is it any


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wonder that he continues to act all his life in the same manner?

Now if a youth is ever to be so far a Christian as to govern his heart by the doctrine of humility, I would fain know at what time he is to begin it, or if he is ever to begin it at all, and why we train him up in temper quite contrary to it. .

How dry and poor must the doctrine of humility sound to a youth that has been spurred up to all his industry by ambition, envy, emulation, and a desire of glory and distinction; and if he is not to act by these principles when he is a man, why do we call him to act by them in his youth?

Envy is acknowledged by all people to be the most ungenerous, base, and wicked passion that can enter into the heart of man.

And is this a temper to be instilled, nourished, and established in the minds of young people?

I know it is said that it is not envy but emulation, that is intended to be awakened in the minds of young men.

But this is vainly said. For when children are taught to bear no rival, and to scorn to be outdone by any of their age, they are plainly and directly taught to be envious. For it is impossible for any one to have this scorn of being outdone, and this contention with rivals, without burning with envy against all those that seem to excel him, or get any distinction from him: so that what children are taught is rank envy, and only covered with a name of less odious sound."

For humility, wherever it occurs in this discourse read sympathy, comradeship, good-will. Were this and one or two minor changes made, the whole


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passage might fitly be addressed to the parents and teachers of the present day; and especially to those who call themselves Socialists. I doubt if the average man of the Eighteenth Century had any very robust faith in the saving grace of humility. And I doubt if the average man of the Twentieth Century has any very robust faith in the saving grace of co-operation and comradeship. But as the Socialist dreams of a social order in which co-operation will take the place of competition, and comradeship of jealous rivalry, and as he lives for the realisation of this dream, one cannot but ask him why he acquiesces in a system of education which makes the realisation of it impossible. One cannot but address to him, in almost identical words, the probing questions which Law addressed to the professing Christians of his day: "You teach a child to scorn to be outdone, to play for his own hand, to regard his companions as rivals and potential enemies; and is it any wonder that he continues to act all his life in the same manner? If a youth is ever to be so far a Socialist as to govern his heart by the doctrine of co-operation and comradeship, at what time is he to begin it? Of, if he is ever to begin at all, why do you train him up in temper quite contrary to it? How dry and poor must the doctrine of co-operation and comradeship sound to a youth that has been spurred up to all his industry by ambition, envy, emulation, and a desire to surpass others; and if he is not to act by those principles when he is a man, why do we call him to act by them in his youth? "

For the practices which Law condemned are as rampant today as they were when Law wrote. As


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rampant, and more thoroughly systematised. What individual parents did in the Eighteenth Century is now a vital part of the whole system of education. Day after day, year after year, we of the risen generation try to rouse the rising generation to exertion, by deliberately appealing to anti-social motives, by deliberately cultivating pride, ambition, egoism, individualism, by deliberately compelling the child to centre his desires, his aims, his aspirations, in himself. And then the Socialist, who has not lifted his little finger to change this de-socialising, dehumanising trend of education, is surprised that men openly blazon the motto "Each for himself, and the devil take the hindmost" on their banners, and that the social millennium obstinately refuses to arrive.

Nothing perplexes me so much as the way in which Socialists neglect education. They profess to be deeply interested in it, and promise to do great things for it when their day comes round. But it is the machinery of education in which they are interested. With education - the real thing, the life, the soul, the inwardness of it - they do not seem to concern themselves in the slightest degree. Yet it is in the school, rather than in the marketplace or on the hustings, that the battle which they are fighting will be lost or won. For it is not by securing a chance majority in Parliament that Socialism will establish itself, but by bringing about a widespread change of sentiment which will take many forms - a change in our standard of reality, a change in our conception of success and happiness, a change in our feelings towards one another, a change in our whole attitude towards life -


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and which will cause a strong and deep current of desire and purpose to set in the direction of social reform. And it is in the school, where human nature is still in process of development and has not yet hardened into what we call maturity, that this far-reaching, all-controlling change must be begun.

That we may the better realise the vital part which education plays in our social life, let us make a slight change in our point of view. Throughout this chapter I have spoken of individualism as if it were the main obstacle to the advent of Socialistic reform. And this I think it is. But it has a double; and it is well that it should be studied in its double. The development of individualism which followed the break-up of the tribal system, had its counterpart in the development of externalism, in the debasement of the standard of values. Which of these movements was cause and which effect we cannot say. The two movements were, and are, really one. In this, as in other matters, as the tribal system began to break up, the individual began to be thrown on his own resources. In the tribal days the standard of values was in the keeping of the community; and it was only through the community that the individual had access to it. But, with the gradual decay of communal sentiment, the right to determine his own standard of values, the right of private judgment, as it is sometimes called, was transferred, little by little, from the community to each of its members.

What followed was inevitable. On the one hand the average man's naïve assumption that outward and visible things are intrinsically real, on the other


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hand the fact that in many, perhaps in most, cases life was a struggle for the bare necessaries of physical existence, disposed men to assume as a self-evident truth, that material possessions and the things which such possessions can procure - comfort, luxury, leisure, power, position, and the rest - are the real "good things of life", and to base their lives on this assumption. In this way an outward criterion of reality and an outward standard of values began to dominate man's social life; and to secure for himself as many as possible of the "good things of life" became the aim, secret or avowed, of nearly every member of the community. In other words, individualism began to find its counterpart in externalism; and the two tendencies acting and re-acting on one another, became the chief controlling forces in that wide and many-channelled movement to which we give the name of civilisation.

As men thought about life, and as they ordered their own lives, so they educated - so they still educate - their children. That the risen generation should impose its own social régime on the rising generation was but natural; and that this process, when once fairly started, should keep on repeating itself was almost inevitable. It is no exaggeration to say that education, in all its grades and types, is still largely dominated by the externalism which is at the heart of our Western civilisation. Under the influence of this practical philosophy, the child is taught from his earliest years to make the production of outward and visible results the central aim of his life. And as the ends which are thus set before him do not, as a rule, appeal to him, he is


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driven towards them by stimuli of various kinds. He is threatened with punishment. He is bribed with the promise of reward. Prizes are set before him which, instead of being attached to a certain level of attainment (though even that would be demoralising), are thrown open to competition. He is thus taught to regard his class-mates as rivals and potential enemies. His natural impulse to help them in difficulties is repressed as criminal. He is urged to outstrip them and to pride himself on doing so. His selfishness is exploited. His vanity is deliberately appealed to. "Each for himself, and the devil take the hindmost" is the conception of social life up to which he is compelled to live.

And the indirect influence of this education is as anti-social as is its direct pressure. In setting outward ends before the child and driving him towards them, education assumes a dogmatic and dictatorial attitude which has as its counterpart complete distrust of the child's nature, and which therefore tends to devitalize him, to repress his spontaneous energies, to arrest the whole process of his growth. Now growth, just because it is growth, because it is the expansion of life from within, is the most emancipative of all influences. For in proportion as it is healthy and harmonious, it tends of inner necessity to widen the child's outlook, to enlarge the sphere of his sympathies and activities, to take him away from his petty, narrow, superficial self. The education that arrests growth and, in doing so, imprisons the child in his lower self, does a twofold wrong to him as a social being, from the effect of which he never wholly recovers. In the first place,


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it disorganises his life, by plunging him, indirectly as well as of set purpose, into a vortex of selfish competition. It is because we are shut up in our petty, ordinary selves, that we cannot find happiness in ourselves, and are therefore driven, in rivalry with others, to look for it - or for that fraudulent imitation of it which we call success - outside ourselves. In the second place, it de-socialises the child's life, by damming back his expansive sympathies and energies, and preventing them from overflowing - as growth, if vigorous and unimpeded, would make them do - into the lives of others. For these reasons, which branch off into a score of sub-reasons, the atmosphere of the ordinary school is one in which the communal instinct dwindles and individualism grows apace.

Hence come all our social woes. Of the many wrongs that we inflict on the child, the most cruel is that of making him an egoist and an individualist against his will; and so long as we do this, so long as education continues to flood society with successive generations of egoists and individualists, for so long will the vision which inspires the Socialist remain an impracticable dream.

By way of summarising the contents of this chapter and drawing its moral from it, I will now make a final and direct appeal to the Socialists: If the reforms of which you dream are ever to come to pass, Man must change his whole outlook on life. His ingrained individualism, his competitive selfishness, which stands in the way of every movement towards a higher type of social unity, is the outcome of an entirely false criterion of reality and


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of an entirely false standard of values. This criterion and this standard must somehow or other be altered. The inward criterion and the inward standard must somehow or other establish themselves at the expense of the outward. How is this to be done?

You may preach unselfishness and communal devotion to the men and women of your generation as widely and as eloquently as you please; but only those who happen to be unselfish and to have a capacity for communal devotion will respond to your appeal. So far as the rest of your audience are concerned, your eloquence will be so much waste of breath. Their education - the whole course of their training, whether at home or in school or elsewhere - will have given a bias to their nature which you will not be able to alter. A wave of emotion may carry them away for a time; but the bias of their nature will re-assert itself, and their short-lived enthusiasm will probably be followed by a re-action. If you want to proselytise the men and women of England, appeal to them as children, and appeal to them from their earliest years. It is your only hope.

What is education doing for the children of this country? This is the great question which you, of all people, ought to be for ever asking yourselves. Plato tells us that, according as he is well or ill trained, Man will become either "the most divine and the gentlest of creatures" or "the savagest creature on earth". Are we training our children well or ill? Are we helping them to become divine and gentle creatures - unselfish, self-forgetful, considerate of others, filled with the spirit of comradeship,


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capable of devotion to the common cause? Or are we turning them into potential savages - selfish, self-assertive, rapacious, fiercely competitive, eager to outdo one another, eager to trample one another down? It is in the school, if anywhere, that the communal instinct, without which Socialism is an impracticable dream, must be gradually evolved. The instinct is there in each of our children, waiting to be evolved. Is education fostering or retarding its growth? It is in the school, if anywhere, that our criterion of reality, our standard of values, must be transformed. Yet not transformed, so much as discovered. For the true criterion and the true standard are there, in each of our children, waiting to reveal themselves. Is education helping them to reveal themselves, or is it allowing them to be overshadowed by the false criterion and the false standard which dominate our social life, and in the deadly shade of which they will assuredly wither and die?

For reasons which are not far to seek, and which I have briefly set forth, education, as at present conducted in this country, is hostile to the growth both of the communal instinct and of a true conception of the meaning and value of life. And such it will continue to be so long as we who educate insist on stamping our own social life, with its false aim and ideals, on the young of all ages and grades, and so long as you, who pose as social reformers, allow us to do so. The remedy is in your hands. If you will work for the reform of education with half the zeal with which you work for the reform of society, you will remove the most serious of all hindrances to the triumph of the latter cause. At


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present your efforts to socialise human life are perpetually thwarted by the anti-social bias which education gives to the child, to the adolescent, and at last to the adult man. See to it that the deadening pressure which produces that bias is relaxed. See to it that our base attempts to rouse the child to exertion, when education has paralysed his energies, by a deliberate appeal to anti-social motives, comes to an end. See to it that such a measure of freedom is given to him as will enable the real, emancipative, centripetal bias of his nature to declare itself. So long as we persist in enslaving our children to our will, in ordering all their goings to our good pleasure, in moulding their various characters to the image of our own, we shall do nothing better for them than to make them the egoists and individualists that we ourselves have become. For water always seeks its own level; and the water of life - or what passes for such - that we pump into the heart and mind of the child from our own stagnant cisterns, instead of allowing the hidden fountain of spontaneous life to spring up in his soul, will never rise higher than the level of our own petty egoism, of our own stunted growth.

I have heard people say that human nature must be changed before the dream of the Socialists can come true, and that human nature cannot possibly be changed. Both these propositions are false. Human nature can be changed; and we must cease to change it if we wish the dream of the Socialist to come true. It is we, its guardians and educators, who change it - and change it for the worse - by training it badly during the years when its training is decisive of its destiny. The hooligan, the loafer,


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the wastrel, the youthful criminal, the savages of our civilised society, are all, or nearly all, manufactured articles, the artificial products of a system of education which changes human nature beyond recognition, changes it in the wrong direction by either arresting or perverting its growth. If you wish Socialism to triumph, do not try to change human nature; but try to change our educational policy - to change it in the direction of giving human nature a chance, of allowing it to evolve itself and to show us what it really is. Is not this the end that you Socialists have in mind when you propound your various social remedies? Do you not wish to make the conditions of life as favourable as possible to the growth of the gregarious animal which we call Man? Do you not wish to give him every opportunity for developing himself freely and happily on all the planes of his being? Are you not at war with the existing social order because it is unfavourable to human growth? Well, then, begin your reform of society in that world of social life in which all the expansive forces of Nature will be working on your side - in the world of child-life - in the school. Proselytise the adult if you will. You will, I fear, make but little impression on him unless you appeal to motives which are unworthy of him and of you. Teach "civics" and "economics", if you will, to the "adolescent" in the "continuation schools" into which you propose to drive him. You will find, I fear, that you are tilling an unproductive soil. But in any case, and above all, educate the child. Educate him, not by making him learn Socialistic catechisms - "that way madness lies" - but by helping him to grow, by helping his communal instinct (which, if only you and he


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knew it, is stronger than all his individualistic instincts put together) to affirm itself, to come to the birth. With the child on your side, you will be irresistible; and your battle will have been potentially won almost before you have begun to fight it.

In what precise way the reform of education will bring about the reform of society, I will not attempt to prophesy. Experience has proved that whenever freedom is given to children in generous measure,with such safeguards as are implicit in a favourable environment and judicious guidance - a social life evolves itself which is inspired by a healthy joie de vivre, and in which the suppression of the spirit of rivalry and the growth of the spirit of comradeship are central features. (1) If such a social life could surround the child from infancy to maturity, what might we not hope for from the rising tide of adolescence as it began to sweep into the channel of adult manhood? If a spirit of communal devotion, akin to that which inspired men in the tribal days, but having an infinitely wider range, could animate one entire generation, the dawn of a new day would surely have begun.

For it is conceivable, to say the least, that when the standard of values had been changed and the communal instinct had been fully evolved, social service would come to be regarded as the first of moral duties and the highest of outward activities, and men would begin to carry out, voluntarily and spontaneously, and without any radical reorganisation of society, all that is vital in the programme of

(1) Such a social life I found in my school in Utopia; and such a social life I find in every genuine Montessori class. On this point the testimony of Montessori teachers is practically unanimous. See Chapters IV and V.


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Socialism. It is conceivable, in other words, that a new generation might arise which would make Socialism as an organised movement unnecessary, in the very act of realising its deepest dream. (1)

Let us go back to the simile of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I said that if we could re-ascend - on the opposite side of the valley - to the level of devotion and self-effacement which we reached in the days of tribal communism, we should then be able to climb far higher. We have seen that the finality of tribal communism was its undoing. In claiming the whole of his devotion and service, the tribe cut off each of its members from the quest of the ideal, and so arrested the growth of the individual soul and the progress of the human race.

(1) This is a consummation which I, for one, devoutly pray for. Were a collectivist organisation of society to be forced upon the nation by the Government of the day, we should be confronted by a serious danger. A bureaucracy would begin to do for the people what the Incas of Peru did for their subjects - take thought for them in every possible way, and so save them the trouble of taking thought for themselves; teach them to rely on the State for the satisfaction of all their needs, and so relieve them from the necessity of relying on themselves. The fate of the Empire of the Incas, which was crushed like an eggshell by a handful of brutal, but adventurous and self-reliant, Spaniards, is a warning of what might happen if a Socialistic régime were imposed from above on this or any other people. For it was a weakening of the national character, brought about by a too kindly Socialism, a softening of its fibre, a lowering of its vitality, which prepared the way for the downfall of the empire and its advanced and interesting civilisation. The Socialism which had its roots in the nursery and the schoolroom would be an infinitely stronger and hardier plant than this. For not only would it draw its nourishment from what is primitive and spontaneous in human nature, but the communal devotion which would be one element in its rising sap would be reinforced and duly tempered by the admixture of such virile qualities as vigour of mind, force of will, initiative, enterprise, self-reliance - qualities which bureaucratic rule is ever tending to destroy. See Chapters IV and V.


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But the communal spirit which springs up spontaneously in a "community of free children", breaks through all distinctions of class and race and nationality - for left to himself the child ignores all such distinctions - and will content itself, if allowed to have its way, with no narrower a community than the Kingdom of Man, which, for those who can give it disinterested service, is ever widening out into the widest of all communities, the Kingdom of the Ideal, the Kingdom of God. If, then, starting from the home and the school, we could but regain the level of communal devotion from which our descent into the Valley of the Shadow of Death began, the way to the soaring peaks of the Ideal would be open before us, and a never-ending ascent towards their unknown summits would at last await us.

This is the dream by which you Socialists are inspired, this is the cause for which you are really fighting - the reorganisation of society on an ideal basis, the establishment of one all-embracing community, the advent of the Kingdom of God. That your dream will somehow, somewhere, some day be realised, that your cause will at last triumph, I have no doubt. If you are fighting, disinterestedly and wholeheartedly, under the banner of Unity, the stars in their courses are on your side, and in the fulness of time victory will come to you as surely as tomorrow will dawn out of tonight. But though I say this with unwavering assurance, I must end, as I began, in an agnostic mood. The stars in their courses are fighting for Socialism; but until it finally triumphs we shall not know what it really is.


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CHAPTER IX

THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

THE Third Person of the Christian Trinity has not yet been worshipped by Christendom. In theory we have placed him on a level with the First and the Second Person. In practice we have ignored him. (1) This is a misfortune; for it is only through the worship of the Holy Spirit that we can pay due honour to the Father and the Son. The reason for our neglect of the Holy Spirit is not far to seek. The Jewish element in Christianity has been too strong for us. Following the lead of the Jew, we have always sought to externalise the object of our worship; and as the Holy Spirit is essentially inward and spiritual, as he stands, one might almost say, for an inward and spiritual conception of Deity, he has ever turned, and will ever turn, all our attempts to externalise him into foolishness. We have thought of him as the dove who descended from the "opened" heavens and lighted upon the "beloved Son". We have thought of him as the Comforter, who came down to earth at such

(1) These are sweeping statements. Let me explain what I mean. The divinity of the Holy Spirit is, of course, duly recognised in Christian theology; but he is so little an object of Christian worship that, for one genuine, heartfelt prayer that is addressed to him, there must be at least a million that go up to the Father, or the Son, or the Virgin Mary. Indeed I am inclined to think that the Holy Spirit is less worshipped, in the sense of being less prayed to, than the least of the Saints.


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and such a place on such and such a day. We have thought of him as the Sanctifier, who comes to us, when certain ceremonies have been duly performed, and infuses sacramental grace into our souls, but whom misconduct on our part, especially when it takes the form of ceremonial neglect, easily scares away. I once heard an Anglican priest tell a class of children whom he was catechising that the function of the Holy Spirit is to change the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the Body and Blood of Christ. And many years ago, in a Symposium on religion which was held in one of the monthly magazines, one of the contributors told of a friend of his, a nominal "believer", who, when asked if he really believed in the Holy Spirit, said in reply that he thought there might be "a sort of a something".

These are some of the ways in which we have tried to externalise the Holy Spirit. From the point of view of worship, all such attempts are foredoomed to fail. Any attempt that might be made to externalise a deity who is essentially, and even quint-essentially, inward, must needs transform him into a shadowy and intangible being, a veritable "ghost", too unsubstantial to generate conviction, too abstract to sway our hearts. The Father and the Son present themselves to popular thought as quasi-concrete Beings, who admit of being imaginatively and even pictorially treated, and who can therefore call into play those deep-seated yet partly sensuous feelings which, when fused into a single ardent emotion, bear the name of worship. But the Holy Spirit, in virtue of the idée mère that gave him birth, eludes the imaginative effort which seeks to


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externalise him, and in doing so fades away from our sacrilegious thought into a region of abstractions,

Par levibus ventis, volucrique simillima somno.
The heart of Man can go out in love, and awe, and aspiration, to the Creator of the Universe, to the Incarnate God who died for our sakes, or even to the Virgin "Mother of God"; but it will not go out in love, or any other fervour of emotion, to "a sort of a something".

"A sort of a something". What a grotesque degradation of the most spiritual of all Christian doctrines, of the one Christian doctrine which is purely spiritual! The Holy Spirit is the life of our deepest life, the soul of our inmost soul. He is this, or he is nothing. St. Paul has spoken of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. This metaphor has been misunderstood. A deity might conceivably forsake his temple. But so long as the breath of life remains in the body, he who is the life of all life, will sanctify it with his presence. And as long as the body is the abode of what we call the soul, he who is the soul of all souls will dwell in it as his temple. The meaning of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is that the Divine life is the true life of each one of us; that the Divine Soul the Soul of the Universe, is the true self of each on of us; that the supreme end, the τελος τελεισασον, of Man's existence, will not have been realised until he is able to say what Christ said on behalf of Humanity: "I and my Father are one".

In what sense is the Divine life present in each of us? In what sense is life present in each indi-


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vidual animal and plant? In what sense is it present in each individual embryo or seed? As a promise of perfection waiting to fulfil itself. As an ideal waiting to be realised. I have elsewhere quoted a passage from Edwin Arnold's Secret of Death, in which the presence of the Soul of all things

Inside the inner man, in the hollow heart
is likened to the presence of the mighty banyan-tree in each of the speck-like seeds of the banyan fruit. The idea of the Holy Spirit is probably of Indian origin; and this simile may be accepted as an apt translation of the idea into human speech. As the banyan-tree is present in each of the seeds of its fruit, so the Holy Spirit - the "spiritual life" of Professor Eucken's philosophy - "has existed within man's being as a possibility from the commencement", and is now "present to him, in some fashion, as a whole in all its infinity".

How does the Holy Spirit work in each of us? And how do we, for our parts, pay him the only tribute which he will accept, that of living into oneness with his hidden life? In other words, how is the Divine Ideal in each of us to be realised? The Holy Spirit works in us as the banyan-tree works in the banyan seed. Present in each of us "as a whole in all his infinity", he works in us "from within", and hence "opens up to us" (if at first only as a possibility) "a cosmic life and a cosmic being". In other words, the Divine Ideal realises itself in each of us through the expanding and transforming process which we call growth. We grow into oneness with the hidden life of the Spirit


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of God. This is the way of salvation; and there is no other way.

What part does the individual soul play in this process? Will not the ideal type that slumbers in each of us unfold itself with or without our consent? This is what seems to happen in every other living thing. Yes, and this is what happens to each of us in the earlier years of his life and on the physical plane of his being. The forces that make for growth are there in the budding soul, waiting to unfold themselves; and in the years of infancy and early childhood and - so far as physical growth is concerned - in the years of adolescence and early manhood, they seem to take possession of it and shape it to their will. Indeed it may be said that they virtually constitute the budding soul, and that in those early years their activity is its life and its growth. But as, under the stress of their creative pressure, self-consciousness awakes in us, the power of helping or hindering the work of the Holy Spirit awakes with it, and the great drama of human life begins. In plants and animals the process of growth is often interfered with, and sometimes with fatal effect, but always from without. But, with the awakening of self-consciousness in Man and the consequent outgrowth of individuality or conscious selfhood, interference with the process of growth - for evil or for good - becomes possible from within. The relation between the individual and the Divine or Universal life is one of ideal and ultimate identity; and this relation holds good (in potency) in the opening years of childhood. But as the individual gradually clothes himself with selfhood, he begins to separate himself from the


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Divine life, and the life of the Holy Spirit, which has been unfolding itself in him; and he is thus brought nearer and nearer to the parting of two great ways.

I am trying to find words for an inward experience which is, I believe, common to most men. The inadequacy of my words is due to the fact that language has been generated by an attempt to communicate to others our perception of outward things. But the inward experience is not the less real because, being inward, it necessarily defies expression. As we awake to self-consciousness, and in doing so arrive at selfhood, we feel that, by exercising what we call our will-power, we can either help or hinder the process of our development. We feel this in our heart of hearts, and we cannot get behind the feeling. It is true that for those who are content to contemplate human life from without instead of from within, the mystery of "free-will" is, in the nature of things, insoluble: and those who cannot quit the outward standpoint will easily persuade themselves that in this most vital of all matters they have no freedom and no choice. But the experience, the abiding sense of freedom and responsibility, is proof against every destructive argument. Indeed, if the question of freedom were open to argumentative treatment, one might perhaps point out, in proof of the reality of freedom, that the only way to destroy the sense of it is to misuse the power of choice.

It is in being free to fulfil or thwart his destiny that Man differs from all other things. When a plant or an animal has arrived at its full maturity it has touched the limit of its development, and can go no further along that road. In other words, it


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has fulfilled its destiny; and, apart from external influences, it could have done neither more nor less. It is true that in the seed or embryo out of which it grew there were certain possibilities of ulterior development, which it has not attempted to realise. But in falling short of this higher level it cannot be said to have missed its destiny. To realise the ideal (or ideals - for there may be several) of a given genus or species, is the business of the genus or species, not of any individual member of it. And though the ideal is, in a sense unattainable, it is also strictly finite, for the movement towards it, carried on perhaps through ten thousand generations, may be likened to an arithmetical series which is infinite but within finite limits. (1)

With Man it is entirely different. (2) When he arrives at his physical maturity, he is given a fateful choice. He can accept and rest in the self which, in his progress towards maturity, he has gradually built up and consolidated; or he can free himself from thraldom to self, surrender it, die to it, pass on beyond it. If he takes the former path, he will have entered a prison, the walls of which will

(1) Such a series is 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 etc., which is limited by the number 2.

(2) I must take care, when I separate Man from the rest of living things, not to fall into the fatal dualism of the natural and the spiritual. The unity of the Cosmos reflects itself in the unity of life. It is on behalf of the whole world of living things that Man awakes to self-consciousness, and in doing so realises that life - the one life which is in all things - has a boundless horizon and an ideally distant goal. Or we may say, if we prefer to put it so, that Nature, in the course of her self-development, awakes to consciousness in Man, and in doing so becomes aware of the grandeur of her destiny, and of the meaning and purpose of the travail which is the pulse of her life.


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gradually close in upon him, till at last his own self becomes his living tomb. If he takes the latter path, a cosmic life will lie open before him, for he will have entered the "Kingdom of God". The terrible power which, in the course of his growth, he has gradually evolved - the power of thwarting his own destiny, of resisting the Divine forces that are making for his fuller development - is balanced by one immeasurable gain: the power of breaking down the barriers in which maturity imprisons the living thing that has ripened, is also given to him; and when those barriers have been removed, his horizon will begin to "extend itself to the width of the whole Universe".

I have high authority for saying these things. The idea that the "Soul of all things" is the true self of each of us, is at the heart of the Ancient Wisdom of India. And the idea that in order to find the true self (in oneness with the Divine Soul) one must die to the actual self, is at the heart of the teaching of Christ. "Whoever will save his life shall lose it"; "whoever will lose his life ... shall find it". All religion and all morality are in these two sentences. If we cling to the life of the apparent self, we shall lose the life of the real self. If we are willing to lose the life of the apparent self - to break from it, renounce it, realise its unreality - we shall find the life of the real self.

But how easy it is to miss the meaning of this sublime message! What do we mean by losing life? Being ready to die for the sake of Christ and Christianity, is one of the answers to this question. But to live for a sacred cause is a greater thing than to die for it; and to "lose life" must therefore


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mean more than the voluntary surrender of physical existence. To practise self-denial is another answer; and it is clear from Christ's own words that this answer, as it stands, and as far as it goes, is correct. But what do we mean by "self-denial"? The history of Christendom is the history of a profound and persistent misunderstanding of this pregnant word. To practise self-denial, as the phrase is usually interpreted, is to do something which one is not inclined to do, to deny oneself a certain pleasure, to give up for a while some cherished form of self-indulgence, to abstain from butcher's meat in Lent or on other fast-days, to give alms to the poor, and so on. These forms of self-discipline are not to be despised; but the self-denial which Christ preached, enormously transcends the horizon of thought which they indicate. To deny self is to cease to live to "self", and to begin to live to a larger self. In other words, it is to outgrow self, and to keep on outgrowing it. If we accept any stage in our development as final, the tyranny of a self at once begins to assert itself. And the only way to break the tyranny of that self is to pass on beyond it in quest of a higher self. Endless self-finding through endless self-losing. Endless self-losing through endless self-finding. This is what Christ set before us as the way and the end of life.

The mystery of self is, in a sense, unfathomable. We are apt to think of the self as a quasi-concrete thing with limits which are definable, if not already defined. It is really a process, a movement from pole to anti-pole, from an infinite possibility to an infinitely distant ideal. The first germ of life is at


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one pole of the process. The Holy Spirit is at the other. But the Holy Spirit is also in the first germ of life (just as the banyan-tree, in its totality, is in each of its innumerable fruit-seeds); and it is in response to his quickening impulse that the growth of the germ begins and continues. The mists that rise from the sea transform themselves into a million rivers. Each of these rivers belongs to the sea, is continually fed by the sea, and at last returns to the sea. The sea, evaporated into mist and condensed into rain, is in the little rivulet that gushes from its hidden spring; and when the rivulet has expanded into the mighty river, it will both find itself and lose itself in reunion with the sea from which it came.

It is the same with the sea of life. There is no stage in the process of self-development which one is entitled to identify with self. When all stages have been transcended, when the positive pole of the process has been reached, when the unattainable ideal has been won, when self has been finally lost, then, and not till then, will the soul be free to say: "I have found my true self. This am I".

There is, however, one stage in the process which we are very apt to identify with self; and it is to this almost inevitable mistake that we owe nine-tenths of our errors and miseries and failures. An animal, after so many years or months of growth, arrives at the maturity of its powers, at the full development of its self. Beyond this it cannot go, and has no desire to go. "Ripeness is all." Unconscious of its selfhood, the animal rests contentedly in its ripened self, while, little by little, the counter-process to that of growth, the process of decay, begins. Now Man,


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whatever else he may be, is an animal; and it is therefore only natural that, when he has arrived at his physical maturity, he should wish to accept and rest in the self which has been evolved during the years of physical growth, and which seems to share in the maturity of his body. And as, for reasons which we will presently consider, the growing self has been subjected during those years to the pressure of forces which have tended to harden and consolidate it, and even to force it into premature maturity, we cannot wonder that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred it has an appearance of finality which tempts one to say of it: "This is my self. This am I".

But, besides being an animal, Man is a child of God; and the stress of his divine lineage, the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit, is at work in his soul, and will not let him rest. If he will but yield to its influence, he will gradually free himself from thraldom to what we may now call his individual (1) self, and will pass on beyond it into a larger life. But if he resists that expansive influence, if he succumbs to the desire to accept and rest in his individual self, the very forces that have been making for his development may well become the mean of his undoing. For they will generate in him an insatiable desire which, so long as he insists on living his life within the confines of self, will become a desire for self-aggrandisement, a desire to exalt and magnify self by any method but that of developing it, by giving it wealth, position,

(1) Statically individual. We must carefully distinguish between static and dynamic individuality. The difference between the two is, in the last resort, the difference between the apparent and the real, between the individual and the universal self.


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power, fame, notoriety, success, by pushing it to the front in disregard of the claims and interests of others, by giving it prominence of some sort or other in its own petty world. To this ignoble end he will devote all the energies and activities which his resistance to the vitalising pressure of his own awakening soul will have diverted from the channel of inwardness and spiritual life. And when he looks beyond death, he will try to provide, under the influence of the same instinctive desire for self-aggrandisement, for the continued well-being (in his sense of the word) of his bastard self. He will invent a Heaven for it in which, still clinging to its cherished individuality, still heedless of others, it will dwell for ever in a state of perfect happiness,happiness so perfect that, when imagination tries to realise it, it changes of inner necessity into immeasurable ennui.

For none of the things which Man provides for the satisfaction of self can permanently content him. And it is well that they should not. If he could find content within the prison walls of self, he would have ceased to live. The plant or the animal may rest in its maturity, and wait contentedly for the hour of incipient decay. Man, whose true self is a divine ideal, may never rest. His desire for rest has the desire for a deeper peace behind it, just as his desire for self-aggrandisement has the desire for self-realisation behind it. And so long as his desires remain unsatisfied, he is still alive.

He is still alive. But he is less than half alive. From his own point of view all may be well with him. His life may be a series of successes. His activities may be incessant and immense. His days


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may be filled with pleasure and excitement. His experiences may be infinitely varied. He may have visited all parts of the world. Yet he is less than half alive. For he is mistaking the semblance of life for life itself. "La vie", says a living writer "ce n'est pas La distraction et le mouvement du monde. Vivre c'est sentir son âme, toute son âme." The reality of life is to be measured, not by outward results, but by inward intensity. He is truly alive who has awakened consciousness in the deepest depths of his buried self; who feels the thrill of life in every fibre of his being; who can use his soul in its totality as if it were a single faculty; who can perceive, know, desire, love with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his soul, and with all his strength. This is real living. This is the "cosmic life" of which Professor Eucken speaks, the life which measures a world which has no horizon. This is the life that crowns the whole process of self-realisation. This is to live to the Holy Spirit. This is life eternal.

And this life is our inheritance if we will but claim it. For if from one point of view it is an unattainable ideal, from another it is nearer to us than breathing. The doors of the prison of self are never locked; and until the ever-narrowing wall of the prison have actually closed in upon us and entombed us, the way of escape into the life beyond self, into the Kingdom of God, will be open to each of us. But one thing is needed if we are to turn the handle of the door of egress. The will to do so, the will to renounce the self which one has got to know so well, the will to trust oneself to a life which has no limits.


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Here we return to what is at once the most insoluble of all dialectical problems and the most difficult of all practical problems - the problem of will. It has been well said that "in ordinary life positive will is always associated with crystallised ideas", and that "the hardest of all tasks is to free oneself from all prejudices - from all crystallised thought or feeling, from all limitations, and yet develop within oneself the positive will". This is indeed the hardest of all tasks. But it is the first and last task to be faced by him who would escape from self and live to the Spirit. Till a man has freed himself from all prejudices, from all crystallised ideas, from all limitations, his escape from self is still incomplete. What the poet says of Humanity holds good of each individual aspirant to emancipation:

Alone, self-poised, henceforward Man
    Must labour! must resign
His all too human creeds, and scan
    Simply the way divine.
To renounce "creeds" or "crystallised ideas" does not necessarily mean to turn against them and denounce them as false. It means no more than to recognise their inadequacy, and refuse to accept them as final. But to do this, and no more than this, is enough, and more than enough, to strain one's will-power to the uttermost. Nothing is harder than to abandon the comfortable home (whether of one's own or of some conventional design), built of prejudices, assumptions, fixed beliefs, habits of thought, standards of value, rules of life, in which one had looked forward to living in peace for the rest of one's days. Yet the sacrifice


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must be made, or the comfortable home will become a prison, and may at last become a tomb.

To make this supreme sacrifice - to master one's spiritual indolence, one's instinctive desire for finality, one's instinctive dread of the infinite and the unknown - demands a great and sustained effort of will. And to this demand few men can be expected to respond. For to use the will, which has nearly always been at the service of "crystallised ideas", for the purpose of emancipating oneself from all crystallised ideas, is to summon it to a task for which, in all human probability, it has no aptitude and no inclination. Hence the failure of the human spirit, except for brief seasons and in isolated cases, to transcend the limits of self. Hence the arrested growth of the individual. Hence the arrested progress of the race.

The real tragedy of human life is not the conflict between the lusts of the flesh and the aspirations of the spirit, but the conflict between Man, as an animal, who, having arrived at what seems to be his maturity, wishes to rest in it for ever, and Man, as potentially divine, who must needs press on towards the infinitely distant goal of his own true self. The present phase of this conflict is one of almost complete deadlock, which is, of course, equivalent to the temporary defeat of the cause of the ideal. For the forces which have carried Man thus far along the path of self-realisation have built up in him a certain type of character - a prematurely ripened personality - which is in itself a serious obstacle to his further development. And what tends to prolong and intensify the deadlock, and therefore to hold in further check the forces


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of progress, is the fact that this type of character, which we miscall human nature, is faithfully handed down from generation to generation. Meanwhile the Superman in Man still slumbers; and the new world which scientific discovery and mechanical invention have brought into being still waits for its new master.

This takes me back to education. We have seen that there are two chief reasons why so many of us are imprisoned in self. The first is that we are apt to confuse physical with spiritual maturity, and to ascribe to the latter the finality which really belongs to the former. The second is that the will-power which would be needed to enable us to resume our interrupted journey, having hitherto been at the service of "crystallised ideas" and finite ends of action, will not readily respond to the appeal of fluid ideas and ideal ends of action.

Both these tendencies are strengthened by the conventional type of education, which weakens willpower in exact proportion as it hardens and consolidates self. The two processes are, of course, really one. During the years of his childhood and adolescence a man is making a vigorous and persistent effort to grow; and the proof and concomitant of successful growth - in the will as in every other power or faculty - is elasticity of fibre, the very quality which education deliberately sets itself to destroy.

The first impulse of the man who is imprisoned in his own stunted personality, is to seek to impose himself on others. He is moved to this, partly by self-satisfaction, partly by self-distrust. As an


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egoist, he is satisfied - to all appearance entirely satisfied - with his own aims and ideals, with his own way of living, with his own outlook on life; and it is therefore in perfect good faith that he desires to impose these on all who happen to be amenable to his influence. But all the while his heart is corroded by a secret doubt. A germ of self-distrust, which is really a germ of spiritual vitality, lingers in him and troubles his repose. And it is in order to silence this still small voice - the voice of the Holy Spirit in his soul - that he asks others to confirm him in his good opinion of himself by accepting his limitations as laws of Nature (or of God) and his prejudices as rules of life. "You must agree with me", he says in his heart to those who come within his sphere of influence, "for if you do not, I shall not be able to feel quite sure of myself, and the consequent sense of insecurity will make me miserable." It is this secret feeling, even more than the egoistic desire to have one's own way, which leads men to dogmatise and lay down the law in matters of opinion, and which has led them, whenever force was more readily available than argument, to tyrannise over others, to coerce them into the semblance of conformity, to send the recalcitrant - in the last resort - to the scaffold or the stake.

To impose oneself on one's contemporaries, who are ready to meet egoism with egoism and dogmatism with dogmatism, is by no means easy; and, with the growth of the democratic sentiment and the consequent weakening of "authority", it becomes more difficult from day to day. But the impulse to dogmatise is not easily repressed; and


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when one outlet is closed against it, it pours itself with a stronger current into another. Now there is one outlet which always - and today more than ever - lies open to the adult who wishes to impose himself on others - the outlet of education. The adult who has control of a child is in a position, not merely to impose himself on his victim, but to stamp himself on him, to subject him to the plastic pressure of dogmatic direction, vivified by personal influence and enforced by a quasi-military discipline, until he has gone far towards drilling his mind and character into conformity with his own. And the temptation to do this, the temptation to make the child a kind of replica of oneself, is so strong that it is rare to find the parent or teacher who has enough self-distrust and self-control to be able to resist it. It is therefore no matter for wonder that education should be today what it has always been, predominatingly despotic and dogmatic, and that the spread of education and the elaboration of its machinery should mean the systematic - and more and more systematic - application of arbitrary pressure to the opening life of a child.

This is no matter for wonder. But it is a matter for regret. The confusion between physical and spiritual maturity, which is the chief hindrance to the emancipative growth of the soul, is (as a rule) sub-conscious rather than conscious, "real" rather than "notional". The forces that are maturing the adolescent's physique are also tending to hurry on, and therefore to stunt and otherwise distort, his spiritual development. In other words, they are tending to pre-mature his personality, and so


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to delude him into the belief that when he is "grown up" the process of his self-realisation will have reached its final term. This tendency is aggravated by education. In words which I have used elsewhere: "The dogmatic pressure to which we subject the child, by forbidding him to exercise his higher faculties, closes to him the one sure way of escape from self, the way of growth and outgrowth. Or, if it does not actually close that way, it so obstructs it as to .compel the very impulse that makes for growth to become the gaoler instead of the liberator of the child's expanding life. For, as that impulse continues to operate from within, even when the narrowest limits are being imposed upon it from without, the dogmatic education which thwarts the growth of the higher self must need force its victim into premature maturity, and build up in him a stunted, hardened, and deformed personality which he will readily mistake for his true self."

And, to make matters worse, the very lines of his stunted personality will be determined for him by the pressure to which he will be subjected. Had that pressure merely been applied to him at this point or at that, or even on this side or on that, the shaping of his personality, within its restricted limits, might have been left in the main to the natural forces that are at work in his soul. But the adult who educates, if he is not trying to make his pupil a mere replica of himself, is at any rate doing his best to mould him into "a set form", the form into which he himself has been moulded, the form which is characteristic of his own generation, and is itself a modification of that traditional


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type which has come down to us through a hundred generations, and with which we are all so familiar that we habitually speak of it as "human nature."

"Human nature". How glibly do we use those words, and how seldom do we pause to ask ourselves what they mean! Those who use them most glibly are fond of telling us that "you cannot change human nature". They seem to regard this as a self-evident truth. If it were so, if human nature were indeed unchangeable, if it had indeed arrived at finality, what hope would there be for the human race? The best that we could hope for would be that the materialised civilisation of the Twentieth Century should prolong itself indefinitely. This would be a dreary prospect. Yet we should be over sanguine if we allowed ourselves to entertain it. The inevitable sequel to finality in development is incipient decay. The man who tells you that you cannot change human nature, and yet professes to believe in "progress", is deluding himself with a vain dream; for nothing but a capacity for continuous transformation from within can save human nature from the doom which, to the vision of Lucretius, was in course of accomplishment:

Nec tenet omnia paulatim tabescere, et ire
Ad scopulurn, spatia setatis defessa vetusto.
We may add discovery to discovery and invention to invention, but no elaboration of our over-elaborate machinery of life can save human nature, if it has indeed reached its maturity, from dying of old age.

But education does more than perpetuate the


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misconception of the meaning of life which centres in the conventional use of the words "human nature". It does more than provide a general design to which the prison of self is to be built. It does more than consolidate the walls of the prison and strengthen its defences. By systematically weakening the will of the child during his progress towards maturity, it does its best to make his escape from self impossible.

Education weakens the child's will by unduly restricting his freedom of choice. This is a point on which there is much misunderstanding. From time to time letters and articles appear in the public press, in which the enforcement of strict quasi-military discipline in school is recommended as the only remedy for the anarchical tendencies of the present age. The writers of these letters are the victims of a dangerous confusion of thought. They seem to think that, if children are vigorously drilled when in school, they will be able to discipline themselves when they go out into the world. This is exactly what they will not be able to do. The discipline of drill secures order, so far as it does secure it, by weakening the will, not by strengthening it. The anarchical tendencies of the present day are as much an effect of disciplinary repression as a protest against it. This sounds like a paradox; but it is really the statement of an obvious fact. When persons whose will-power has been weakened by coercive discipline begin to rebel against the dogmatic régime to which, in the interest of social order, human life has so long been subjected, their inability to discipline themselves will necessarily tend to generate


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anarchical confusion, and may even threaten society with a relapse into chaos. The most perfect product of coercive discipline is the well-drilled private in a Prussian regiment. But this admirable soldier - (if, indeed, he be admirable, for I believe there are now doubts on that point) - owes his efficiency to the fact that he has no will of his own, that he is a creature of habit, that he is a machine rather than a man. Whenever it is desirable, as in war, that large numbers of men should be the creatures of one man's will, then strict discipline of the type which is known as military is indispensable; but it is a mistake to suppose that to be treated as pawns on a chessboard is a good influence in the lives of those who have to submit to it. It is obviously undesirable, except for special reasons, that large numbers of men should be the creatures of one man's will; and the training which makes the Prussian private an efficient fighting-machine may well make him a poor specimen of humanity. For the only discipline which is of true and lasting value is the discipline of self-control, the discipline which a man whose will is strong and elastic is able to impose on himself.

The discipline of drill, which is a necessary concomitant of dogmatic education, weakens the will by restricting it to a single choice, the choice between obedience and disobedience to a series of formulated commands. These commands are enforced by the threat of punishment, so that even in making his one choice, the child, like the Prussian soldier, who is liable to be shot for disobedience, can scarcely be said to be free. That


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a restriction of choice which falls short by only one degree of physical compulsion must needs weaken the will of the chooser, is a point on which I need not insist. The invariable tendency of want of exercise is to atrophy the unexercised limb, or organ, or power, or faculty. And we know, as a matter of experience, that the supreme achievement of military discipline - the end which it may almost be said to set before itself, the end towards which quasi-military discipline is always tending - is the substitution of mechanical for vital energy, of the force of habit for the force of will.

It is true that in exceptional cases dogmatic pressure on the will may give it the semblance of strength. The effect on the will of undue restriction of choice is to make it rigid, to deprive it of the natural elasticity which is the counterpart of healthy and vigorous growth. Then of two things one. If the rigid will happens to be tough in fibre, it will probably stiffen into the obstinacy which resists pressure on principle, and so either intensifies the force of habit (by being proof against all emancipative influences), or become subservient to a lawless life. If it happens to be flaccid in fibre, it will harden into brittleness, and will yield to pressure by breaking, by ceasing to be. He who resists pressure on principle may flatter himself that he is strong; but the stiffness of obstinacy is not true strength. The will which has no spontaneity or adaptiveness, which even in its rebelliousness is dependent on other wills for its initiative, is weak in its very stubbornness, and will certainly be useless for a great adventure such as that of escaping from self.


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I have said that the door of the prison of self admits of being unlocked, but only by a resolute effort of will. The longer a man sojourns in that prison, under the belief that he has found an abiding home, the harder will it be for him to turn the key of liberation, which must needs grow rusty with protracted disuse. What hope of escape, then, is there for the victim of the conventional type of education, which, by repressing spontaneous growth, shuts up the soul in the prison of its own stunted and misshapen self, and, by atrophying its will, closes against it the door of escape? And what judgment shall we pass on those who, in the sacred name of education, apply this deadening pressure to the child and the adolescent, and then flatter themselves that they have duly moulded his character and disciplined his will? We have been told by one who taught with authority that systematic resistance to the vitalising work of the Holy Spirit is the sin for which there is no forgiveness. And we can understand why this stern sentence had to be pronounced. The sin against the Holy Spirit, the deliberate refusal to grow, is unforgivable, partly because it is a sin against life, against Nature, against the ideal, against destiny, against God, partly because of inner necessity it eternally punishes itself. But if to thwart the work of the Holy Spirit in one's own life is so deadly a sin, what degree of guilt attaches to those who thwart that life-giving work in the lives of others? When Christ denounced the sin against the Holy Spirit, was he thinking of the Pharisee, whom he certainly had in his mind, as the externalist who had de-spiritualised his


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own life, or as the dogmatist who sought to de-spiritualise the life of his neighbour?

Perhaps as both; for the egoism which is the very counterpart of the unforgivable sin inclines the sinner to impose his own life of resistance to Divine Grace on all who come within the sphere of his influence. The Pharisee, in his zeal against the sinfulness of meticulous disobedience, became himself the chief of sinners. But his sin is the besetting sin of the human race. And if we, who spend the best part of our lives in thwarting the quickening impulses of the Spirit, whether in ourselves or in others, are to plead for forgiveness, our plea must be that we know not what we do.

Who, then, can be saved? If by salvation we mean emancipation from self, we may well ask this question. For many things - the pressure of our own physical tendencies, the pressure of environment, the pressure of education - conspire to make us confuse our bodily with our spiritual "coming of age", and base our lives on this fundamental mistake. But Nature has in reserve one mighty emancipative influence from which no life is wholly exempt - the passion of love. The ardent lover, the devoted child or parent, the disinterested friend, the poet or artist who has consecrated himself to an ideal, the prophet or reformer who has lost himself in a great cause - each of these has for a while escaped from the prison of self, the door of which has been flung wide open as at the bidding of an angel. For self-loss with rapture is of the very essence of love; and if the passion could keep itself free


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from every taint of self, the deliverance which it works would be complete, and the Kingdom of God would be established on earth.

But what a devastating, life-wrecking, soul-destroying passion is love! What crimes, what follies, what miseries, what madnesses must be laid to its charge! If the history of the passion of sexual love could be written, it would be a scroll full of lamentation and mourning and woe - an endless procession of transports of devotion, prodigies of self-surrender, deeds of heroism, but also of fierce quarrels, wanton estrangements, furious revenges, treacherous plots, duels, murders, homicides. How often has the lover, in the madness of his passion, taken his own life or the life of his beloved, or both! And how easily does the passion of love transform itself into the counter-passion of hatred! Even when love is non-sexual, it is a fertile source of mischief-making, misunderstanding, intrigue, and ill-will. For jealousy, as we know from experience, is the evil genius of love; and jealousy is a new egoism which has borrowed passionateness from the passion which it haunts and shadows. As the lover, inflamed by jealousy, becomes a homicidal maniac, so the devoted friend, in his selfish desire for exclusive possession, stirs up strife between the object of his affection and other persons who also have claims on his (or her) friendship, thereby bringing trouble into the life which he desires to make happy. Nor is degeneration into jealousy the only danger to which love is exposed. It is possible for two lovers or two friends to be so absorbed in one another that their love, which will probably be short-lived, becomes an égöisme à deux. And the


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absorption of the artist in his work may well make him inconsiderate of others, even of those who have strong claims upon him, and may end by sucking him down into the vortex of self.

How can these things be? Why does the passion of love, which is the most emancipative, and therefore the most purifying and moralising, of all influences, so often pollute and devastate the lives of those whom it masters? Because of the ingrained egoism of our stunted and misdeveloped nature, which blinds us to the real meaning and purpose of love:

Learn by a mortal yearning to ascend,
Seeking a higher object. Love was given,
Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for that end,
For this the passion to excess was driven -
That self might be annulled: her bondage prove
The fetters of a dream, opposed to love.
He who has no capacity for self-annulment is unworthy of love; and when it comes to him, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing. The angel of love may indeed fling open the door of his prison, and draw him out for a brief season into the open air of self-forgetfulness; but sooner or later the desire for the comfort and security of his prison-home will get the better of him, and when he returns to it, taking love (as he believes) with him, he will find that love has remained outside, and that a demon, simulating her angel-face, has come in with him in her stead. Then the door that had been flung open will swing back with a violence which will perhaps derange its working, and so imprison him behind it for ever.

Let us change our imagery, taking care not to lean too heavily on the new simile. Let us think of the self as a river returning to the sea from


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which it came. The river, meeting with natural obstacles, has a tendency to silt up its channel at various points; and education, instead of helping it by judicious guidance to scour out the channel and so control the flow of its waters, obstructs its course by throwing a barrier across it, behind which its waters gather and rise till at last it creeps through the lake which they have formed, with a scarcely perceptible current, and with but a trickling outlet to its own after-course. In this peaceful lake it dwells contentedly, imagining that it has achieved finality, that it has found its true self. What will happen when the freshet of a passionate love descends upon it? If the containing dam, reinforced by the silt which the stream keeps on depositing, is strong enough to hold back the surging waters, they will cause vast inundations behind it. If it is not strong enough, they will either wreck it or sweep it away, and rushing on beyond it will cause vast inundations along the lower course of the river. In either case the river will devastate what it ought to fertilise, and bring ruin and disease where it ought to bring prosperity and health. And what is even worse from our present point of view is that the waters which have overflowed their natural channel and flooded the land on either side, have missed their destiny and will never reach the sea.

How are these calamities to be averted? How is the best use to be made of the emancipative power of love? By keeping the channel of the river open and clean. This is what each of us should try to do for himself. This is what each of us should try to do for others, so far as it is in his power to help and influence them. This is what Nature is


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always trying to do; and this is what she invites us to co-operate with her in doing. For when we say that human nature comes under the master-law of growth, we imply that it is natural for a man to outgrow his actual self; we imply, in other words, that it is natural for a man to go out of himself into the lives of other men, and of other living things, and even into inanimate things and impersonal aspects of Nature. Now we call the tendency to go out of oneself into other lives sympathy; and we call the tendency to go out of oneself into the impersonal world interest. Here, then, we have two expansive and emancipative tendencies which are at work (actually or potentially) in all of us, and which seem to be of the essence of our common humanity: and it is in this way that Nature tries to provide for the channel of self being kept open and clean; for nothing can scour that channel so effectually as the steady movement through it of the waters of sympathy and interest.

Nature asks us to co-operate with her in keeping open the channel of self by promoting the flow of those waters. What response do we, as educators, make to her appeal? Instead of trying to quicken the flow of the waters of sympathy and interest, and help them to shape and scour their own channel, we do our best to dam them back, to head them off into stagnant canals or lagoons, to keep them out of the main channel of the river, to cut them off from intercourse with the rising tide of the sea. The outgrowth of sympathy in the child we repress in many ways. Our own attitude towards him is too often unsympathetic; and just as a mother's love awakens the response of love


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in an infant, so an unsympathetic attitude on the part of the parent or teacher checks the outgrowth of sympathy in the child, partly by setting him a bad example, partly by introducing a chilling, depressing influence into the atmosphere of the home or the school. Instead of allowing a social life to evolve itself among children, in which their sympathetic instincts would have free play, we impose a social régime on them in which intercourse between the child and an autocratic teacher takes the place of the natural intercourse between child and child. And so far as intercourse between child and child is encouraged, we make the basis of it competitive rather than co-operative; for not only do we strictly forbid the child to give any help to his class-mates during school hours, but also, in order to make up for our own inability to interest him in his work, we try to rouse him to exertion by compelling him to compete with his class-mates for marks, places in class, prizes, and other distinctions, and therefore to regard them as rivals and potential enemies instead of as comrades and friends. Interest we discourage on principle, for we think that to be interested in "lessons" or any other kind of work is a bad preparation for the drudgery of life. In any case we discourage it in practice; for by setting the child tasks in which he will not be allowed to see a meaning, by stifling his natural curiosity, by thwarting his instinctive desire to overcome difficulties and solve problems by his own unaided effort, by unduly narrowing the circle of his studies, by ignoring his individual tastes and inclinations, by making him work against rather than with the


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grain of his nature, we go far towards destroying his interest in the things that surround him, and therefore towards awakening and stimulating his interest in himself.

What will happen to the child who has been the victim of such a training, when he reaches the threshold of manhood? The channel of his life, being no longer scoured by the steady flow of the waters of sympathy and interest, will begin to silt up in various places, and otherwise fall into disrepair. Then, when the passion of love descends upon it with torrential violence, great inundations will ensue, in which the flooding waters, which ought to have helped the fiver to realise its destiny, will be wasted, and worse than wasted, and the channel itself will perhaps be wrecked.

But will not the strict discipline to which the child has been subjected enable the man to master his passions? Alas, no: it will have exactly the opposite effect; for it will have fatally weakened his will, the will that restrains, as well as the will that initiates. Self-control, in the true sense of the word - the self-control which is vital rather than automatic - is the outcome of self-discipline, not of the discipline of drill: The victim of the latter type of discipline may, indeed, be able to oppose to the surging waters of passion the barrier of compulsorily formed habit; but in the season of storm and stress, and more especially when a new passion has waked into sudden activity, the barrier of habit will prove but a poor substitute for the barrier of a living will.

A brief re-statement of the contents of this


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chapter will enable us to realise how education - the despotic, dogmatic education with which we are all familiar - sins against the Holy Spirit. It is given to Man, it is given to each man, to help or hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in his soul, the quickening work of his own true self, of his heart's ideal, of the life of his inmost life. With this fateful choice comes the strong temptation to misuse it. For the outgrowth of self-consciousness, which makes that desire possible, is accompanied by the outgrowth of a spurious self which has a delusive air of completeness and finality, and which therefore tempts the pilgrim to regard it as the goal of his journey, and to abandon his divine quest. The outgrowth of this spurious self is largely due to the pressure on the individual of the forces which are maturing his physique, a pressure which tends both to divert the stream of his life into the channel of bodily growth, and to generate in his mind a confusion between his physical and his spiritual maturity. The true function of education is to foster the growth of the child's whole being - of the mental, moral, social, and spiritual sides of it, as well as of the physical - and so counteract the pre-maturing influence of physical adolescence on his undeveloped personality. Instead of fulfilling this function, education, by taking complete control of the child's life, and repressing all his spontaneous activities, does its best to thwart and stunt the growth of his whole being, and in doing so compels the forces that are making for his higher and wider growth to co-operate with his physical tendencies in building up and consolidating a self which he


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will be tempted to accept as final, and to rest in for the remainder of his life.

This is the first sin that education commits against the Holy Spirit. One result of it is that there are few persons who do not in the early years of their adult life dwell for a while in the prison of self. If they are to escape from that prison, in response to a secret sense of dissatisfaction which sooner or later will awake in them, either they must be able to turn the key of the prison door, or the door must be flung open for them by the magic touch of the passion of love. The key will always yield to the force of will; but the longer it remain unturned, the rustier it will become, and the greater the force that will be needed to turn it. With fatal foresight education does its best to atrophy the will, and so deprive the prisoner of the power of opening his prison door. For by always limiting the action of the will to a single choice - the choice between obedience and disobedience to direct and detailed commands - it robs the will of its vital elasticity, and so either weakens it into brittleness or stiffens it into sullen obstinacy.

This is the second sin against the Holy Spirit. The third is perhaps the deadliest of the three. When the passion of love, like a spate in the Highlands, comes down the channel of the individual life, it will do one of two things. If the channel has been kept open and clean, it will liberate the flagging current and speed it on its way to the sea. If the channel has been obstructed or even neglected, it will cause great floods which will spread ruin far and wide. The true function of education is to keep the channel open and clean


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by promoting the steady flow of the waters of sympathy and interest, and so to prepare the way for the emancipative work of love. Its actual function is to repress sympathy and interest till the current of life, growing ever feebler and slacker, gradually silts up its own channel, with the result that when the floods descend wreckage and devastation will mark their track. This is no mere forecast of what might happen. There are no tragedies so terrible as those of love; and most of them are due to the passion of love entering the life of one whose nature is unsympathetic and whose chief interest is in self. In such a case nothing can avert a catastrophe but self-control; and it is idle to expect one who, during the years of childhood and adolescence, was systematically controlled by others, to acquire at a moment's notice, and in the stress of a great crisis, the power of controlling himself.

These three sins against the Holy Spirit are in their essence one. Whether we think of education as arresting growth, as atrophying will, or as repressing sympathy and interest, we see that its main function is that of waging war against those expansive and emancipative influences by means of which the Divine ideal seeks to realise itself in the soul of man.

Has not the time come for us to reconsider our attitude towards the great problems of life? We are prone, as I have already suggested, to invest the soul with a static rather than a dynamic individuality, to think of it as a still, self-contained pond rather than as an ever-flowing river - the arc of an infinite curve. When we plan out our lives,


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we ascribe finality to the "self" in which we happen to be resting; and instead of helping the soul to outgrow itself, instead of reminding it that flux, movement, transformation is its true life, we do all that lies in our power to minister to its self-satisfaction, to persuade it that its resting-place is its appointed home. When we dream of Heaven, we picture it to ourselves as a blissful state in which the soul that is "saved" will repose for ever, not as the emancipation of the soul from the trammels of a narrower existence, and the widening out of its being into an ampler and intenser life. What wonder that, with such ideals before it, education should think only of building up the banks and cementing the bed of the pond of self, and should give no thought to helping the imprisoned waters to reach the sea?

The material progress of the age dazzles and intoxicates us. We seem to be standing on a dizzy pinnacle of achievement. We look around us, and fear that soon no world will be left for us to conquer. Yet social discontent is at this moment stronger, bitterer, and more general than it has ever been, its advance in recent years having more than kept pace with the triumphant advance of discovery and invention; and the shadow of an impending revolution, to be followed perhaps by the downfall of our "unrivalled civilisation" and a gradual relapse into social chaos, is beginning to darken our lives. To find a remedy for this malignant social disorder is our most pressing need; and many minds are at work on the complex problem of social reform. But one thing is certain. If we continue to neglect, or rather to thwart, the spiritual


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development of the individual, our schemes of social reform will come to nothing. For when self-interest, in the narrower sense of the word, becomes the only motive to which it is possible to appeal, no scheme of reform, however ingenious, can save society from disintegrating, little by little, into a "heap of jarring atoms".

The spiritual development of the individual - this is the greatest and most insistent of all problems. By comparison with it, the problems that are concerned with the machinery of life - the problems of the engineer, the chemist, the biologist, the economist, even the sociologist - are of small account. And as it is in childhood and adolescence that the individual is either made or marred, it is to education that we must look to save society by fostering the growth of the individual soul. The philosophy of life which embodied itself in dogmatic creeds and ceremonial systems has done its work and had its day. The future of the human race is in the hands of the teacher, not the priest. Or rather, as in the Middle Ages the teacher was absorbed into the priest, so in the future the priest will have to be absorbed into the teacher.

We are confronted by one of the "vicious" practical circles in which human life is again and again involved. The stability of society is imperilled by the inadequacy of the current philosophy of life. The spiritual development of the individual can alone avert the impending peril. As the spiritual development of the individual is thwarted rather than fostered by education, a new philosophy of education is needed if society is to be reformed. But our attitude toward education


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is dependent, as we have seen, on our general attitude towards life; and it is therefore clear that if we are to reform our philosophy of education we must first reform our philosophy of life.

There is but one way out of this impasse. No jugglery of logic can undo the Gordian knot; but the sword of spiritual effort can cut it. Let us try to reform our systems of education, in defiance of the adverse influences emanating from the false ideals that dominate our life. And let us try to change our attitude towards life, in defiance of the adverse influences emanating from the false ideals that dominate our systems of education. For whatever we may do in the way of reforming education will sooner or later re-act on our philosophy of life. And whatever we may do in the way of changing our attitude towards life will sooner or later re-act on our philosophy of education.

Meanwhile, whether we are living ourselves or helping others to live, we can at least try to accustom ourselves to take a dynamic rather than a static view of life. The difference between the two views is, in the last resort, the difference between life and death. To live to the static self is spiritual death. To live to the dynamic self is eternal life. For to live to the dynamic self is at last to lose oneself in love. I have spoken of love as a soul-wrecking, life-devastating passion. This, alas, it can be; but this is not what it really is. In itself, in its inmost essence, love is the one sure solvent of finality, the cause and the proof of complete emancipation from self, the triumph of self-realisation, the "law" and the goal of the infinite "series" of life. It is all this, and perhaps


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it is something more than this. As love is the supreme principle of unity in Nature (for to love is to become one with another life), so it is the supreme principle of mobility (for to love is to transcend the ever-receding limits of self), and therefore of change, of expansion, of growth. And love itself obeys the two-fold law which it imposes on the Universe. The passion of personal love, as it descends the channel of the individual life - a channel which has been kept open by sympathy, and walled in by self-control - is ever transforming itself into the passion of impersonal love - love of the Ideal, love of the Divine or Universal Self, love of Love. When love has widened out into the love of Love, the escape from self is absolute, the triumph over self is complete.

What is my self? A river gliding past,
With ever-widening stream, from source to sea.
O sea to which all rivers glide at last,
I am not I till I am one with thee.
I am not I till, loosed from self's control,
I cease to be, and love absorbs my soul.





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APPENDIX A

MY AUDIENCE

PROFESSOR ADAMS, a fair and courteous critic, who reviewed my book in the British Weekly, seems to think that I am preaching to those who are already converted. He tells me that "the doctrine of self-realisation is a commonplace of the present-day theory of education"; and having quoted the following sentence from my book: "The Western educationist will admit, then, that the function of education is to further growth: and if you ask him what it is that grows, or ought to grow, under education's fostering care, he will give you a long list of faculties - mental for the most part, but also moral and physical - and then break off under the impression that he has set education an adequate and practical task"; he goes on to say:

Now it may safely be replied that the Western educationist of today would do nothing of the kind. To begin with, he would not only admit, but would vigorously maintain, that the first business of education is to foster growth, though he would probably prefer to call it development. This, indeed, is the fundamental idea underlying all modern theories of education. Then he would certainly not give a long list of faculties. He would rather insist on the essential unity of the soul - and he would not be at all apologetic, as Mr. Holmes is, in using the unifying term. Anyone who turns to the Psychology of Education, published the other day by Professor Welton, will find an example of the way in which the Western

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educationist will answer the question suggested in the text.
Professor Adams evidently thinks that the "educationists" whom I had in my mind were experts like himself and Professor Welton. Let me assure him that this is not so. My book was written, not for professors or other "educational experts", but for the "general public". I am not so vain as to imagine that I can instruct professors of education, whose standpoint is necessarily different from mine, and whose learning I could never hope to equal. Besides, I am debarred from talking to them by my inability to speak their language. Professor Adams says that my "psychology is sadly behind the times"; that I "write quite contentedly in the phraseology of the Faculty School". I have, I admit, used the word "faculty" rather freely; and my excuse is that I was talking, as I imagined, to plain, unsophisticated persons like myself, persons who were in the habit of using the word "faculty" much as I use it - generalIy, in a sense which is easily defined and has been sanctioned by centuries of usage, and in each particular case, in a sense which the context would make sufficiently clear; in other words, that I was writing (or trying to write) literature, not science, and that I was using this, and other such words, without any metaphysical or psychological arrière pensée whatever.

I had another reason for not addressing myself to the "educationists" whom Professor Adams had in his mind. These eminent men do not control our schools and colleges; and in spite of their wisdom and learning, they seem, on Professor Adams' own showing, to exercise but little influence on the development of education. When Professor Adams tells me that "the doctrine of self-realisation is a commonplace of the present theory of education" and that the "Western educationist will vigorously maintain that the business of


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education is to foster growth", I can but ask him in reply why it is that in nine schools out of ten - at the lowest estimate - the function of education is to hinder growth and make self-realisation (in the true sense of the word) impossible? Why are the theories of Professor Adams and his fellow-educationists so strangely ineffective? Is it because they are formulated in a language which is not understanded of the people? Or is it because the educationists themselves are content to hold them as theories, and make no serious attempt to translate them into practice? Or can it be they do not realise the full sense and obligation of those "commonplace" doctrines - do not realise, for example, that self-realisation is impossible except in an atmosphere of freedom, and that if, for reasons of State, we think it desirable to "institutionalise" the child, we must not expect him to grow?

It was to "the people" that my book was addressed. I wished to appeal to the real educationists, the persons who are, de facto if not de jure, in control of education in this country - to parents, first and foremost, to teachers of all grades, to school-managers, clerical and lay, to members of Education Committees, to directors of education and other local officials, to M.P.'s and other politicians, to taxpayers and ratepayers, and - last, but not least - to those who write letters about education in the columns of the daily and weekly press. If those people were to understand me, it was essential that I should meet them on their own platform, accept their own ideas about education as a basis of discussion, suggest to them other ideas which, though familiar to Professor Adams' "educationists", would probably be unfamiliar to most of them, and talk to them in the language of everyday life, instead of in a quasi-scientific jargon. Professor Adams refers me to Professor


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Welton's book on the Psychology of Education. I know and honour Professor Welton; and I have no doubt that his book is valuable and instructive. But is it being read? And, if so, by whom? That it is being read, with due appreciation, by other educational experts, I can well believe. And it is probable that many of the students in our Training Colleges are studying it under compulsion, and getting it up for examinations. But how about the wider public, to whom, speaking as a layman to laymen, I chiefly appealed? Are parents, teachers, politicians, and the rest reading Professor Welton's excellent book? And is it really influencing education?

The truth is that the scope of education is as wide as that of life; and that the rank and file of the people are as little disposed to listen to the professional expert when he lectures them on education, as to those who might lecture them from professorial chairs on the science and art of living. The indirect influence of the educational expert (1) is no doubt considerable, especially when he takes to practical research work, as Professor Findlay, Professor Culverwell, and others are now doing. But as a rule it operates slowly; and meanwhile the generations come and go, and principles which are "the common heritage of our age - i.e. of all the professors of education - are more honoured in the breach than the observance, owing to the inability of those who expound them to bring them home to a wide audience.

(1) It is an interesting and significant fact that the "Montessori system", which has attracted so much interest in England, the United States, and other countries, and which bids fair to revolutionise the education of young children, is the work of a scientist, not of an "educational expert".


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APPENDIX B

CRITICS AND CRITICISM

A REVOLUTIONARY movement is in its essence a protest against existing ideals and standards. Hence the bitter hostility which it is certain to arouse. And hence the futility of much of the criticism which will be directed against it.

Those who have long lived and moved in the traditions of an old régime can scarcely fail to regard with horror and indignation the revolutionary who tells them at the outset that the old régime is radically wrong - that it may once have had a meaning and a purpose, but that, owing to its inherent defects, it is unable to adapt itself to the changing conditions of human life, and is therefore now poisoning the social organism which it professes to control and sustain. In taking up this attitude, the revolutionary declares war against a whole host of vested interests, not material interests only, but also and more especially spiritual interests of various kinds - habits of thought, of sentiment, of life, implicit judgments, unconscious aims, intellectual standpoints, ethical and social standards, religious beliefs and practices, accepted "theories of things". When interests of this kind are attacked, one's first impulse is to rise up in one's wrath and denounce the prophet of the new movement as irreligious, immoral, anti-social, anarchical, and the rest, before one has heard what he has to say in defence, or even in elucidation, of his incendiary ideas. For to ask men to reconsider their whole attitude towards life is to threaten the most sacred


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of all vested interests - the right to sleep the deep sleep of established "orthodoxy", and must needs array against itself one of the strongest of all natural forces - the spiritual indolence which is human nature's besetting sin.

The besetting sin of each one of us. The radical is as much in bondage to it as the conservative, the brilliant "intellectual" as the slave of habit and routine. Indeed, I sometimes think that the man who prides himself on his enlightenment is of all men the least accessible to new ideas. For the one great effort which he made to overcome his spiritual indolence, when he emancipated himself from thraldom to the particular orthodoxy in which he was brought up, seems to have completely exhausted him; and having built himself a new house of thought, he asks for nothing better than to live peacefully in it for the rest of his days. The conservative who has never given a serious thought to the beliefs and implicit assumptions which have surrounded him from his birth, and to which he still subscribes, from the force of habit rather than of conviction, may conceivably open his mind, under the stress of a new experience, to the influence of a revolutionary idea. But the enlightened intellectual who has settled down into an "orthodoxy" of his own is bitterly hostile to the innovator who threatens to disturb his peace of mind, and is ready to reject on à priori grounds whatever in the way of thought or speculation or even experience may be at variance with his adopted creed, or may possibly prove to be beyond the horizon of its standpoint. Like the scientist who refuses a hearing to those who tell him of phenomena "which official science has not authorised Nature to produce", he resents the idea of there being anything in heaven or earth which has not been dreamed of and duly provided for in his philosophy, of there being any genuine light except what flows


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from his own petty lamp. He does not realise that in the eternal struggle between egoism and idealism, which is the real drama of Man's existence, the soul can never afford to stand still, and that, however progressive may be his philosophy of life, if he allows himself to rest in it, and so abandons the quest of the ideal, it will harden into a new dogmatism, as rigid and intolerant as that which he has disowned, and he will re-enter the prison of self, which will henceforth hold him the more securely because he believes himself to be free.

I write as one who is championing a revolutionary movement in one of the most vital of all matters - the bringing up of the young - a movement which, in its attempt to get to bedrock, threatens to undermine the very foundations of our Western scheme of life. My journalistic critics have been kinder to my book than I had any right to expect, partly, no doubt, because the prevailing discontent with the fruits of education had predisposed them to welcome suggestions of reform; and letters expressing sympathy and appreciation have reached me from all parts of the English-speaking world. But I do not allow the friendly words of my critics and correspondents to blind my eyes to the fact that the cause which I am supporting will have to face the bitter hostility of the old orthodoxy - the orthodoxy of those who "are strong in custom" - and the still bitterer hostility of the new orthodoxies - for they are many - of those who have emancipated themselves from the old. For criticism, then, of all kinds - criticism from many quarters, criticism friendly and unfriendly, criticism fair and unfair, criticism intelligent and unintelligent - I am and have been fully prepared: and I welcome the criticism, whatever form it may take, which will set me thinking; for I know that, in my attempt to meet reasonable objections, I shall be


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compelled to meditate more closely and penetratingly than I have yet attempted to do on the great principle of self-education, and shall thereby gain a better understanding of its scope and meaning, and a deeper insight into its latent resources.

There are, however, two kinds of criticism which I must protest against at the outset, chiefly because they are so obviously unfair that, besides being ineffective from the critic's point of view, they are in no way helpful to me. The first is the tendency to regard any defect in a new system as fatal to the system as a whole. The second is the tendency to condemn a new system because it fails to satisfy standards the validity of which it emphatically denies.

I will say a few words about each of these. We are all apt to be tolerant of our own shortcomings and intolerant of those of others. The reason of this is, not that we are incurable egoists, but that we know the worst about ourselves and do not know the worst about others. I am lenient to myself when I do wrong, for I know that after all there is some good in me, and that my failings are due to weakness rather than to the corruption of my heart. But if I find that my neighbour has done the very same thing which I readily pardon in myself, in my ignorance of what is behind his action I begin to suspect that it may be a symptom of deep-seated moral depravity, or at any rate of some grave moral defect.

So, too, we are tolerant of our own national failings, and intolerant of the failings of other nations, especially of those whose outlook on life differs widely from our own. We are horrified, for example, by the vices of Chinamen and Japanese, whereas our own equivalent vices, which are quite as odious, we accept with easy complaisance, regarding them as of the essence of "human nature", or even as dispensations of Providence, to be


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deplored perhaps, but also to be accepted with fatalistic resignation akin to that which consoled "Holy Willie" for the affliction of his "fleshly thorn":

If sae, thy hand maun e'en be borne
Until thou lift it.
And the reason of this is that we are well accustomed to our own national vices, and know pretty accurately the conditions of life which have fostered them, the extent to which they prevail, and the degree of demoralisation which they indicate; whereas we are not well acquainted with the vices of the Far East, and do not know what is behind them, and do not in the least understand the general conditions of life which might throw light on their genesis and otherwise help to explain them.

The same tendency is at work whenever a new system, a new way of doing things, challenges one which has long held the field. The defects of the latter may be many and grave; but they have so woven themselves into our everyday life that we have begun to take them for granted, and have almost ceased to regard them as defects. But if we can point to any defect in the new system, we at once assume that there are many more behind it, and so jump to the conclusion that the system as whole is unsound. Hence it is that our readiness to acquiesce in the radical defects of our own system of education, defects which go to the roots of human life, and the fatal consequences of which meet us at every turn, is only equalled by the vigilance with which we detect and expose any feature in the Montessori system (or any other embodiment of the dawning idea of child emancipation) which seems to be open to criticism, and by the rapidity with which we make up our minds that the new system is unworkable, and that the idea which inspires it is chimerical.


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What makes criticism of this type the more unfair is that the standard by which we measure defects in the new order of things almost invariably belongs to the old. This takes me to the second kind of unfair criticism, the futility of which ought to be self-evident, but which seems to be regarded as unanswerable by those who practise it. So well accustomed are we to our own standards of value, that even when they are directly challenged we instinctively appeal to them in our controversy with those who challenge them, and are unable to see that in doing so we are begging the question at issue and merely re-emphasising our own assumptions and prejudices.

For example: when a teacher who has worked in an Infant School of the ordinary type enters a Montessori classroom for the first time, she will probably be shocked by the entire absence of the discipline to which she has been accustomed. The children are doing what they please, saying what they please, and moving about as they please. The consequent noise and apparent disorder will perhaps offend her, and she may feel disposed to condemn the school as undisciplined and disorderly, and to pronounce against the system which has produced such unsatisfactory results. But were she to do this, she would be begging one of the most vital of the questions that are in dispute between the old education and the new. For Dr. Montessori, and those who think with her, are in open revolt against the discipline of passivity and immobility, which they regard as rigid, repressive, mechanical, and devitalising; and the teacher who finds fault with a Montessori class because its discipline is not of that type, is, therefore, judging the system by a standard which it repudiates on principle, and condemning as a defect what, from its own point of view, is a merit.

There is a third kind of criticism which is near of


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kin to the second, and from which the "new education" suffers much. The critic takes a particular feature of the new system, abstracts it from its own context, dumps it down in the middle of the old system, and then condemns it and the system to which it belongs because it refuses to harmonise with its new surroundings.

For example: a teacher who has long kept his pupils in leading strings, suddenly, without any preparation, and without making any attempt to adjust the general régime of his school to the demands of so sweeping a change, gives freedom (or what passes for such) to the higher classes, and tells them to go as they please. The result is, of course, that the school becomes a bear-garden, and that no effective work is done. Educationists who are wedded to the old order of things, hearing of this fiasco, at once jump to the conclusion that the idea of giving freedom to children is radically unsound. They do not see that the repressive discipline which had so long prevailed in the school had unfitted the scholars for freedom, and that any relaxation of that discipline ought to have been gradually introduced, prepared for by suitable changes in the curriculum and timetable, and surrounded with due precautions and safeguards. If you lame a child by deliberately atrophying his muscles, you must, of course, provide him with crutches; and if you repent of having lamed him, you will not, unless you are a lunatic, try to prove your penitence by taking away his crutches and telling him to go as he pleases.

Again, it sometimes happens that a teacher, on the advice of an inspector, tries to get his higher classes to work up history and geography by themselves. The results are probably unsatisfactory, for the simple reason that the children, who for years have sat still and listened to lectures, have no aptitude for independent study and do not even


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know how to use a book. Does it follow that the root idea of self-education is wrong? By no means. What is wrong is the type of education which reduces children to such a state of helplessness and dependence that they cannot do anything for themselves.

As I have already said, I welcome the searching criticism which sets me thinking and puts me on the defensive; for nothing is so conducive to a right understanding of one's own ideas as to be compelled to justify them to other persons. But criticism which is so unfair as to be transparently illogical I must be allowed to ignore; for it will not give me the guidance and stimulus which I have a right to look for from my critics - it will not help me to criticise myself.




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APPENDIX C

SUNDRY CRITICISMS

1. The true function of education

ONE of my reviewers, whose exact words I am unfortunately unable to quote, says with refreshing candour that the true function of education, as every sensible man knows, is to make children do what they naturally hate doing.

I am sure there are many enemies of the "Primrose Path" who share this sentiment, but lack the courage to give open expression to it. These lovers of the old order of things are, no doubt, grateful to my critic for his outspokenness. So am I.
2. Discipline and government

Some of my critics seem to think that in my ideal school no child is ever required to obey an order.

What an absurd misconception! Even in this freest of free countries the adult who is rich enough and independent enough to be "his own master" has to obey many orders, indirectly if not directly; for wherever he goes, he finds that there are laws to be kept and regulations to be observed. If he travels by train, he must obey that comparatively humble official, the guard. If he drives his motor-car through the streets of London, he must defer to the lifted hand of the policeman. Wherever there is government, there are orders to be issued and obeyed. A wise government does

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not needlessly multiply orders, but it cannot possibly dispense with them.

But in the realm of education there is a pregnant distinction between government and discipline, to which Herbart was one of the first to call attention, and which my critics seem to have overlooked. A school, like a country, must be governed. In most schools the government is far too autocratic; but even if it were as democratic as that of the "Little Commonwealth", it would have its laws and regulations, and these would have to be obeyed. Let every child obey the orders of those who govern him; but let not those who govern him multiply orders unnecessarily, and above all let them not confuse government with discipline. What I protest against is the education which carries discipline (or what passes as such) far beyond the limits of what good government requires; which drills and dragoons children for the mere sake of drilling and dragooning them; which continually and needlessly encroaches on their freedom; which makes their school life a never-ending obeying of orders, some of which are gratuitously arbitrary, while others are vexatiously trivial; which leaves nothing to their initiative or even to their unfettered choice.

3. Was Egeria a genius?

Some of my critics say that Egeria was obviously a genius, and that the methods of genius cannot be reproduced.

Was Egeria (let us speak of her in the past tense) a genius? I doubt it. She had much sympathy, much tact, much patience. She was of more than average intelligence; and she was by no means devoid of imagination. Does a blend of these qualities constitute genius? I

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neither know nor care. For there are thousands of teachers who are endowed with all these qualities; and if they could and would but cultivate them, there is no reason why they should not do as well in their respective schools as Egeria did in hers. But the system under which they work is unfavourable to the development of most of those qualities, patience being the only one to which it can be said to give free play. And so they remain in the old grooves, and say with an air of resignation: "We do our best, but we are not geniuses, and the ways of genius are past finding out."

It is the system, or rather the principle which inspires the system, that matters most. The personality of the teacher counts for a great deal; but as his personality suffers almost as much as that of his pupils when he works under a bad system, so it is stimulated and vitalised and helped to unfold itself when the system under which he works happens to be good. Egeria would, I think, tell you that her Utopian system did as much for her as for any of her pupils. Geniuses are admittedly rare; but wherever I go, I find that the school in which the ideas of freedom and self-education are applied with sympathy and understanding, produces results similar to those which I saw and described in Utopia. There are many Montessori classes for example, in which those ideas are bearing excellent fruit; but I do not know a single Montessori class which is taught by a genius.

A genius will, no doubt, do good work under a bad system, just as a stupid teacher will make a mess of the best of systems, through his inability to grasp and apply its master principle. But these are extreme cases. The average teacher is neither a genius nor a fool; and of him it may safely be said that it is better


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for his own development and for the well-being of his school that he should work under a good system than under a bad.
4. "A handful of children"

Miss Susan Platt, writing in the Journal of Education, assumes that Egeria had a mere "handful of children", and asks, "Did she ever teach a class of forty children?"

What ground has Miss Platt for saying that Egeria had a mere handful of children? I do not exactly know how many children go to a handful; but I can assure Miss Platt that, when I knew Egeria's school, it was attended by at least 120 children, who were taught in three rooms. Miss Platt wants to know if Egeria ever taught forty children in one class. My answer to this question is that she habitually did what is far more difficult. She taught single-handed not less than fifty children, who belonged to five "standards" and were of all ages from eight to fourteen.
5. Concentration mistaken for constraint

The same critic, in the same article, writes as follows: "Most of us have seen or at least heard of the infant teacher who gives out interesting material to a class of sixty infants, and then destroys all their natural eagerness and enthusiasm by the command: 'Fold arms and do not touch these until I tell you'. Mr. Holmes would justly deplore this attitude. Yet he himself mentions, with approval, having seen historical scenes acted with vigour by one of Egeria's classes, and applauded loudly by those who were allowed to witness them, while the children of another class drew flowers in the same room and never lifted their eyes from their desks! This does, indeed, seem beyond belief with children


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who are allowed their natural keenness. Does it not occur to Mr. Holmes that this class of achievement is precisely on a par with that mentioned above, and that those who seek 'What might be' may well cite this as being just what they would wish to avoid?"

Does it not occur to Miss Susan Platt that the reason why the children never lifted their eyes from their desks may possibly have been that they were absorbed in what they were doing? And would she be surprised to hear that the reason why they were absorbed in what they were doing - for in point of fact they were - was that they had always been "allowed their natural keenness"? For power of concentration the Utopian children were unrivalled, at any rate within the limits of my experience.
6. Is the child born perfectly good?

The Journal of Education says that I hold, with Rousseau, that the child is born perfectly good.

I have never said anything to justify this statement. There is no living thing of which perfect goodness is predicable at birth. It would be nonsense to say that an acorn had the perfection of a full-grown oak-tree, or a blind puppy the perfection of a full-grown mastiff. Perfect goodness is the consummation of a successful process of growth. But when the child is born, the process of his growth has only just begun. What I did say was that the child at birth is potentially good, that he is charged with the potencies of human goodness, of Froebel's "true manhood", just as the acorn is charged with the potencies of "true oakhood", with the infolded virtues of the sturdy tree from which it fell.

So far am I from regarding the new-born


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baby as "perfectly good" that I expressly likened the young child, who is separated from early babyhood by some years of growth, to an unripe apple, which has many apparently objectionable qualities, but which, if allowed to ripen under favourable conditions, will gradually transform those defects into certain corresponding virtues - the very virtues which are most characteristic of "true applehood" - hardness into firmness of fibre, sourness into wholesome acidity, and so on. To deny original sin is one thing. To predicate perfect goodness of a new-born baby is quite another thing. But it is possible to steer a middle course between the doctrines of original sin and original perfection; and that middle course I tried to steer and took some pains to define.
7. Roman Catholic Schools and the Doctrine of Original Sin

The Tablet quotes what I said about the gracious bearing of the Roman Catholic sisters in Liverpool towards the children whom they teach, and having reminded me that "it is in these very schools that the doctrine of original sin which he (I) regards as the fons et origo of so much evil in our education, is taught to our children with uncompromising definiteness by teachers who believe it", (1) suggests that this may, perhaps, induce me to reconsider my view.

I am not convinced by this argument. Calvinism has always laid great stress on the doctrine of original sin; and it certainly cannot be said that graciousness of manner has been a distinguishing feature of Calvinistic teachers, whether in the home or the school. Then,
(1) There seems to be at least one Church in which the doctrine of original sin, which some of my reviewers regard as dead and buried, is still very much alive!


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again, the manners of the West are, on the whole, far less gracious than those of the Far East, in which, as it happens, the doctrine of original sin has never taken root. The Roman Catholic Church has always had a tradition of good manners, which it owes in part to its ceremonialism, in part to the influence of chivalry, in part to the mantle of Ancient Rome having fallen upon it, not to speak of other causes which I need not turn aside to consider. The teaching sisters of Liverpool owe much to this tradition. But they owe still more, as they would be the first to admit, to the abiding influence of a great and beautiful personality. And they owe most of all to their own kindly, sympathetic, unselfish hearts.
8. East and West

Some of my critics seem to think that, because I criticise adversely the education given in the West, I am therefore an ardent admirer of the educational methods of the (Far) East.

This is quite a mistake. I criticise Western education because I know a good deal about it. I abstain from criticising Eastern education because I know little or nothing about it. I certainly think that the "Higher Pantheism" of India, with its profound and inexhaustible trust in Nature, furnishes a better basis for a vitalising system of education than the Supernaturalism of the West. But it is possible for a people, as for an individual, to keep its philosophy of life, and its philosophy, or at any rate its practical philosophy, of education in separate and almost water-tight compartments (I did so myself for many years); and I have no evidence that India has ever had an educational system worthy of its "Ancient Wisdom". In any case, I prefer to write about things which

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I understand; and my silence about the educational systems of the East (Near and Far) is the outcome of ignorance, not of suppressed admiration.
9. China and Examinations

Two of my critics have reminded me that the examination system, which I dislike so strongly, has long flourished in China as well as in the West.

This I had not forgotten. But may I not condemn the West for doing a bad thing, even if the same thing happens to be done in the East? The examination system is not the less pernicious in Europe because it is also practised in China. Besides, the Chinese have at least had the good sense to use examinations chiefly for the purpose of testing the one thing which they can adequately test - memory. Other and higher powers have, indeed, been tested by the demand for original poems and literary essays; but there has been no inducement to the teachers or students of China to lay on fraudulent veneers of intelligence, as we in the West, in our desire to outwit examiners, habitually try to do.
10. Self-realisation

G. K., writing in the Morning Post, seems to think that self-realisation is an essentially Occidental doctrine, and that the idea is foreign to those Indian philosophies, such as Vedantism and Buddhism, which inculcate suppression of individuality.

There are pitfalls in the word self; and G. K. has, I think, fallen into one of them. It is a commonplace of Christian, as of Buddhist, morality, that if a man would find himself he must first lose himself. Of which of these

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antithetical selves is G. K. thinking when he uses the word "self-realisation"? And of which does he imagine me to have been thinking? He surely does not imagine that, when I speak of self-realisation as the way and the end of true education, I am thinking of the individual self. If he does, either I have expressed myself obscurely, or he has not read my book with sufficient care. For him self-realisation seems to mean the realisation of individuality. For me it is the exact opposite of this. To realise self is to lose self by outgrowing it, and to find self by growing into oneness with it - to lose the apparent, actual, individual, self-centred self, and to find the real, ideal, universal, self-emancipated self, in finding which each of us at last becomes free to say, "I am I". It is because each of us is
a God, though in the germ,
that self-realisation, the merging of the individual life in the Divine, is the supreme duty and destiny of Man. If I value individuality, it is because I see that sincerity is the basis of true self-expression, and therefore that each of us must outgrow his individual self in his own individual way.

In his exposition of the "true" (Occidental) philosophy of self-realisation, G. K. speaks of "the universal realised in the individual". I do not know what these words mean. The universal cannot realise itself in the individual, for self-realisation is in its essence a movement towards the universal. The universal is in the individual "as a possibility"; and the individual realises the universal by universalising itself, not by clinging to its individuality. If a river is to "realise" the sea from which it came, it must widen out into the sea. It must


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not cling to its individuality, or it will cease to flow.

G. K. seems to think that I am a "learned Orientalist." Alas! I am nothing of the kind. But I know just enough about Indian philosophy to feel assured that G. K. knows just a little less. If he would study Sadhana, by Rabindranath Tagore, or any other authentic exposition of Indian idealism, he would see that the idea of self-realisation (in the widest sense of the word self) is at the heart of the Vedanta philosophy as it is of the teaching of Christ. He would also see that this life of self-realisation is a life of intense activity - an activity which, though less fussy and obvious than the material "activism" of the West, has a far wider range and calls higher powers into play. And he would see that the philosophy of self-realisation (the Indian, not the "Occidental" brand) is by no means indifferent to "results", but, on the contrary, makes the best possible provision for securing them. For having satisfied itself, when it enters the field of pædagogy, that the education which regards outward results as ends in themselves must needs fall short of achieving them, it counsels the teacher to aim, first and foremost, at healthy and harmonious growth, and tells him, for his consolation, that if he will achieve that end, results of the right sort - the ripe fruits of a healthy and well-grown tree - will be produced in due season. "Take care of growth, and results will take care of themselves", is the motto of the philosophy of education which I, with my Buddhist and Vedantist proclivities, am trying to expound - a motto which is a faithful echo of the familiar precept: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."


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11. The Baby in the Pincian Gardens

In the opening pages of the Tragedy of Education, I told, in Dr. Montessori's words, the story of the baby in the Pincian Gardens. Dr. Geraldine Hodgson (whose acquaintance we have already made), in her paper on The Theory of the Primrose Path, makes this story the theme of the following discourse: "There is something pathetic in Madame Montessori's frequent assumption that the elder must inevitably misread youth's intention and desires: this view culminates in the story of the child in the Pincian Gardens. What Madame Montessori saw was a child, about one and a half years old, filling a pail with gravel. When the time came to go home, his nurse exhorted him to desist. Failing, she filled his pail with gravel, whereon he wept. She then took him home, whereon he wept more. These are the facts. The following is Madame Montessori's surprising comment: 'The self-development of the little baby up to the end of his first year consists to a large degree in the taking in nutrition; but afterwards it consists in aiding the orderly establishment of the psychological functions of his organism. This beautiful baby in the Pincian Gardens is the symbol of this: he wished to co-ordinate his voluntary actions; to exercise his muscles by lifting; to train his eyes to estimate distance; to exercise his intelligence in the reasoning connected with his undertaking; to stimulate his will-power by deciding his own actions; ... whilst she who loved him, believing that his aim was to possess some pebbles, made him miserable.' I found myself wondering if both baby and nurse would not have been justified in taking out actions for libel."

This is the kind of criticism "which make the judicious grieve". In order to raise a cheap laugh against a great woman, whose philosophy

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of life and education she is unable to fathom, Dr. Geraldine Hodgson makes open parade of her own want of insight and understanding. She must surely know that there is no incident in life, no phenomenon in nature, however seemingly trivial, which is not full of meaning for those who are able to see into the heart of it. The fall of an apple to the ground means one thing to a greedy schoolboy, and another thing to an Isaac Newton.
A primrose by the river's brim
means one thing to a Peter Bell, to whom it is a primrose and nothing more, and another thing to the poet, to whom it can bring
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
In like manner the incident in the Pincian Gardens means one thing to Dr. Geraldine Hodgson, to whom it says nothing, and another thing to Dr. Montessori, to whom it opens up a whole vista of thought. That this is the difference between their respective points of view, Dr. Geraldine Hodgson herself assures us; and it would be an impertinence on my part to doubt her word.

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APPENDIX D

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

THE glowing account that I gave of Egeria and her school was bound to expose her and it to detraction and denigration. What is set up on a high pedestal becomes a tempting mark for mud, broken earthenware, rotten eggs, and other opprobrious missiles. I described a revolutionary experiment in education, and told my readers that it was a splendid success. In doing this I issued an open challenge to the parents and teachers of England, to which their conservative instincts could scarcely fail to respond. All their vested interests, spiritual as well as material, were imperilled by the success of the "Utopian" experiment. To prove that it was not a success became, therefore, an urgent need. Some of my readers happened to know that I was of Irish birth, and had published some volumes of verse. They naturally jumped to the conclusion that I was a wild enthusiast, with no sense of measure, either in praise or blame, and that my picture of the Utopian school, if not largely imaginative, was, to say the least, extravagantly over-coloured. Shortly after my book was published, the real name of Egeria and her school became known in certain quarters, as well as the fact that she had married, and retired, temporarily if not permanently, from the teaching profession. Here was an opportunity which was much too good to be lost. A visit to the village which I had called Utopia, and a confidential talk with the schoolmaster who had succeeded Egeria, would probably


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enable the pilgrim to draw a different picture of the school from that which I had given to the world. Some of my readers availed themselves of this opportunity; and thousands more echoed and re-echoed the unfavourable rumours which the pilgrims put into circulation on their return from Utopia, rumours which lost nothing as they passed from mouth to mouth.

A few of these rumours have worked their way back to me; and they are probably fair samples of the winged brood to which they belong. I am told that Egeria's successor did not think much of her school. It would have been a miracle if he had thought much of it. An orthodox minister of religion who succeeds a "heretic" does not, as a rule, think much of the "doctrine" that has been preached from the pulpit, or of the work that has been done in the parish. But even if Egeria had been an orthodox teacher, her successor would probably have thought it his duty to belittle her work. When a teacher takes up a new post, it is almost inevitable - and it is not necessarily to the discredit of human nature - that he should exalt himself at the expense of his predecessor: for he needs must survey the state of things from his own point of view, and judge it by his own standards; and if he were not prejudiced in favour of his own point of view and his own standards, he would not be himself. I was a school inspector for nearly thirty-six years; and I think I could count on the fingers of one hand the teachers who of their own accord spoke well to me of the work of those whom they had recently succeeded. To argue from this that teachers have more than their share of envy, malice, and self-conceit would be grossly unfair. They have their full share of modesty as well as of the milk of human kindness, and are by no means destitute of the spirit of true comradeship. What happened in every case was that the incoming


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teacher had a different point of view from the outgoing, and that he looked at things from his own point of view and judged them accordingly. For example, the one teacher may have laid special stress on Reading; the other on Arithmetic. The one on Spelling; the other on Composition: and so on. The angle of difference between the two points of view was probably small; but it was enough to make the new teacher think lightly of the work of the old. Had the two exchanged schools, each would have depreciated the work of the other. But as it was, the outgoing teacher was at the mercy of the incoming; and he usually fared ill at his hands.

Now when Egeria gave up her school, the angle of difference between her and her orthodox successor was by no means small. On the contrary, it was nearly, if not quite, 180 degrees. Almost everything that the Utopian children did was the opposite of what their new teacher must have been accustomed to; and he would have been false to the traditions of his profession, and false to the experiences of his own professional career, if his judgment of the school had been anything but unfavourable. For this reason the fact that his judgment was unfavourable does not weigh with me in the slightest degree. The pilgrims who went to Utopia in the hope of having the school authoritatively depreciated, must have been gratified by the report which they received. But if they expected to receive any other report, they must have been strangely ignorant of some of the elementary laws of human nature.

So much for the vague charge of general inefficiency which has been brought against Egeria and her school. I will now consider some of the more specific charges. I have been told that the Utopian children could not read. By this is meant I presume, that when they read aloud they made mistakes. Perhaps they did. I cannot say. When


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I used to visit the school I was too busy with the things that really mattered to care to waste my time, or that of the children, over a matter of minor importance. It is no doubt better (if one must read aloud) to read correctly than incorrectly. It is also better to read with understanding than without understanding. The difference between reading correctly and reading incorrectly is by no means negligible. But the difference between reading with understanding and without understanding is the difference between reading, in the true sense of the word, and not reading at all. Children learn reading in school, not in order that they may be able to read aloud without making mistakes, but in order that they may be able to read with understanding, or, in other words, to use a book. And this is exactly what the average product of the elementary school, however correct may be his oral reading, is unable to do. For seven or eight years he reads aloud in class three or four times a week; and at the end of that time he cannot read at all. By this I mean that he cannot make an effective use of the power of deciphering words, which he has laboriously acquired. During the one hour or three-quarters of an hour in the week which is devoted to "silent reading", he can sit with a book open in front of him and turn over its pages. But he cannot study the book; cannot get the honey out of it; cannot read it with profit or pleasure; cannot even begin to master its contents.

For this state of things we must blame the bad old days of payment by results. For twenty-five years or so every child in every "standard" of every elementary school in England and Wales had to read aloud to the Government inspector on the yearly "parade day". If he made not more than three mistakes in five or six lines of printed matter, he "passed". If he made more than three mistakes, he "failed". On the ability of the


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children to read correctly depended the financial solvency as well as the reputation of the school. Can we wonder that for most teachers to read meant to read aloud with tolerable accuracy, and that to teach reading meant to prepare children for the yearly ordeal by constantly practising them at readIng aloud, often in chorus, and sometimes in parrot-like imitation of their teacher? And can we wonder that all other aspects of reading and the teaching of reading were entirely ignored? Nearly twenty years have passed since the yearly examination was abolished. But there are still thousands of schools in which the greater part of the time allotted to reading is spent in reading-aloud-lessons of the old familiar type. Perhaps, out of deference to the advice of H.M. Inspector, an hour in the week is set apart for "silent reading". But that hour is usually wasted, owing to the inability of the child to use a book.

Looking back to the days of schedules and percentages, I can see that if, instead of hearing every child read a few lines aloud, we had picked out one-fifth of the children - let us say - and made each of these read to himself a suitable passage from a book which was new to him, and then talked to him about it, so as to find out how much of it he had taken in, the teaching of reading - and therefore of English and other subjects - would have taken an entirely different direction. "Silent reading", for pleasure, or profit, or both, would have become the rule, and reading aloud (which might perhaps have taken the form of each child in turn reading a passage from an interesting story to his classmates) would have become the exception. Independent study on the part of the children would have taken the place, at any rate in the higher classes, of that futile "lecturing" which, in the bulk of our schools, wastes so much time, and provokes so many weary yawns. Instead of being all


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compulsorily fed on the crambe repetita of one hundred lines or so of verse, selected for them by their teacher, the children would have been able to select and commit to memory the poems that took their fancy in the anthologies that were placed in their hands. And if their reading-books had been judiciously chosen, and if the schools had possessed good lending libraries, a taste for literature might have sprung up among them, which would have brought a new interest into their lives, and competed, perhaps not unsuccessfully, with the attractions of the halfpenny newspaper, the penny dreadful, the cinema, or the public-house.

Dis aliter visum. To these "might have beens" and "would have beens" the examination schedule said an emphatic "No". In the latter years of my official life I used to urge teachers, instead of lecturing their pupils on History and Geography - an obviously futile proceeding - to provide the older children with suitable hand-books (if such were procurable), and let them try to get up a certain amount of History and Geography for themselves. The usual reply to this suggestion was that the children - even those in the highest class of all - would be unable to carry out my programme. And experience convinced me that in many cases the teachers were right. The children were incapable of independent study, for the lamentable reason that they did not know how to use a book.

Now the Utopian children, whatever may have been their shortcomings when they read aloud, were able to read, in the true sense of the word - to read to themselves with pleasure and profit, with interest and understanding, to consult a book, to study it, to get light and guidance out of it, to put it to the use for which it was intended. This I can answer for. They had a large and well-assorted library, and they used the books freely and to good purpose. I have described in What Is and What Might Be


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how they used to work up for themselves the episodes in English history which they wished to dramatise. In order to do this they had to study Green's Short History, and other books of reference. And this they were well able to do. They may have misread to themselves some of the words that they met. They may not have known what other words meant. In the latter case they consulted the dictionary. In the former case their mastery of the general sense of the passage may be held to have atoned for their carelessness in dealing with individual words. As accuracy in reading is no guarantee of ability to understand what is read, so inaccuracy is quite compatible with a high degree of intelligence on the part of the reader. One of the ablest women whom I have ever met was never able to read correctly as a child, nor even as an adolescent; and now that she has grown up, I gravely doubt if she could "pass" in reading in "Standard VII". But I do not know her equal at mastering the contents of a difficult book.

For these reasons I am not careful to answer those who tell me that the Utopian children could not read. The standard by which these critics have judged the children and found them wanting is so false that their use of it proves nothing, except that they themselves do not know what reading really means. That such a standard should still be in use shows how hard it is for us to get the iron of the old régime out of our souls.

There is another adverse rumour which I can easily dispose of. I am told that the written work of the Utopians was so unsatisfactory, that they wrote, spelt, and "composed" so badly, that Egeria thought it desirable to "fake" their exercise-books. The answer to this ridiculous slander - for it is nothing else - is in my hands. During one of my visits to the school I asked all the children in the main room - Egeria's own pupils - to write com-


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positions for me, each selecting his (or her) own subject. There were forty-six children in the room, ranging in age from eight to fourteen; and in the days of classification by standards they would have been said to belong to Standards III-VII inclusive. I stayed in the room while they were writing; and I can answer for it that Egeria never went near them nor said a word to any of them. I have kept all the compositions; and anyone who really wishes to know what was the value of the written work of the school in its Utopian days is welcome to see them. The work is in no sense precocious. The writing, though clear and legible, is that of children, not of clerks. The spelling is not immaculate, but in only six cases is it noticeably bad. I have gone carefully through the exercises. I find that in the First Class (twenty-one children present) the average number of words in each exercise is 336, and the average number of mistakes in spelling, four; and that in the Second Class (twenty-five children present) the average number of words is 150, and the average number of mistakes, five. In the Second Class many of the compositions are reproductions of Natural History lessons which had recently been given; but the reproduction is far from slavish, and the compositions are by no means cut to one pattern. (1) In the First Class the compositions are, with few exceptions, the children's own. They have plenty to say for themselves - 336 words is a good average - and their language, if not always strictly grammatical, is simple, natural, and informal. They quote good poetry freely and

(1) The composition or one of the girls consisted of twenty very short "simple sentences". The peculiarity of her handwriting, as well as of her composition, proved that she had recently come from another school. It must have been one of those schools in which the younger children are deliberately taught to write simple sentences only, their teachers having apparently forgotten that children of three use "complex sentences", when talking, with freedom and skill.


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aptly; and in many of the exercises there are illustrative sketches in pen or pencil. Taken as a whole, the work is of more than average merit, and would, I think, compare favourably with that of many well-staffed schools in urban areas. At any rate, it is good enough and genuine enough to dispose, once for all, of the malicious rumour that Egeria "faked" the exercise-books of her own classes - a proceeding for which she had no time and still less inclination, and which, had she resorted to it, would have destroyed her influence over her pupils.

A third rumour has made its way to me, which is so baseless that I am at a loss to account for its having got into circulation. It is to the effect that towards the end of Egeria's tenure of office the older children had got out of hand, and that she could with difficulty control them. The answer to this rumour is that for many years before she resigned, the children had themselves so well in hand that there was no need for her to control them. Discipline of the conventional, quasi-military type was unknown in the school. The children had learnt to discipline themselves. Of the truth of this statement I can give a convincing proof. Between Egeria's departure and her successor's arrival there was an interregnum of several days. During that time the younger children in the two class-rooms were taught by their own assistant-teachers, while the older children in the main room - Egeria's own pupils - carried on school by and for themselves, working by the Timetable just as if she were with them. One of H.M. Inspectors of Schools happened to pay a visit to the school during the interregnum, and spent two days with the older children. He was profoundly impressed by their general bearing, and by their capacity for governing themselves and ordering their own goings. I doubt if there is a single school in England,


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elementary or secondary, in which children ranging in age from eight to fourteen, if thrown on their own resources and left to their own devices, could play the part which Egeria's pupils played during those intervening days. Their essay in self-government and self-education was a fitting close to the Utopian regime.

There is one thing which makes it difficult for me to answer Egeria's detractors, or even to meet them on a common platform. I was intimately acquainted with her school, whereas only one of them has ever set foot in it. I say this deliberately and without fear of contradiction. When Egeria's successor took charge of the school, the old order of things was re-imposed upon the children, and the Utopian experiment came to an end. To those who never saw the school in its Utopian days it is impossible for me to convey an idea of the life, the joy, the happy activity, the spirit of comradeship and goodwill which pervaded its atmosphere and lighted up the faces of the children. Nor could I hope to bring home to them the unselfishness and self-forgetfulness of the children, their readiness to help one another, their tactful courtesy to strangers, their devotion to their school. (1) As for their drawing, their acting, their singing, their dancing, their nature-study - no one who had not been present while those "lessons" were being taken could realise what a high level of excellence was reached in each of them. The drawing has, indeed, received the hall-mark of Mr. Tunaley's (2) approval; and his verdict that "in this school the

(1) I once walked back from the school with a girl who had recently moved to a village three miles away. She continued to attend her old school with faultless regularity. I asked her what she would do if her home was six miles from the school. She answered, without a moment's hesitation: "I'd come just the same".

(2) Mr. Tunaley is chief inspector of Drawing, under the Board of Education, in Elementary Schools and Training Colleges.


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teaching of drawing reaches the highest educational level I have hitherto met" will be accepted even by the sceptic as conclusive. But as regards the other "subjects", the formal depositions of expert witnesses are not forthcoming; and as I am supposed to be an idealist and enthusiast - schwärmer is, I believe, the correct word - I must expect my high estimate of their merits to be freely discounted.

I may, however, remind the school's detractors that I was not the only visitor to Utopia in its Utopian days. At least fifteen of the Board's inspectors and a fair number of "laymen" visited the school, and most of them thought as highly of it as I did. One or two, indeed, thought more highly. One in particular, a distinguished historian and literary critic, after spending a day in the school, told me that my pamphlet, A Village School - a ballon d'essai which preceded the publication of What Is and What Might Be - did nothing like justice to it. If there were other visitors who were less enthusiastic than I was, the reason was, I think, that I had paid far more visits to Utopia than any of them, and that the more one saw of the school, the clearer became one's insight into its characteristic features, and the more vividly one realised its merits. One visitor who confessed that he was disappointed in what he saw, added that when he visited the school he was sickening for influenza, and that he therefore took a gloomy view of life. There was, I believe, another, a Herbartian inspector, who was not satisfied that the historical and geographical "apperception masses" of the children were being properly developed. As far as I know, these were the only discordant notes in a harmonious chorus of approval. Yet many of those visitors, knowing that they were about to witness a revolutionary experiment, must have entered the school in an adversely critical mood; and the fact that they remained to bless what they had probably


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gone out to curse bears eloquent witness to the compelling charm of the school.

There are other matters on which I should like to dwell, but can only touch. I should like to tell how Egeria's school gradually transformed and vitalised the whole parish; how the parents became deeply interested in the school life of their children, and especially in their dramatic activities; how in their spare time they made sundry "properties" for the children which they were not able to make for themselves; how the dramatic instinct awoke in the adult members of the community; how the mothers acted plays and even composed them; how the young men acted plays from Shakespeare; and how at last a complete Shakespeare became a household book in almost every cottage. I should also like to tell of the successes of Egeria's ex-pupils, with many of whom she has kept in close touch, and of the letters of warm appreciation which she has received from the mistresses in whose households the girls worked as domestic servants, and from the masters who took the boys into their employment. But it is a thankless task to try to convince those who do not wish to be convinced, and who are sure to discount freely whatever statements one may make. Besides, it now rests with Egeria to silence her detractors by returning to the teaching profession, which it must have cost her many pangs to quit.



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APPENDIX E

EDUCATION AND "THE PASSING OF EMPIRE"

ALL who are interested in the question which is now agitating so many minds as to the merits and demerits of our Public School and University system of education, should read the third chapter of Mr. H. Fielding-HaIl's deeply interesting and suggestive book, The Passing of Empire. Speaking of a young civilian, fresh from England, who joined him at his district head-quarters in Burma some ten years ago, Mr. Fielding-Hall says: "If I give an account of him it will do for all; for nowadays they are all turned out of the same mill, have all the same habits of mind and thought, and their personalities are submerged. If anything, he of whom I speak was above the average in all ways. He was a very nice young fellow, with charming manners, and I greatly liked him. ... He was, I think, twenty-three years of age, of good people, educated at a Public School and Oxford. ... He had passed high in his examinations. He was said to be clever, and as regards assimilating paper knowledge he was able, but his mind was an old curiosity shop. He had fixed ideas in nearly everything. He was full of prejudices he called principles, of 'facts' that were not true. He had learnt a great deal, he knew nothing; and worse - he did not know how to obtain knowledge. He wanted his opinions ready-made and absolute first, and only sought for such facts as would support those principles. He had no notion how to make knowledge by himself. I-Ie wanted


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authority before he would think. Give him 'authority', and he would disregard or deny fact in order to cling to it."

Mr. Fielding-Hall goes on to speak in general terms of "the previous training of young men sent to India": "Their minds, instead of being cultivated, are stifled. They are taught to disregard fact and to accept authority in place of it. They are not only to do what they are told, which is right; but to think what they are told, which is wrong. And they do. They are taught to repeat in parrot manner stock phrases and imagine they are thinking. And this habit once acquired is difficult to get rid of. With most it never is got rid of."

Speaking of "imaginative sympathy as the most valuable of all gifts" (especially in an Indian official), and a gift which, as he truly says, "is inherent in all children, and is the means whereby they acquire all the real knowledge they have", he goes on to say: "In all young men nowadays it is destroyed by their education. Their minds are fitted up with obsolete and mistaken prejudices, which are called principles, and then the door is locked. They all talk the same, act the same, and have the same ideas in their heads. None of them ever think over what is all about them. They do their work by paper knowledge and paper principles; the great book of humanity has been sealed for them. When they try to think they cannot do so. They have lost the power their childhood had. ... If brighter days are to be in store for India, official or non-official, English or native, all this must be altered. The whole principles of education must be revised or abandoned. The less educated a man is now, the more real understanding he is likely to have. The educated man is a mental automaton. He has sold his soul and got in its place some maxims, with the aid of which he seeks to govern the world. He thinks knowledge is got from books.


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It is not. Books are most valuable helps, showing you new views of life, giving you new facts, showing you how to think; but they never give you knowledge of life. Only experience can do that. But the young man does not want to know what is, but what other people say. He is afraid of himself and yearns for authority. ... Therefore there is a wide difference between the men as they came out in the old days and as they come out now. Then they were young, not very well instructed, but capable of seeing, understanding, and learning; nowadays they are so drilled and instructed that they can deal only with books, papers, and records; life has been closed to them."

By comparison with this stern and sweeping condemnation of what is supposed to be the most finished product of the best type of education given in this country, my strictures on the prevailing system of education are mildness itself. When one who speaks with the authority of thirty years' experience warns us that, unless we reform education in England, our empire in India will pass, his word will perhaps give pause to those who flatter themselves that all is well with our Public Schools and ancient Universities, and are apt to assume that adverse criticism of those national institutions is the outcome of ignorance, or malevolence, or both.




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APPENDIX F

BIBLE TEACHING

IN What Is and What Might Be I gave my reasons for thinking that the "definite dogmatic religious instruction" which is given in thousands of our elementary schools, in preparation for the Diocesan Inspector's yearly examination, is tending to paganise the people of England. The Diocesan Inspector is the agent of what is called denominational religious teaching - the teaching that is distinctive of a particular Church or sect. The Non-conformists of England are advocates, for the most part, of "undenominational Bible teaching"; and this is the type of religious teaching which is usually given in the "Provided", or "Council", Schools. To what extent this Bible teaching is tested by periodical examination I cannot say for certain. There are many local areas in which the children are examined in "religious knowledge" by the officials of the authorities concerned. There are others - perhaps the majority - in which this is not done. Periodical examination by an outsider is less of the essence of the undenominational than of the denominational system; and to that extent the advantage lies with the former. The undenominational system has the further advantage that under it there is a considerable diminution of that load of "dogma" with which "orthodoxy" loves to burden the soul, or rather the memory, of the child.

There the advantages of undenominationalism end. In one important respect it compares, on the


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whole, unfavourably with its rival. Under the denominational system, what I may call the balance between the Old and the New Testament is carefully maintained; but undenominational teaching is in its essence Bible teaching, pure and simple; and in any scheme of Bible teaching, pure and simple, the Old Testament will inevitably bulk more largely than the New. For this there are three chief reasons. The first is that there is far more matter in the Old Testament than in the New. The second is that, as literature, the Old Testament is indisputably grander and more impressive. The third is that, from the point of view of dogmatic theology, it is a less "contentious" book. But in the hands of the teacher who believes that the whole of the Old Testament was directly inspired by the supernatural God, and that all parts of it are therefore divine and all equally true, the Old Testament becomes a very dangerous instrument for the instruction of the young. For it gives them a conception of God which is worse than inadequate and worse than false.

When I say this, I do not forget that the Old Testament conception of God reaches a very high level of purity and sublimity. On the contrary, it is because I fully recognise that the Old Testament conception reaches a very high level of purity and sublimity, that I call it, as orthodoxy presents it to the young, worse than inadequate and worse than false. What gives the Old Testament its interest and value is that it is the record of the evolution, in the mind and soul of a particular people, of a high and pure out of a low and crude conception of God. To tell us, as orthodoxy does, that the lower and cruder conceptions are as true - as authentic, one might almost say - as the higher and purer, is to degrade (in our confused and bewildered minds) the latter to the level of the former. When we are told, for example, that the God whose


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"way is in the sea, and whose path is in the great waters, and whose footsteps are not known", did, as a matter of historical fact, exhibit his "back parts" to Moses - when we are told that the righteous God who loves righteousness did, as a matter of historical fact, kill Uzzah when he put out his hand to steady the jolted Ark - we must either refuse to believe these stories - a refusal which may, things being as they are, take us far along the path of denial and revolt - or we must accept them, and pay the penalty of our blind credulity. For what happens, while we are engaged in harmonising the higher with the lower conception of God, is that our own loftiest conceptions of what is pure and sublime are being dragged down into the mire of what is degrading and grotesque; in other words, that the instinctive idealism of Man's heart, which is but another name for his religious sense, is being wounded and outraged, perhaps beyond remedy.

It is indeed a strange conception of God which grows up under the influence of Bible teaching, whether denominational or undenominational, in the mind of the average Englishman. Its internal inconsistencies are many and violent. The descent, for example, from the sublime agnosticism of the poet's outburst, "Lo! these are parts of his ways; but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?" to the puerile banality of the catechising curate's favourite question "Well, and what did God say then?" is as sheer and deep as that of Lucifer from Heaven. Then, again, we are assured, not once only but a hundred times, that the God of Israel loves righteousness and hates iniquity. But what of his own moral character? A Frenchman, whose blood is free, one may conjecture, from any taint of that bibliolatrical virus which makes us Protestants such purblind students of the Bible, gives us, in the mouth of one of his dramatis personæ, the following


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estimate of the God of Israel: "Le Dieu de la Bible est un vieux Juif maniaque et monomane, un fou furieux, qui passe son temps à gronder, menacer, hurler comme un loup enragé, delirer tout seul, enfermé dans son nuage. ... C'est un fou qui se croit juge, accusateur publique, et bourreau à lui tout seul, et qui prononce des arrêts de mort, dans le cour de sa prison, contre les fleurs et les cailloux. On est stupefié de la tenacité de haine, qui remplit ce livre de ses cris de carnage. ... De temps en temps, il se repose au milieu des massacres, des petits enfants écrasés, des femmes violées et éventrées; et il rit, du rire d'un sous-officier de l'armeé de Josué, à table, après Ie sac d'une ville. ... Mais le pire, c'est la perfidie avec laquelle ce dieu envoie son prophète pour aveugler les hommes, afin d'avoir une raison après, pour les faire souffrir ... Non, de ma vie, je n'ai vu un aussi méchant homme!"

That this picture is overdrawn and one-sided I need not take pains to prove. What is significant in it, and what may well give pause to those among us who are ready to regard every reported saying or doing of Jehovah as divine, is the bare fact that it is possible to frame such an indictment of our Deity.

The plain truth is that in the Bible Christian's conception of God two sets of attributes, each of which is the direct negation of the other, have somehow or other to be harmonised into one mental picture. On the one hand we have the mysteriousness of him who is "high as heaven" and "deeper than hell"; the power and majesty of him who "looketh on the earth and it trembleth, who toucheth the hills and they smoke"; the righteousness of him who is "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity"; the justice of him who will never "pervert judgment", and whose "law is the truth"; the loving-kindness of him whose "compassions fail not" and are "new


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every morning"; and - added to these - the tenderness, the long-suffering, the spiritual purity of the Christ. On the other hand, we have the vulgar familiarity of him who walked and talked with, and even unveiled his form to Moses; the petty jealousy of him who cannot brook a rival; the injustice of him who slew 70,000 men "from Dan even to Beersheba" because David had taken a census of the people; the cruelty of him who, in response to the prophet's curse, allowed she-bears to kill forty-two "little children"; the treachery of him who "blinds the eyes and makes heavy the ears" of a people, "lest they should convert and be healed".

In an uncritical era these antagonistic conceptions of God may co-exist for centuries, without their mutual incompatibility being consciously realised. That all the time a mischievous quasi-chemical interaction is going on between them may be taken for granted. To what extent the orthodox identification of the God of Israel with the God of the Universe has cramped the mind and materialised the soul of the West, we shall never be able to determine; though we shall probably not go far wrong if we hold it responsible, in part at least, for much of the materialism and pessimism of the present age. But that we are now on the eve of great disturbances of our mental and spiritual atmosphere, can scarcely be doubted. When a cold current of air from Hudson's Bay meets a hot current from the Gulf of Mexico, the attempt that Nature makes to equalise the temperatures of these opposing yet intermingling currents produces tornadoes of extraordinary violence. Something analogous to this must needs take place when an attempt is consciously made - such an attempt as our vividly critical and self-conscious age is now making - to harmonise two antagonistic conceptions of God. We can but hope that, when the inevitable tornadoes have run their course of


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destruction we shall be able to breathe a clearer and serener air.

Meanwhile we must not flatter ourselves that undenominational Bible teaching is going to redeem England from paganism. How does the average schoolboy picture to himself the God of the Old Testament? If I may judge from my recollections of my own boyhood - recollections which coincide with those of many of my friends - he pictures him as an invisible man, more than human in that he is all-powerful and immortal, but human (or less than human) in that he is irascible, vindictive, cruel, intolerant, partial, unjust, an exacting taskmaster, the prototype of all stern rulers and parents, bound by no law, and therefore, in spite of his glaring defects of character, incapable of doing wrong. And we sometimes go out of our way to darken the picture which the boy has drawn for himself. I once heard an assistant master in a Council School explain to his pupils during a Bible lesson how God called for volunteers from among his attendant spirits for the heroic enterprise of deceiving Ahab. What a God for the rising generation to worship! Were it not better that England should be frankly pagan than that it should place so ignoble a deity on the throne of the Universe?

Do we ever pause to reflect on what we are doing? We mean by God, if we mean anything, what is most worthy of love and admiration, what is ideally highest and best. And so when we insist that those whom we educate shall grow up in the belief that the quasi-historical personage whom the Jews called Jehovah (or Yah-weh), and whose character they painted in unflattering colours, was and is the authentic God of the Universe, we are doing our best to quench in the rising generation the latent idealism of Man's heart. Is it possible to


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sin more deeply against the "little ones" whom Christ warned us not to offend?

And what makes things worse is that much of what we teach the child, in the sacred name of religious instruction, many of us - perhaps most of us - no longer regard as true. This is hypocrisy, and worse. Whether it is possible to "teach religion", in any accepted sense of the word teach, is doubtful. Whether it is possible to teach religion dogmatically, as one teaches the rules of arithmetic and the facts of geography, is more than doubtful. But on one point there can be no doubt. To teach children as sacredly and even divinely true what we who teach them have ceased to believe, is nothing less than a crime against Humanity, and a sin against God, who is living Truth.





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APPENDIX G

THE "FACULTY" HERESY

My use of the forbidden word faculty has drawn down on me the censure of the Herbartians. Professor Adams, a temperate and cautious Herbartian (rara avis in terris), has rallied me on my antiquated psychology; and "Anthropos" and other dogmatic Herbartians have told me more than once that my psychology is all wrong. As if "Anthropos" knew what was the right psychology. As if Professor Adams knew. As if Herbart, who lived more than one hundred years ago, knew. As if the most up-to-date professor of psychology knew. As if anyone knew. As if there was such a thing as an authoritative science of the soul. The plain truth is that the foundations of the science have not yet been laid, and that until we reform education it will not be possible to lay them. For child-study is the true basis of psychology; and so long as education forbids the real nature of the child to unfold itself, child-study (in the proper sense of the word) will be impossible.

I have elsewhere told how his experiences in a "community of free children" (the Ford Junior Republic) compelled Mr. Homer Lane, an ardent student of psychology and a close observer of human nature under widely varying conditions, to recant the greater part of his psychological creed. With his case before me, I cannot bring myself to attach much weight to the arm-chair dogmatism of "Anthropos" and his fellow-Herbartians; and I begin to suspect that the self-confidence of these


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theorists is the measure of their ignorance, and that the reason why they lay down the law with such an air of finality, is that they are out of touch with the realities of life.

Herbart's own psychology, though ingenious and suggestive, is too metaphysical and too aggressively fantastic to be really convincing. His transference of activity from the soul to the "ideas" that "slip in and out of it" (to use Professor Adams' words) is a piece of topsy-turveydom which we can scarcely be expected to take seriously. (1) Still less can we be expected to take seriously the paradoxical statement that "ideas really make up the mind". As well might it be said that physical sensations really make up the body. Nor can we be expected to accept as gospel the teaching of the thinker who, after formulating fourteen negative dogmas with regard to the soul, goes on to say: "The simple nature of the soul is totally unknown and for ever remains so; it is as little a subject for speculative as for empirical psychology". Such an abrupt transition from the extreme of gnosis to the extreme of agnosis has surely no parallel in the history of speculative thought.

In order to estimate the Herbartian psychology at its proper worth, we must bear in mind that it is not merely speculative but also highly controversial. It was a particular metaphysical theory of faculties - the theory of innate, à priori faculties - to which Herbart took exception. With the popular, non-metaphysical belief in faculties he did not concern himself. Indeed, I am by no means sure that he did not share it; for there are many passages in the Science of Education in which the existence of what in ordinary parlance would be called faculties or capacities or senses is tacitly taken for granted.

(1) Professor Adams himself, if I may judge by his humorous exposition of it, sees the joke of this Gilbertian exchange of roles. (See The Herbartian Psychology, p. 46.)


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Such a proposition as "the soul has no capacity nor faculty whatever either to receive or produce anything", was not addressed to ordinary persons, to whom - owing to their having their own traditional interpretation of the word soul - it would have suggested something entirely different from what it was intended to convey. The proposition was primarily a blast of defiance, an open challenge to certain metaphysical adversaries; and it is possible that, in formulating it, our author, carried away by the impetus of his speculative antipathy, half-wilfully over-stated his case.

Be this as it may. What is certain is that Herbart, when he denies faculties, is moving on the plane of speculative thought, and that propositions which have a meaning on that plane become either false or meaningless, when suddenly introduced into the language of everyday life. But this is what the Herbartian loves to do. His denial of faculties is, as a rule, a mere parade of esoteric knowledge (or pseudo-knowledge). In other words, it is pure pedantry. When a plain, unsophisticated person like myself, speaking to plain, unsophisticated persons, ventures to use the word faculty or capacity, he is promptly called to order and told that his psychology is all wrong. At this rate the words in question ought to be expunged from the English Dictionary - a solution of the difficulty which the Herbartian may possibly have in view.

Let speculative psychologists wrangle as they please about faculties. I, who am concerned with a tremendous practical problem which goes to the very roots of life and conduct, cannot afford to wait for them to make up their minds on this or any other vital point. The common-sense of the matter is what I must be content to consider. And the common-sense of the matter, so far as it bears on education, may, I think, be set forth in three simple propositions:


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(1) No child brings with him into the world ready-made faculties other than physical.

(2) Every normal child brings with him the germs of certain central, distinctively human faculties, such as will, reason, imagination, sympathy.

When I say this I mean that at a very early age the normal child shows that he has it in him to will, to reason, to imagine, to sympathise. I mean this, and no more than this.
(3) Every normal child brings with him what I may call a general capacity for evolving particular faculties in response to the stimuli of particular environments.
For example: the driver of a motor-bus acquires by practice a sense for speeds and distances, which gives or helps to give him a faculty for steering his bulky vehicle through crowded streets. What ordinary people would do badly and with difficulty, he does well and with facility, or faculty. Aristotle speaks of the "eye of experience" - a happy phrase. The soul has in posse as many of these eyes as there are special fields of experience in its environment, and each eye has a faculty as its counterpart.
This is, I submit, the common-sense of the matter; and this is what I have always had in my mind and shall always have in my mind when I use the word faculty. For one who can think in the category of the potential and the actual - (which the Herbartians, like their master, are either unable or unwilling to do) - the problem is easy of solution. Actually, the soul at birth has no faculty. Potentially, it has many, besides having a general capacity for evolving more. To the possible objection that to believe in faculties is to take away from the essential unity of the soul, I would answer that on the contrary, if the soul had not many and various faculties it would not be an organic whole.


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The empty dome which the "ideas" of Professor Adams' vivid imagination "slip in and out of" is the very negation of an organic whole. Unity in multiplicity is one of Nature's paramount laws; and it is a law which asserts itself more and more imperiously the higher we rise in the scale of life. The soul is one because it is manifold; and it is manifold because it is one.

These are some of my reasons for using, and continuing to use, the word faculty. But I have another reason for doing so, which in my opinion makes all the rest superfluous. The word faculty belongs to literature, not to science; and, as Plato says in the Theœtetus, "the free use of words and phrases, rather than minute precision, is generally characteristic of a liberal education, and the opposite is pedantic". If Professor Adams had two friends, one of whom acquired foreign languages with extreme facility and the other with extreme difficulty (if at all), would he not say that the former had a faculty for languages and that the latter had not? And if he were to say this, who would blame him? I do not think he would blame himself; and I doubt if even that rigid Herbartian, "Anthropos", would find serious fault with him.




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APPENDIX H

HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT

WHICH is the more important factor in the development of the individual, heredity or environment? A generation ago a wave of heredity fatalism swept over Western thought, and found expression for itself in Ibsen's plays and other literary works. That wave is now slowly ebbing; but, having regard to the recent rise of the science, or quasi-science, of "Eugenics", and to the free use of the words "blood" and "breeding" in ordinary conversation, I am inclined to think that the influence of heredity on development is still overestimated, and that the formative power of environment has not yet received due recognition. The influence of heredity on physique is undoubtedly great, and its influence on mentality is probably considerable; but it is my firm conviction that what we call character owes much less to heredity and much more to environment than we have been in the habit of assuming.

When I hear people say that such and such a tendency - mental or moral, virtuous or vicious - is inherited, I make a practice of asking myself whether it may not, with equal propriety, be attributed to the influence of environment; and I almost invariably find that there is quite as much to be said for the latter hypothesis as for the former.

Let us take the case of a boy who closely resembles his father in certain noticeable tricks or mannerisms. One's first impulse is to say that these tricks or mannerisms are in the blood. But


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surely the fact that the boy has been for years in close and constant intercourse with his father, and that children are by nature imitative, would go far towards accounting for their outgrowth. Had the child been transferred at birth to another home, and brought up by relations or friends instead of by his parents, is it likely that those tricks or mannerisms would have revealed themselves?

Or let us take the case of the child of hot-tempered parents, who, as he grows up, becomes liable to outbursts of passion. Here, again, our first impulse is to say that his hot temper is inherited. And it is, of course, possible that the germ of it is in the blood. But surely the environment of his home, the bad example set him day by day by those to whom he would naturally look for guidance and whom he would instinctively tend to imitate, has been the chief factor in the development of a vicious tendency, which, had he been more fortunate in his surroundings, might never have come to maturity. A street Arab is a master of oaths and obscenities. Will it be pretended that he has inherited this evil propensity? Is not the fact that the atmosphere of his home and of the street has been saturated with profane and impure language sufficient to account for its presence?

Is there such a thing as inherited tendency to crime? Perhaps there is; but those who know most about the genesis of criminality are convinced that in at least nineteen cases out of twenty the criminal is the artificial product of an unfortunate environment, in which the slum area, the reformatory schools, and the prison are the principal factors. One of the leading authorities on criminality in this country tells me that not long ago half of the houses in one of the criminal areas of a large manufacturing town had to be pulled down, and that the inhabitants thereof migrated to a new suburb, where the conditions of life were, in many ways, more favourable.


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The result of the change was that, while the ratio of criminality in the surviving half of the slum area remained high, the emigrants, under the influence of better surroundings, virtually ceased to be criminal. Mr. Fielding-Hall, in his Passing of Empire, devotes a chapter to the problem of criminality, of which he has made a special study in Burma and India. He holds that "crime is a defect of training and environment", and even goes so far as to say that "there is not - there never has been in anyone - a tendency to crime until either gaols or criminal education create it." One sometimes hears of a marriage between "defective" parents having produced a veritable clan of drunkards, criminals, and semi-imbeciles. In such a case heredity counts for something, perhaps for much, but certainly not for all; for the child of "defective" parents is exposed, from the moment of his birth, to the worst possible kind of environment; and even if his blood were untainted, the odds would be heavy against his becoming a respectable member of society. Experiments might conceivably be made (under the auspices of the Eugenics Society) which would throw light on this problem. For example, an infant from a criminal slum might be exchanged at birth with a new-born princeling. Were this done, the chances are that the princeling would develop into a foul-mouthed street Arab with criminal propensities, while the slum child would develop into a very respectable prince; just as the child of fifty generations of French-speaking parents, if transferred at birth to an English home, would speak English as his mother tongue, not French, whereas the child of fifty generations of English-speaking parents, if transferred at birth to a French home, would speak French as his mother tongue, not English.

The phenomenon of bullying deserves to be studied by one who wishes to adjust the respective


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claims of heredity and environment. During the greater part of the past century bullying was such an everyday occurrence in boys' schools that it might well have been contended that the average boy was a born bully. And not more than twenty years ago a well-known writer on sociology, commenting on a gross case of bullying, said that there was a phase of atavistic savagery which every boy, in the course of his development, had to pass through. But the history of bullying proves conclusively that the "savagery" of the average boy is the outcome of environment rather than of heredity. Children of all ages are prone to imitate their seniors; and much of the bullying which has disgraced our schools is due to the older and stronger boy passing on to the younger and weaker the kind of treatment which had been inflicted on himself. When boys were harshly, and even cruelly, treated by their masters, bullying was as brutal as it was widely prevalent. As the disciplinary régime of our schools became more humane, bullying became rarer and less brutal. And today, when schoolboys, though still autocratically ruled, are on the whole kindly treated, bullying is but the shadow of its former self. And one may hope that even that shadow will gradually fade away. A master in a grammar school, who has given a generous measure of freedom to his pupils, was recently assured by more than one of them that, under the socialising influence of the new régime, their relations to one another out of school had greatly improved, and that bullying had entirely ceased.

Let us now widen the scope of our problem. Houston Chamberlain, the author of The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, a book which has had a remarkable vogue in Germany, lays great stress on the part which race has played in history, and is a strong, and almost fanatical, advocate of purity of blood. I have read with great care all the


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chapters in his book that bear upon this subject; and I am satisfied that nearly every argument which he brings forward in favour of purity of blood is really an argument in favour of purity of environment. He admits, or rather insists, that a mixture of breeds is needed in order to produce a good stock; but he holds that, when once a good stock has been produced, it must at all costs be kept pure. What he really means is, I think, that a mixture of breeds - each breed having its own social environment, its own manners, morals, and ideals - is needed in order to produce a good type of social life; but that, when once that type has been evolved, it must at all costs be kept pure. For why should a mixture of breeds be good in some cases, bad in others? The answer to this question is, I imagine, that a mixture of breeds is good when the corresponding ways of living blend readily, bad when they refuse to blend. When races have as much in common as had the Norsemen and the French, or even the Normans and the Saxons, their respective ways of living blend freely, even though slowly, and racial intermixture is good. When they have as little in common as have the White and the Yellow races, their respective ways of living refuse to blend, and racial intermixture is bad. It is sometimes said that the Eurasian in Hindustan has the faults of both the races from which he springs. In reality he has the faults of two widely dissimilar environments. For he is in the unhappy position of having a leg in each of two dissevered worlds. If he could be brought up from his birth either as an Englishman or as a Hindu, all might be well with him. But it is his fate to be brought up both as an Englishman and as a Hindu, and he is therefore perpetually torn asunder between two great and ancient civilisations which have so long been kept apart that they now refuse to blend. The mixture of races in the Roman Empire, which produced the


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wide-spread demoralisation that has so often been painted in gloomy colours, was really a mixture of religions, of ethical ideals, of schemes of life, of types of culture - of civilisations, in a word - which the centralising power of Rome drew together, and intermingled, and compelled to live side by side in outward amity, while all the time they were jostling and thwarting and corrupting one another, and refusing to blend.

When a good stock has been evolved by a judicious racial blend, it must, as far as possible, be kept pure. Why? Because purity of blood ensures purity of tradition, and therefore purity of environment. By a pure environment I mean one which is homogeneous over a given area, and which changes slowly, and always along the lines of its own ideal. But if such an environment can be secured by other means, the results which Chamberlain and others ascribe to pure breeding will be produced even where there is a free mixture of divers breeds. On this point the evidence afforded by the interesting republic of Paraguay seems to be decisive. In that country, owing to the practical extermination of the male population in the war of 1866-70, there is an extraordinary mixture of races. In the words of a recent writer to the Times, "the mothers of the present generation are Indians with a tinge of Spanish blood, and the fathers anything from Englishmen to Brazilian negroes". With such a "chaos", one might expect the present generation to be a corrupt and demoralised breed. But this is not the case. The writer in the Times continues: "But owing to the matriarchal family conditions imposed by the practical extermination of Paraguayan males ... the character of the hybrid race is extraordinarily homogeneous and peculiar to the country. Incidentally, outside their own country, they are regarded with great favour as hardy, docile, and, on the whole, capable labourers."


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In other words, in Paraguay, thanks to a homogeneous environment, we have remarkable homogeneity of character co-existing with almost unparalleled hybridity of race.

The case of the Jews is interesting and to the point. Here, at any rate "within the Pale", purity of blood has been strictly maintained, and a social life, based on Pharisaic legalism, has continued unchanged from the time of the Dispersal to the present day. Does it follow that legalism is in the blood of the modern Jew? By no means. What has happened is that the purity of his blood has given him a homogeneous and practically unvarying environment, to the full force of which each individual member of the race is exposed from the moment of his birth. Where there are no marriages, and therefore little or no social intercourse, with outsiders, the same conception of life, the same scheme of life, the same culture, the same civilisation is handed down from generation to generation, and the pressure of their influence upon the individual is well nigh irresistible. But let the Jew emerge from the Pale and intermarry with the Gentile, and he speedily shuffles off the oppressive burden of the Law. Other instincts and tendencies which his environment has generated may cling to him; but his whole attitude towards life has been changed, and he has proved in his own person that environment, as a factor in human life, counts for more than breeding, and that the influence of breeding is mainly due to the part which it plays, or may play, in guiding and controlling the forces of environment.

The bearing of this great question on education is obvious. If our destinies are wholly, or even mainly, predetermined by heredity, education can do but little for us. If, on the other hand, environment plays a large part in our development, as it certainly does in the growth of plants and other


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forms of life, the importance of education, with which it rests to provide a happy and healthful environment during the most critical and impressionable years of a man's life, can scarcely be overrated.

That we owe much to heredity is, of course, a truism. If each of us did not bring with him into the world a complex of inherited potencies, there would be nothing for environment to influence or for education to work upon, and the whole philosophy of self-realisation would fall to the ground. It is the prevailing tendency to over-estimate the influence of heredity, and to under-estimate the influence of environment, against which I protest. I admire the daring optimism of the Eugenists, and I have much sympathy with their dream of bringing the resources of anthropology and psycho-physiology to bear on the improvement of the human race. But I regret that in their zeal for scientific breeding, the action of which would be very uncertain, and for which, under existing social conditions, they could do but little, they tend to overlook the vital importance of scientific growing, the action of which would assuredly be beneficial, and for which they could do much.

The matter under discussion is one into which I do not pretend to have gone deeply. But in the name of common sense (by the light of which I have tried to interpret certain significant facts) I would suggest to those who have gone or are going deeply into it, that in future, when they are about to explain such and such a phenomenon in terms of heredity, they should pause for a moment and ask themselves whether the phenomenon in question may not be explicable, largely, if not wholly, by reference to the influence of environment.


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APPENDIX I

THE UNSYSTEMATIZED WISDOM OF HERBART

IN their zeal for the pædagogy of "chalk and talk", the Herbartians have canonised Herbart the system-monger, whom they regard as the chief evangelist of their dreary gospel. But there is another Herbart whom they find it convenient to ignore. "Men discover themselves", says Bacon, "in trust, in passion, at unawares." Herbart sometimes discovers himself "at unawares"; and when he does, he is always well worth listening to. By this I mean that there are moments when his intuition gets the better of his logic, and he says things to which he is led by the natural, sub-conscious movement of his thoughts, and which diverge widely from the conclusions that he reaches when he consciously directs the process of his thinking. The former sayings have, as it seems to me, the real Herbart behind them, not the Herbart "qui est si exactement d'accord avec lui-même" ... qui "vous trompe ou se trompe".

I have made a collection of the more significant of these unsystematized sayings; and I have divided them into two groups, those in which their author condemns the existing type of education, and those in which his prophetic soul dreams of things to be. I claim that when he allows himself to dream of things to be, he is inspired, perhaps unknown to himself, by the vision of a reformed education which has much in common with that "Primrose Path" which the advocates of child-


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emancipation are trying to map out. But I will not enlarge on this point; for I prefer that Herbart, whose sayings are printed here without note or comment, should speak for himself.

I

SAYINGS CONDEMNATORY OF WHAT IS

1. Character is inner stability, but how can a human being take root in himself, when he is not allowed to depend on anything, when you do not permit him to trust a single decision to his own will?

2. Those who grow up merely passive, as obedient children, have no character when they are released from supervision.

3. ... Punctilious and constant supervision ... prevents children from knowing and testing themselves, and learning a thousand things which are not included in any pædagogic system, but can only be found by self-search ... the character which is formed outside the will of its possessor remains either weak or distorted, according as the outlets which the individual finds be many or few.

4. Supervision, prohibition, restraint, checking by threats, are only the negative measures of education. The old pædagogy betrayed its weakness in nothing so much as in its dependence on compulsion; the modern in nothing so much as in the emphatic value it places on supervision.

5. If discipline be exchanged for government, if we leave that force to operate continually and persistently on all trivial occasions, which, used occasionally, makes good again what the children have spoiled, if that force be given to pressure which belongs only to the sudden blow, then we must not be surprised if the power of the boy


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succumbs, if finally the wild untutored youth maintains his superiority to the weakling overtrained.

6. Education constrains ... by persistently insisting on that which is unwillingly done, and by persistently leaving out of account the wishes of the pupil.

7. ... There is a weak spot in the class of that teacher who, with perverted zeal, considers that as good which his pupils only experience as evil. Hence the warning - do not educate too much; refrain from all avoidable application of that power by which the teacher bends his pupils this way and that, dominates their dispositions and destroys their cheerfulness.

8. The teacher's requirements must not become the pupil's constant thought.

9. All mannerisms (in the teacher) that compel the listener's passivity, and extract from him a painful negation of his proper activity, are in themselves unpleasant and oppressive.

10. ... The public activities customary up till now (in schools) will not bear criticism. ... They do not proceed from the youth's own mind; they are not the acts through which the inward desire determines itself as will.

11. We may well advise the educator not to prepare for himself false relations, which are usually the only residue of mere discipline.

12. We must not expose a child to be tormented by passive patience. If the latter were always a duty, vitality would be destroyed.

13. ... Attention, lively comprehension is something more than quiet and order. Children may be mechanically trained to sit still while they do not take in a word.

14. That alone consumes mind and body which is pursued for a long time without interest.

15. Only that is dangerous individually which


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cools the heart of the pupil towards the person of the teacher.

16. To be wearisome is the cardinal sin of instruction.

17. The intent to teach spoils children's books at once; it is forgotten that everyone, the child included, selects what suits him from what he reads, and judges the writing as well as the writer after his own fashion. Show the bad to children, but not as an object of desire, and they will recognise that it is bad. Interrupt a narrative with moral precepts, and they will find you a wearisome narrator. Relate only what is good, and they will feel it monotonous, and the mere charm of variety will make the bad welcome.

18. The spirit of pedantry which mingles so easily with education is highly destructive to it.

19. Whoever will continue for himself the reflections here begun ... will with difficulty avoid the firm conviction that in the culture of the circle of thought the main point of education lies. But let him then compare the ordinary school rubbish and the circle of thought which is to be expected from it. Let him consider if it be wise to treat instruction again and again as a presentation of memoranda, and to leave to discipline alone the task of making men of those who bear the human form.

20. The vainest of all plans of instruction are probably the school schemes sketched out for whole countries and provinces, and especially those which a school-board in pleno agrees upon, without previously hearing the wishes of the individuals.

21. Symbols are to instruction an obvious burden which, if not lightened by the power of interest in the thing symbolised, throws both teacher an pupil out of the track of progressive culture. Notwithstanding this, the study of languages monopolises such a considerable part of instruction!


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22. ... A species of religious culture will clothe him (the pupil), as it were, in a uniform garb, so that the partisan of a sect, rather than the pure human being, will be at once seen in him. ... Certain demands of right and morality will be burnt, as it were, for ever into his whole being, but will by their sharpness have destroyed in him the manifold budding of pure nature.

23. The teacher must ... understand the art of expressing approbation without praise. Praise is mostly poisonous to the young, making them proud and regardful of words rather than of love. Merit marks and similar things are entirely harmful.

24. An à priori psychology can never be a substitute for observation of the pupil; the individual can only be discovered, not deduced.

25. It is a matter of course that teachers, to perceive what is moving in the children's minds, must themselves possess that same culture, the most subtle traces of which they have to observe in them. This is just the misfortune of education, that so many feeble lights which glimmer in tender youth, are long since completely extinguished in adults, who are therefore unfitted to kindle those feeble lights into flame.

26. The pupil in after life takes the seat of his teacher, and makes his subjects suffer as he has suffered before them.

27. Our principles are too much a work of effort and years to be easily remoulded when once formed.

II

SAYINGS SUGGESTIVE OF WHAT MIGHT BE

1. It would be a misfortune were a wild schoolboy, chastised one hour for his pranks, not to be up to similar ones the next - a misfortune if his will were so weak and wavering.


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2. Instant obedience following a command on the spot and with entire acquiescence ... who would force this from children by merely cramping regulations as well as military severity? Such obedience can only in reason be associated with the child's own will.

3. Not every obedience to the first chance command is moral. The individual obeying must have examined, chosen, valued the command; that is, he himself must have raised it for himself to the level of a command. The moral man commands himself.

4. The natural goodness which we find existent in the pupil must stand in the forefront of education as of the highest importance. Without it education is impossible, for it has no point of departure and therefore no possibility of progress.

5. Nothing can destroy my hope that the good natures of healthy boys are not to be considered such rarities, but will stand the greater number of educators in good stead as they stood me.

6. Among a small group of children, if only a little sympathy exists and is kept awake, a certain need of social order for the common good develops itself spontaneously.

7. Sympathy develops most naturally, most simply, and most continuously in the intercourse of children with each other.

8. ... The moral perceptions ... would be the first and most natural among them all if children were allowed to accommodate themselves to, and associate with, each other in their own way, and could be judiciously left to themselves. For when human beings, big or little, rub against each other, the relationships with which those moral perceptions are connected develop abundantly and spontaneously. ... The interference of adults, and the anticipation of this possible interference alone, makes justice among children uncertain, and deprives it of their respect; well-meaning govern-


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ment has this effect in common with every other which is despotic ... we may lay it down as a principle, never to disturb what exists among children without good reasons, never to change their intercourse into forced politeness.

9. Ambition in very early years is a malady which fellow-feeling and diversion of thought will cure.

10. We ought to try and give free play to youthful energy. ... Obviously the formation of character attains certainty of result just in proportion as it is quickened and trained in the period of education. And this ... is only possible by making youths, even boys, active agents early.

11. The proper hardening principle for man, who is not merely corporeal, will not be found until we learn how to arrange a mode of life for the young, whereby they can pursue, according to their own and indeed their right mind, what in their own eyes is a serious activity.

12. Moderate care on the part of the teacher makes the pupil follow for himself the course of his own culture.

13. When the environment is so arranged that childish activity can itself find the track of the useful and spend itself thereon, then government is most successful.

14. ... The art of discipline is primarily but a modification of the art of intercourse with men, and therefore social tact is a valuable gift to the teacher. The essence of its modification here is, that on it depends the maintenance of a superiority over children in such a way as to make a moulding power felt, which thus animates even when it constrains, but when it directly encourages and attracts follows there and then only its natural direction.

15. Hindrance of offences is only good when a new activity continually takes the place of that which is restrained. The individual ought not to


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be too simple, too incapable, too indolent to commit faults, otherwise virtue would be at an end also.

16. We may always play with the child, guide it in playing to something useful, if we have previously understood the earnestness which lies in the child's play.

17. When grown-up youths express themselves openly, the influence of education succeeds very quickly, and particularly at the commencement ... almost marvellously; if, on the contrary, they are reserved, all effort is useless.

18. That manner is best (in the teacher) which provides the greatest amount of freedom within the circle which the work in question makes necessary to preserve.

19. Sometimes it is only needful to give the pupil the first start in certain things, and the teacher continuing to supply motive and matter, he goes forward of himself, and is perhaps soon beyond the teacher's sight.

20. There is no object in learning the theory of symbols thoroughly at first. Only so much should be taught as is absolutely necessary for the next interesting use of them; then the feeling of need for a closer knowledge will soon awake, and when this co-operates all will go on more easily.

21. ... The teacher is given to him (the pupil) merely that he may help him by intelligent interpretation and elevating companionship.

22. (What the teacher should have in view is) chiefly the activity of the growing man - the totality of his inward unconditioned vitality and susceptibility. The greater the totality - the fuller, more expanded and harmonious - the greater is the perfection.

23. The interest which a human being feels directly is the source of his life. To open many such sources, and to cause them to flow forth plenteously and unchecked is the art of strengthening


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human life, and at the same time of fostering love of one's kind.

24. Interest in education is only the expression of our whole interest in the world and in humanity.

25. Observation and sympathy are the movements by which we make every moment of time our own - through which we properly live.

26. If the inner assurance of a sufficiently yet readily armed intelligence coexists with a mere egoistic interest, the character is soon determined and certainly spoiled. Everything, therefore, that appertains to sympathy must be cultivated up to the level of demand and action.

27. The more individuality is blended with many-sidedness, the more easily will the character assert its sway over the individual.

28. ... It cannot ... be too often repeated that the childlike mind of children ought to be preserved. But what is it that ruins the childlike mind, this unconscious look straight into the world, which seeks nothing, and for that very reason sees what is to be seen? Everything ruins it which tends to destroy the natural forgetfulness of self.

29. Education must look upon religion not as objective but as subjective. Religion befriends and protects, but nevertheless it must not be given to the child too circumstantially. Its work must be directing rather than teaching. It must never exhaust susceptibility, and therefore above all must not be prematurely made use of. It must not be given dogmatically to arouse doubt, but in union with knowledge of nature and repression of egotism. It must ever point beyond, but never instruct beyond, the bounds of knowledge, for then the paradox would follow that instruction knows what it does not know.

30. ... He [the child] must educate himself.