페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

tion of both sexes equally. In these latter to propitiate those who are above us, is the days of civilization, however, we see that in universal struggle in which the chief energies the dress of men the regard for appearance of life are expended. By the accumulation of has in a considerable degree yielded to the re- wealth, by style of living, by beauty of dress, gard for comfort; while in their education the by display of knowledge or intellect, each useful has of late been trenching on the orna- tries to subjugate others; and so aids in weav. mental. In neither direction has this change ing that ramified network of restraints by gone so far with women. The wearing of ear- which society is kept in order. It is not the rings, finger-rings, bracelets; the elaborate savage chief only, who, in formidable wardressings of the hair; the still occasional use paint, with scalps at his belt, aims to strike of paint; the immense labor bestowed in mak-awe into his inferiors; it is not only the belle ing habiliments sufficiently attractive; and who, by elaborate toilet, polished manners, the great discomfort that will be submitted to and numerous accomplishments, strives to for the sake of conformity; show how greatly make conquests;” but the scholar, the hisin the attiring of women, the desire of appro- torian, the philosopher, use their acquirebation overrides the desire for warnth and ments to the same end. We are none of us convenience. And similarly in their educa- content with quietly unfolding our own indi. tion, the immense preponderance of “accom-vidualities to the full in all directions; but plishments " proves how here, too, use is sub-have a restless craving to impress our indiordinated to display. Dancing, deportment, vidualities upon others, and in some way subthe piano, singing, drawing-what a large ordinate them. And this it is which deterspace do these occupy! If you ask why Ital-mines the character of our education. Not ian and German are learnt, you will find that what knowledge is of most real worth, is the under all the sham reasons given, the real consideration; but what will bring most apreason is, that a knowledge of those tongues plause, honor, respect—what will most conis thought ladylike. It is not that the books duce to social position and influence-what written in them may be utilized, which they will be most imposing. As, throughout life, scarcely ever are; but that Italian and Ger- not what we are, but what we shall be thought, man songs may be sung, and that the extent is the question; so in education, the question of attainment may bring whispered admira- is, not the intrinsic value of knowledge, so tion. The births, deaths, and marriages of much as its extrinsic effects on others. And kings, and other like historic trivialities, are this being our dominant idea, direct utility is committed to memory, not because of any di-scarcely more regarded than by the barbarect benefits that can possibly result from rian when filing his teeth and staining his knowing them; but because society considers nails. them parts of a good education-because the absence of such knowledge may bring the con- If there needs any further evidence of the tempt of others. When we have named read- rude, undeveloped character of our education, ing, writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, we have it in the fact that the comparative and sewing, we have named about all the worths of different kinds of knowledge have things a girl is taught with a view to their been as yet scarcely even discussed-much direct uses in life; and even some of these less discussed in a methodic way with definite have more reference to the good opinion of results. Not only is it that no standard of others than to immediate personal welfare. relative values has yet been agreed upon; but

Thoroughly to realize the truth that with the existence of any such standard has not the mind as with the body the ornamental been conceived in any clear manner. And not precedes the useful, it is needful to glance at only is it that the existence of any such standits rationale. This lies in the fact that, from ard has not been clearly conceived; but the the far past down even to the present, social need for it seems to have been scarcely even needs have subordinated individual needs, felt. Men read books on this topic, and atand that the chief social need has been the tend lectures on that; decide that their chilcontrol of individuals. It is not, as we com-dren shall be instructed in these branches of monly suppose, that there are no governments knowledge, and shall not be instructed in but those of monarchs, and parliaments, and those; and all under the guidance of mere constituted authorities. These acknowledged custom, or liking, or prejudice; without ever governments are supplemented by other un considering the enormous importance of de acknowledged ones, that grow up in all cir- termining in some rational way what things cles, in which every man or woman strives to are really most worth learning. It is true be king or queen or lesser dignitary. To get that in all circles we have occasional remarks above some and be reverenced by them, and on the importance of this or the other order of information. But whether the degree of

As of old, for a thousand long years,

What things might he know! its importance justifies the expenditure of the

What deeds might he do! time needed to acquire it; and whether there

And all without hurry or care. are not things of more importance to which | " But we that have but span-long lives" the time might be better devoted; are queries

must ever bear in mind our limited time for which, if raised at all, are disposed of quite

acquisition. And remembering how narsummarily, according to personal predilec

rowly this time is limited, not only by the tions. It is true also, that from time to time,

shortness of life, but also still more by the we hear revived the standing controversy re

business of life, we ought to be especially sospecting the comparative merits of classics

| licitous to employ what time we have to the and mathematics. Not only, however, is this

greatest advantage. Before devoting years controversy carried on in an empirical man

to some subject which fashion or fancy sugner, with no reference to an ascertained crite

gests, it is surely wise to weigh with great rion; but the question at issue is totally insig

care the worth of the results, as compared nificant when compared with the general

with the worth of various alternative results question of which it is part. To suppose that

which the same years might bring if otherdeciding whether a mathematical or a classi

wise applied. cal education is the best, is deciding what is

In education, then, this is the question of the proper curriculum, is much the same thing

questions, which it is high time we discussed as to suppose that the whole of dietetics lies

in some methodic way. The first in imporin determining whether or not bread is more tance though the last to be considered. is the nutritive than potatoes!

problem-how to decide among the conflictThe question which we contend is of such

ing claims of various subjects on our attentranscendent moment, is, not whether such or tion. Before there can be a rational curricusuch knowledge is of worth, but what is its

lum, we must settle which things it most relative worth? When they have named cer- co

| concerns us to know; or, to use a word of tain advantages which a given course of study | Bacon's now unfortunately obsolete - we has secured them, persons are apt to assume

must determine the relative values of knowlthat they have justified themselves: quite forgetting that the adequateness of the advan

To this end, a measure of value is the first tages is the point to be judged. There is, per- requisite. And happily, respecting the true haps, not a subject to which men devote at

measure of value, as expressed in general tention that has not some value. A year dili

terms, there can be no dispute. Every one gently spent in getting up heraldry, would

in contending for the worth of any particular very possibly give a little further insight into

order of information, does so by showing its ancient manners and morals, and into the

| bearing upon some part of life. In reply to origin of names. Any one who should learn #1

the question, “Of what use is it?" the mathethe distances between all the towns in Eng- mati

Eng-matician, linguist, naturalist, or philosopher, land, might, in the course of his life, find one

explains the way in which his learning beneor two of the thousand facts he had acquired ficially influences action-saves from evil or of some slight service when arranging a jour

secures good-conduces to happiness. When ney. Gathering together all the small gossip

the teacher of writing has pointed out how of a county, profitless occupation as it would

great an aid writing is to success in business be, might yet occasionally help to establish

-that is, to the obtainment of sustenancesome useful fact-say, a good example of he

that is, to satisfactory living; he is held to reditary transmission. But in these cases,

| have proved his case. And when the collecevery one would admit that there was no pro

tor of dead facts (say a numismatist) fails to portion between the required labor and the

| make clear any appreciable effects which probable benefit. No one would tolerate the these facts can produce on human welfare, he proposal to devote some years of a boy's timelis obliged to admit that they are comparato getting such information, at the cost of tively valueless. All then, either directly or much more valuable information which he by impli

ch he by implication, appeal to this as the ultimate might else have got. And if here the test of test. relative value is appealed to and held conclu-l How to live?—that is the essential question sive, then should it be appealed to and held for us. Not how to live in the mere material conclusive throughout. Had we time to mas- sense only. but in the widest sense. The gen. ter all subjects we need not be particular. Toleral problem which comprehends every spequote the old song:

cial problem is—the right ruling of conduct Could a man be secure

in all directions under all circumstances. In That his days would endure

| what way to treat the body; in what way to treat the mind; in what way to manage our ance of proper social and political relations; affairs; in what way to bring up a family;5. Those miscellaneous activities which make in what way to behave as a citizen; in what up the leisure part of life, devoted to the i way to utilize all those sources of happiness gratification of the tastes and feelings. which nature supplies-how to use all our fac- That these stand in something like their ulties to the greatest advantage of ourselves true order of subordination, it needs no long and others—how to live completely? And consideration to show. The actions and prethis being the great thing needful for us cautions by which, from moment to moment, to learn, is, by consequence, the great thing we secure personal safety, must clearly take which education has to teach. To prepare us precedence of all others. Could there be a for complete living is the function which ed- man, ignorant as an infant of all surrounding ucation has to discharge; and the only ra- objects and movements, or how to guide himtional mode of judging of any educational self among them, he would pretty certainly course is, to judge in what degree it discharges lose his life the first time he went into the such function.

street: notwithstanding any amount of learnThis test, never used in its entirety, buting he might have on other matters. And as rarely even partially used, and used then in entire ignorance in all other directions would a vague, half conscious way, has to be ap- be less promptly fatal than entire ignorance plied consciously, methodically, and through- in this direction, it must be admitted that out all cases. It behoves us to set before our knowledge immediately conducive to self-presselves, and ever to keep clearly in view, com- ervation is of primary importance. plete living as the end to be achieved; That next after direct self-preservation so that in bringing up our children we may comes the indirect self-preservation which choose subjects and methods of instruction, consists in acquiring the means of living, with deliberate reference to this end. Not none will question. That a man's industrial only ought we to cease from the mere un- functions must be considered before his pathinking adoption of the current fashion in rental ones, is manifest from the fact that, education, which has no better warrant than speaking generally, the discharge of the paany other fashion; but we must also rise rental functions is made possible only by the above that rude, empirical style of judging previous discharge of the industrial ones. The displayed by those more intelligent people power of self-maintenance necessarily prewho do bestow some care in overseeing the ceding the power of maintaining offspring, it cultivation of their children's minds. It follows that knowledge needful for self-mainmust not suffice simply to think that such or tenance has stronger claims than knowledge such information will be useful in after life, needful for family welfare-is second in value or that this kind of knowledge is of more to none save knowledge needful for immedipractical value than that; but we must seek ate self-preservation. out some process of estimating their respect- As the family comes before the State in or ive values, so that as far as possible we may der of time as the bringing up of children is positively know which are most deserving of possible before the State exists, or when it has attention.

| ceased to be, whereas the State is rendered Doubtless the task is difficult-perhaps possible only by the bringing up of chil never to be more than approximately achiev-ldren; it follows that the duties of the parent ed. But, considering the vastness of the in-demand closer attention than those of the terests at stake, its difficulty is no reason for citizen. Or, to use a further argumentpusillanimously passing it by; but rather for since the goodness of a society ultimately de devoting every energy to its mastery. And pends on the nature of its citizens; and since if we only proceed systematically, we may the nature of its citizens is more modifiable very soon get at results of no small moment. by early training than by anything else

Our first step must obviously be to classify, we must conclude that the welfare of the in the order of their importance, the leading family underlies the welfare of society. And kinds of activity which constitute human hence knowledge directly conducing to the life. They may be naturally arranged into: first, must take precedence of knowledge di -1. Those activities which directly minister rectly conducing to the last. to self-preservation; 2. Those activities. Those various forms of pleasurable occupa which, by securing the necessaries of life, in- tion which fill up the leisure left by graver directly minister to self-preservation; 3. occupations—the enjoyments of music, poe

Those activities which have for their end the try, painting, etc.-manifestly imply a pre · rearing and discipline of offspring; 4. Those existing society. Not only is a considerable activities which are involved in the mainten- development of them impossible without a long-established social union; but their very knowledge rightly makes that one the breadsubject-matter consists in great part of so- winning occupation)—for the average man, cial sentiments and sympathies. Not only we say, the desideratum is, a training that does society supply the conditions to their approaches nearest to perfection in the things growth; but also the ideas and sentiments which most subserve complete living, and they express. And, consequently, that part falls more and more below perfection in the of human conduct which constitutes good things that have more and more remote citizenship is of more moment than that bearings on complete living. which goes out in accomplishments or exer- In regulating education by this standard, cise of the tastes; and, in education, prepa- there are some general considerations that ration for the one must rank before prepa- should be ever present to us. The worth of ration for the other,

any kind of culture, as aiding complete living, Such then, we repeat, is something like the may be either necessary or more or less conrational order of subordination:—That educa- tingent. There is knowledge of intrinsic tion which prepares for direct self-preserva- value; knowledge of quasi-intrinsic value and tion; that which prepares for indirect self- knowledge of conventional value. Such facts preservation; that which prepares for parent- as that sensations of numbness and tingling hood; that which prepares for citizenship; commonly precede paralysis, that the resistthat which prepares for the miscellaneous ance of water to a body moving through it refinements of life. We do not mean to varies as the square of the velocity, that say that these divisions are definitely sepa- chlorine is a disinfectant,—these, and the rable. We do not deny that they are in- truths of Science in general, are of intrinsic tricately entangled with each other in such value: they will bear on human conduct ten way that there can be no training for any thousand years hence as they do now. The that is not in some measure a training for all. extra knowledge of our own language, which Nor do we question that of each division is given by an acquaintance with Latin and there are portions more important than cer-Greek, may be considered to have a value tain portions of the preceding divisions: that, that is quasi-intrinsic: it must exist for us for instance, a man of much skill in business and for other races whose languages owe but little other faculty, may fall further be much to these sources; but will last only as low the standard of complete living than one long as our languages last. While that kind of but moderate power of acquiring money of information which, in our schools, usurps but great judgment as a parent; or that ex- the name History--the mere tissue of names haustive information bearing on right social and dates and dead unmeaning events--has a action, joined with entire want of general conventional value only: it has not the reculture in literature and the fine arts, is less motest bearing upon any of our actions; and desirable than a more moderate share of the is of use only for the avoidance of those unone joined with some of the other. But, after pleasant criticisms which current opinion making all qualifications, there still remain passes upon its absence. Of course, as those these broadly-marked divisions; and it still facts which concern all mankind throughout continues substantially true that these di- all time must be held of greater moment than visions subordinate one another in the fore- those which concern only a portion of them going order, because the corresponding di during a limited era, and of far greater movisions of life make one another possible in ment than those which concern only a portion that order.

of them during the continuance of a fashion; Of course the ideal of education is-com- it follows that in a rational estimate, knowlplete preparation in all these divisions. But edge of intrinsic worth must, other things failing this ideal, as in our phase of civiliza- equal, take precedence of knowledge that is tion every one must do more or less, the aim of quasi-intrinsic or conventional worth. should be to maintain a due proportion be- One further preliminary Acquirement of tween the degrees of preparation in each. every kind has two values-value as knowlNot exhaustive cultivation in any one, su-edge and value as discipline. Besides its use premely important though it may be-not for guidance in conduct, the acquisition of even an exclusive attention to the two, three, each order of facts has also its use as mental or four divisions of greatest importance; but exercise; and its effects as a preparative for an attention to all, -greatest where the value complete living have to be considered under is greatest, less where the value is less, least both these heads. where the value is least. For the average These, then, are the general ideas with man (not to forget the cases in which pecul- which we must set out in discussing a curriciar aptitude for some one department of|ulum :-Life as divided into several kinds of activity of successively decreasing impor-| destruction, it has to be guarded against intance; the worth of each order of facts as jury from other causes-against the disease regulating these several kinds of activity, and death that follow breaches of physiologic intrinsically, quasi-intrinsically, and conven- law. For complete living it is necessary, not tionally; and their regulative influences esti- only that sudden annihilations of life shall be mated both as knowledge and discipline. warded off; but also that there shall be es

caped the incapacities and the slow annihilaHappily, that all-important part of educa- tion which unwise habits entail. As, withtion which goes to secure direct self-preser- out health and energy, the industrial, the pavation, is in great part already provided for. rental, the social, and all other activities beToo momentous to be left to our blundering, come more or less impossible; it is clear that Nature takes it into her own hands. While this secondary kind of direct self-preservation yet in its nurse's arms, the infant, by hiding is only less important than the primary kind; its face and crying at the sight of a stranger, and that knowledge tending to secure it shows the dawning instinct to attain safety should rank very high. by flying from that which is unknown and It is true that here, too, guidance is in some may be dangerous; and when it can walk, measure ready supplied. By our various the terror it manifests if an unfamiliar dog physical sensations and desires, Nature has comes near, or the screams with which it insured a tolerable conformity to the chief reruns to its mother after any startling sight or quirements. Fortunately for us, want of sound, shows this instinct further developed. food, great heat, extreme cold, produce Moreover, knowledge subserving direct self-promptings too peremptory to be disregarded. preservation is that which it is chiefly busied And would men habitually obey these and all in acquiring from hour to hour. How to like promptings when less strong, comparabalance its body; how to control its move- tively few evils would arise. If fatigue of ments so as to avoid collisions; what objects body or brain were in every case followed by are hard, and will hurt if struck; what ob- desistance; if the oppression produced by a jects are heavy, and injure if they fall on the close atmosphere always led to ventilation; limbs; which things will bear the weight of if there were no eating without hunger, or the body, and which not; the pains inflicted drinking without thirst; then would the sysby fire, by missiles, by sharp instruments— tem be but seldom out of working order. But these, and various other pieces of informa- so profound an ignorance is there of the laws tion needful for the avoidance of death or ac- of life, that men do not even know that their cident, it is ever learning. And when, a few sensations are their natural guides, and (when years later, the energies go out in running, not rendered morbid by long-continued disoclimbing, and jumping, in games of strength bedience) their trustworthy guides. So that and games of skill, we see in all these actions though, to speak teleologically, Nature has by which the muscles are developed, the per- provided efficient safeguards to health, lack ceptions sharpened, and the judgment of knowledge makes them in a great measure quickened, a preparation for the safe con- useless. duct of the body among surrounding objects If any one doubts the importance of an acand movements; and for meeting those quaintance with the fundamental principles greater dangers that occasionally occur in of physiology as a means to complete living. the lives of all. Being thus, as we say, so let him look around and see how many men well cared for by Nature, this fundamental and women he can find in middle or later life education needs comparatively little care who are thoroughly well. Occasionally only from us. What we are chiefly called upon to do we meet with an example of vigorous see, is, that there shall be free scope for gain- health continued to old age; hourly do we ing this experience, and receiving this disci- meet with examples of acute disorder, chronic pline,-that there shall be no such thwarting ailment, general debility, premature decrepiof Nature as that by which stupid schoolmis- tude. Scarcely is there one to whom you put tresses commonly prevent the girls in their the question, who has not, in the course of charge from the spontaneous physical activi- his life, brought upon himself illnesses which a ties they would indulge in; and so render little knowledge would have saved him from. them comparatively incapable of taking care Here is a case of heart disease consequent on of themselves in circumstances of peril. a rheumatic fever that followed reckless ex

This, however, is by no means all that is posure. There is a case of eyes spoiled for life comprehended in the education that prepares by overstudy. Yesterday the account was for direct self-preservation. Besides guard- of one whose long-enduring lameness was ing the body against mechanical damage or brought on by continuing, spite of the pain

« 이전계속 »