« ZurückWeiter »
clown increa-cd with the failure of his betters.
Other influences destroying the best were social repression, religious intolerance, the centralization of activities in Paris, the effects of alcohol. The celibacy of the religious lowered the degree of religious feeling, while indiscriminate charity vastly multiplied the brood of paupers.
But all these and other influences. large and small, count for little beside the great destroyer, war-war for glory, war for gain.
Not long ago I visited Novara, in Italy, and there, in a wheat field, the farmers have plowed up skulls of men till a pyramid of fifteen feet high has been reared, over which some one has placed a canopy to keep off the rain. These were skulls of young men of Sardinia and Austria, from eighteen to thirty-five years of age, without physical blemish, so far as may be, peasants from the farms and workmen from the shops, who met at Novara to decide whether the Prince of Savoy should sit on his throne or yield it to some other. It matters not the decision; history records it, probably. Here they died. Farther on, Frenchmen, Austrians and Italians met and died at Magenta. You know what color that is, the hue of the blood that flowed out under the olive trees. Go over Italy as you will, there is hardly a town that has not had its gardens crimsoned with French blood, that has not somewhere its pile of skulls. You can trace them across to Egypt, across to Germany, to Moscow, across Belgium, to Waterloo. "A boy will stop a bullet as well as a man," said Napoleon, and with the rest are the skulls of boys. Read the dreary story of Waterloo, the wretched tale of Moscow, the miserable deeds of Sedan, the waste of Algiers, and you can see why the countrymen of France are not like the embattled farmers of Lexington, who set their stern faces against the murderers of the common man, and fired the shot that was heard around the world.
The same fate has followed each war for empire. ""Tis Greece, but living Greece no more," for the Greek of to-day is not the son of Leonidas and Miltiades. He is the son of the stableboys, scullions
and laves, those whom imperial Greece. could not use in her wars of conquest.
In his noble history of the Downfall of the Ancient World, Professor Seeck, of Greifswald, finds but one real cause of the fall of Rome. This he calls the "extermination of the best" (Ausrottung der Besten"). He shows how Marius and Cinna slew the aristocrat, while Sulla murdered the common man. With the demands of the imperial domain in every direction, the Roman disappeared. "Whoever was bold enough to rise politically was thrown to the ground."
Only cowards remained, and from their blood arose the new generation.
Cowardice showed itself in lack of originality and slavish following of masters and tradition. Had the Romans been alive, the Romans of the old Republic, there would have been no fall of Rome. The Roman Empire, says Seely, "famished for want of men." Even Caesar notes the impending doom, the "dire scarcity of men." But there is abundant testimony that men were plenty. slaves and camp followers. It was the men of strength and character, "the small farmer" and the hardy dwellers on the flanks of the Apennines, who were gone.
As to Spain, we never fought her. Spain died years ago. La Puente, an Augustinian friar, who wrote in 1630 on the Philippine question, then a burning one with Spain, has these words: "Against the credit for redeemed souls I se. the cost of armadas and the sacrifice of soldiers and friars sent to the Philippines. And this I count the chief loss, for mines give silver, and forests give timber, but only Spain gives Spaniards, and she may give so many that she may be left desolate and constrained to bring up strangers' children instead of her own. "This is Castile," said a Spanish knight; "she makes men and wastes them." "This sublime and terrible phrase." says Lieutenant Calkins, from whom I take the quotation, "sums up Spanish history."
Thus it has always been in history. The warlike nation of to-day is the decadent nation of to-morrow. It has ever been so, and in the nature of things must ever be.
is the reverse of this: "Never to bully a big boy, or turn one's back on a little one." Civil war under proper limitations could remedy this. A time limit could be adopted, as in football, and every device chosen to get the good of war and to escape its evils.
For example, of all our States, New York and Illinois have suffered most from the evils of peace. They could be pitted against each other, while the other States looked on. The "dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky could be made an arena. This would not interfere with trade in Chicago, nor muss up the streets of Baltimore. The armies could be filled up from the tramps and hoodlums, while the pasteboard heroes of Delmonico's and the Chicago clubs could act as officers. All could be done in decency and order, with no recriminations and no oppression of an alien foe, and we would have all that is good in war, its pomp and circumstance, the "grim resolution of the London clubs" without war's long train of murderous evils. Who could deny this? And yet who could defend it? Who can speak of the healthfulness of war, for war's sake, and yet condemn ccck-fighting, bull-fighting, or murder?
If war is good, we should have it, regardless of its cost, regardless of its horrors, its sorrows, its anguish, havoc and waste.
But it is bad, only to be justified as the last resort of "mangled, murdered liberty,” a terrible agency, to be evoked only when all other arts of self-defense shall fail. The remedy for most ills of men is not to be sought in "whirlwinds of rebellion that shake the world," but in peace and justice, equality among men, and the cultivation of those virtues we call Christian, because they have been virtues ever since man and society began, and will be virtues still when the era of strife is past, and the "redcoat bully in his boots" no longer "hides the march of man from us.'
A TALK ON ART.
COL, FRANCIS W. PARKER, PRESIDENT OF THE CHICAGO INSTITUTE.
Our educational problems are comparatively new ones. Hitherto we have used the principles and methods of the Old World. Its greatest problem is the education of willing and obedient subjects, which is necessarily a truncated education. The subject must not look beyond the necessities of fixed forms of government, and therefore the principles and methods of such education all tend toward that one ideal. The paramount duty of America is to educate its children into the highest types of citizenship. Our destination is either self-government or anarchy. We must choose between them. The great task of the schools is to decide whether the realization of self-government is possible. "Put into the schools. that which you would have the state," is an old and sound maxim. It has been rigidly followed with comparative success. by rulers who wish to maintain a fixed form of government. I say comparative success because education into final beliefs has sidetracks toward freedom. Our American educational ideal must be an everlasting evolution into a higher life, into a vigorously growing state of society, into the elimination of the wrong and the institution of righteousness. In place of the training of subjects, as is the case in the Old World, we have the problem of the education of citizen sovereignty. The weakness of strength of central government is found in police or armies. In America it is found in individual character. We had no other way at first than to take the means and methods of aristocracies to educate a democracy. When we began there were no fundamental principles and worked-out methods for the education of a free people. We took by necessity that which medieval times offered us. The conflict between the antipodal ideas is now on. We have been accustomed to call the common schools, "the bulwark of liberty," "the foundation of a free government." These high-sounding phrases have been to us little more than glittering generalities. We have made a slight be
ginning in a study of the relations of the school to the state.
Sociology, it is true, is vigorously working its way toward a science. Its connection, however, with elementary education is exceedingly faint. "We recognize the fact that the child of to-day is the citizen or to-morrow;" that "the school is society shaping itself." Still the learned sociologists of the universities, busy in the discussion of the present state of society, have not reached the central problemthe education of the child into the citizen. The bonds, the terrible bonds of tradition, are hard to break. Tradition makes us blind to the real situation. We do not yet clearly see that the guide of all education is the present state of society and its needs. We must put into the school that which we would have in society, and a wrong interpretation of this maxim brings disaster. For instance, elementary training for a trade or vocation means human predestination, which is the crippling and deforming of the individual. Selfchoice is the essential of liberty. Only that to which the whole being eagerly and cordially and permanently responds should be chosen as the ideal in education. Character read in terms of true citizenship includes and comprehends every quality and qualification of true manhood. Education into citizenship demands selfchoice all along the line, demands initiation, creation, imagination, and reason. It determines the subjects of thought. It also determines the skill in expression. which the individual must acquire. In fact, education into citizenship is the one guide in making courses of study and in the adaptation of subjects of study to the individual. Vocation is the fundamental means of putting personality into life. The community value of a vocation is that which it gives to society for its good and growth. The personal value of a vocation is found in the best one can do for all. The quality of needed work done is the best for both society and the individual. Doing the best demands the highest motive.
We will all grant that one of the funda- terrible evils of shiftlessness. carelessness,
incomplete work. "The home has much
mental weaknesses under which society suffers is careless, shiftless and indifferent work, work that falls short of its intentions. A valid arraignment may be made in a few words. It is difficult to state the worst or comprehend the boundaries of shiftlessness. Bad cooking, stomach destroying, liver hardening comestibles head the list. More human beings are killed or doomed to lives of hopeless misery through bad cooking than by whisky. To be sure, indigestible food does its work more quietly than alcohol, but its very quietness seems to be its greatest fault. There is no good reason why the fatal effects of a greasy doughnut should not be shown in pictured text-books by the side of the evil effects of intoxication.
The category of bad work is a long one. Build a house, employ an architect, make a contract, employ a superintendent to watch the contractor, watch everything yourself, and then thank God if the first heavy rain doesn't penetrate the roof. Put the health of your family into the hands. of a plumber and have him defy all the laws of hygiene and sanitation-pipes on the cold side of the house, traps that leak, filling the house with deadly sewer gasthese are the common experiences, common not only to the trades but to the professions. One per cent. of the lawyers do the main business of the law. The ignorance of the average physician is appalling. We search the world for ministers to establish genuine life-saving stations. And as for competent teachers - it behooves me to say little. If you need a first-class teacher, try to find one! Am I wrong in declaring that the world is filled with incompetents, with persons who have never learned to do real, genuine, honest. work? And is not immorality at the bottom of it all? You may, of course, point to the many exceptions so can I; but they only prove the rule.
Who is responsible? What is responsible? Not the schools alone. Such an indictment would be terrible, if true; but it is not entirely true. There are other causes. But this is true: The common school is the one place where the whole people can engage in a remedying of the
The needs of the school are the needs of society; the needs of the school are the needs of the individual. The human body is the product of countless generations of evolution. Heredity is ancestral environment begetting ancestral activities. The agents of expression and the physical agents of perception have been evolved by expression and perception. Shall this evolution of countless generations continue moving upward to higher planes, or shall nerves and muscles become weakened by disuse? Shall the arm, for instance, with all its possibilities of development, remain unused in expression while the brain is stuffed with useless words? The physical agents-nay, the whole body -demands expression of all kinds, and that continually. Its inner growth and development depend upon all-sided thought manifestations. Every nerve center, gang
lion and nerve has its evolutionary history by specific activity. These agents of thought power were created by activity for activity. Knowledge cumulates and culminates in expression. The manifestation of a thought means knowledge changed to nutrition-knowledge that is memory and power at the same time. Expression focusses brain, mind and motive. Motive is thought direction. Thought, knowledge unexpressed, is stagnant, incomplete, useless. It is safe to say that most children are starved in school for lack of knowledge made nutritious by expression.
The modes of expression-gesture, voice, speech, music, making, modeling, painting, drawing and writing, have been developed by expression, each of its kind and in its kind. The co-ordination of muscles, the growth of nerves are the physical evolutions through expression. Each mode of expression has its special and peculiar function. In its reaction upon consciousness, in the development of nerve power and in the evolution of moral qualities, all the modes, each and every mode in turn, has a mutual relation to all the others, in unifying and strengthening mental and moral power. All the modes of expression are one in developing motive and morals, in reaction of thought and in making the body an expression of the will. But there may be a continuous expression of thought and skill and yet little or no education. Physiological psychology has brought us some seemingly great truths, truths that are reconciled to the soundest common sense. I know of no more important pedagogical truth than this: The quality of expression determines the quality of growth of the nerve centers used in expression. We now take it for granted that mind action depends upon physical nerve action; that there is the closest relation between the two. Conscious action that does not move into expression is retarded and weakened. Take an image in consciousness for the initiatory. That image has a strong tendency to move outward-manifest itself to others. The quality of the image determines the quality of the nerve action, if the image is expressed. The quality
of the expression determines also the quality of the physical agent in expression. Then with this physical basis of nerves we have the expression through physical agents. The educative value of the thought expressed is determined by the motive of the expression. The higher the motive the better the thought, the better the nerve action. Education, then, from first to last, means the best that one can do.
Art is doing the best under the highest motive of which the doer is capable. Art depends upon quality of thought and expression. Like beauty and taste, art can never be defined except from a personal standpoint. It is entirely a personal matter. It means one's selfhood. It reveals one's best thought and emotion to others. Art is best doing in every way, and best doing depends entirely upon the motive. The best may be a daub, a blotch, a shapeless mass of clav, a discordant cry, but it is art if it is the best. When that best is felt by others; when it reveals the selfhood of the artist; when it tells something to the observer of the inner nature of the one who expresses thought, then it is fine. art. All the steps up to fine art are through art. Fine art is the highest plane of art. From these facts we may get some sound pedagogical principles:
(1) Expression should always be educa
(2) All the modes and agents of expression should be brought into fullest and most complete action.
(3) There can be no expression without thought or knowledge behind it. The bare technique of modes of expression has little that is educative in it. The real education springs from the expression of growing thought, which has its sources in the study of man and nature.
(4) Expression should always be the genuine reflex of the pupil's thought. The moment it ceases to be this genuine reflex it degrades itself into mere imitation.
(5) Opportunities of expression spring from a close and careful study of man and nature. All knowledge thus gained becomes through expression nutrition, and each mode of expression has its peculiar reacting function.