Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/131

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
123
EDITOR'S TABLE.

and had bloom all of the ordinary house-plants, and some that were not common in house-culture.

I have noticed that the worms will, if there is a hole in a pot, and the pot is not often disturbed, crawl out at the hole and lie under the pot, if there is room, and the bottoms of most pots will allow this, and this they will do in all sorts of pots. Plants frequently become diseased from over-watering, its lack, or from other causes, and too often the worm has to take blame for what he is entirely innocent of.

Yours, respectfully,
Ada H. Kepley.
Effingham, Illinois, February 20, 1882.
 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

"SCIENCE AND CULTURE."

THE reception accorded to Professor Huxley's new volume, under the above title, by the leading organs of public opinion, is especially significant at the present time. The book is a collection of addresses, lectures, and essays, which have appeared at intervals during the last seven years, on a considerable variety of subjects, educational, biological, and philosophical. They are all of superior merit—the maturest and most finished of Professor Huxley's literary productions, and are all of popular interest; but the critics do not regard them as having equal claims to their attention. It is the first address, from which the volume takes its name—given at the inauguration of Josiah Mason's college to which they chiefly devote themselves, and their discussions are noteworthy, as indicating the great change that is going forward in the public mind with regard to the higher relations of science and education.

It is beyond doubt that the most formidable hindrance to the progress of rational education is the idolatry of an antiquated and effete system of study. on the ground that it is preeminently and exclusively adapted to the promotion of "culture." It is by association of classical studies with a dignified and venerated ideal of "culture" that they have acquired their superstitious ascendency, and have become the greatest drags we have on real educational progress. Human cultivation is, and always must be, the supreme thing, and it is, therefore, difficult to overestimate the injurious influence of a false ideal of its means and objects.

But the difficulty in this case is increased by the fact that the ideal of culture, which must now be rejected as wholly inadequate, was once true. The old and the still prevalent idea of culture is that which is derived from literary pursuits, and it is limited to certain literary forms, as most perfect for the purpose. Professor Huxley says of the great majority of educated Englishmen that, "in their belief, culture is obtainable only by a liberal education; and a liberal education is synonymous, not merely with education and instruction in literature, but in one particular form of literature, namely, that of Greek and Roman antiquity. They hold that the man who has learned Latin and Greek, however little, is educated, while he who is versed in other branches of knowledge, however deeply, is a more or less respectable specialist, not admissible into the cultured caste."

But the human mind is no longer to be cultivated merely by the forms or the arts of expression. That these are important things, and that in past times they may have been the main things, no one denies; but such an ideal of culture is essentially superficial, and breaks down before the serious intellectual demands of the present time. The mind of our age has passed from the consideration of verbal figments to the laws of reality. The correlative of form is substance, and the correlative of literary form is the substance of thought, and modern science has made this the funda-