But, if improvident, he is improvident in a high cause. Emerson and others have taught us the uses of the great man. The teacher of a new truth, the discoverer of a higher and worthier form of artistic expression, is one in advance of his age, who, by his giant exertions, enables the community, and even the whole race, to reach forward to a further point in the line of intellectual evolution. He is a scout who rides out well in advance of the intellectual army, and who by this very advance and isolation from the main body is exposed to special perils. Thus genius, like philanthropy or conscious self-sacrifice for others, is a mode of variation of human nature which, though unfavorable to the conservation of the individual, aids in the evolution of the species.
If this be a sound view of the nature and social function of the man of genius, it may teach more than one practical lesson. Does it not, for example, suggest that there is room just now for more consideration in dealing with the infirmities of great men? There is no need of exonerating intellectual giants from the graver human responsibilities. We do well to remember that genius has its own special responsibilities, that noblesse oblige here too. At the same time we shall do well also to keep in mind that the life of intellectual creation has its own peculiar besetments, and that in the very task of fulfilling his high and eminently humane mission, and giving the world of his mind's best, the great man may become unequal to the smaller fortitudes of every-day life. To judge of the degree of blameworthiness of faults of temper is a nice operation, which may even transcend the ability of a clever and practiced critic. Perhaps the temper most appropriate to the contemplation of genius, and most conducive to fairness of moral judgment, is one in which reverence is softened by personal gratitude, and this last made more completely human by a touch of regretful pity.—Nineteenth Century.
|AN EXPERIMENT IN PRIMARY EDUCATION.|
IN modern times education has been recognized to be something more than an elegant luxury, designed exclusively for the benefit of the "upper classes." It is a force, and a potent and indisputable means, not only for the training but for the evocation of forces. It is able, not only to convey information, but to increase power. It is not simply a social convention, but a real means for attaining real ends. The final ends of education are efficiency and repose. The educated person is he who knows how to get what he wants, and how to enjoy it when he has got it.