Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/542

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



without seeing through all a tendency to completion, order, and beauty on an ever-rising plane, like the threads of a spiral; and, seeing this, to desire to be himself in harmony with that tendency and a factor in aiding it in his own time.

I put forth no claim to the Boston experiment or the Englewood trial as a cure for existing evils; but I urge every educator who loves mankind to investigate each new departure in education, to test any that seems to have good in it, to cease to concentrate attention on symbols and shows, and to turn thought to such realities as can nourish the mind and heart, and be retained as valuable furnishings for all the years to come, and to do these from the first day in the primary school.




WHILE voyaging over many seas of experiment in search of education, some of us are beginning to apprehend that the golden fleece of mental culture will not create for us the symmetrical man or woman. As a consequence, various systems of bodily training are receiving close attention from teachers and reformers, while athletic sports are now honored and encouraged in schools and colleges where not many years ago they were merely tolerated as safety-valves for unsubdued vitality. We are returning to Greek ideals, but the elimination of the mediæval and Puritanic expression of contempt for the body is a slow process, and the formula still meets us variously masked in life and literature. Now, it is the notion of the spiritualizing effect of invalidism, or delicacy of health; their debasing tendencies toward selfishness and morbidity being ignored. Again, it is the exaltation of nerve sensitiveness into an evidence of refinement; forgetting that the healthy nerve, like the pure metal, stands the normal test put upon it, the flinching being a token of failure as the alloy is of gold. In another instance, it is the scorn for manual labor, although this indicates also the survival of feudal feeling. We call the hand the servant of the mind, thinking we have ranked it, but educating the blind shows us that it may turn instructor and incite its ignorant master to action.

This is an age of fads and fetiches, and, as we give up our idol of disembodied intellect, we erect a shrine to meaningless muscle. We have outgrown croquet and archery. Even tennis no longer suffices, and we are founding schools of physical culture and gymnasiums ad libitum. In truth, these are needed badly enough