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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

start without fastening him. They had proceeded a number of miles on their journey when they came to a place where two roads diverged. There at the fork of the roads sat Dick, serenely waiting to find which road to take. You may be sure he was not sent back.

Is it not certain that these dogs must have reasoned, and if they reasoned, is it not logical to conclude that dogs have a mind; then, if they have a mind, is this mind not immortal? Any child may ask these questions, but what child or philosopher will give them a satisfactory answer?

Helen Blackmer Poole.
Springfield, Mass., January 19, 1894.
 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

THE POSSIBILITIES OF EDUCATION.

THE article from the pen of Prof. C. Hanford Henderson, which appeared in our last number under the title of Cause and Effect in Education, is one deserving of more than passing attention. The point he sought to make was that education as an art can hardly be said as yet to have entered on its scientific stage, seeing that it is still haunted by so many unverified a priori conceptions, and that the true limits and conditions of successful working are still far from being generally understood. The general subject is one which has been very often discussed in these columns, but it is also one on which there always seems to be another word to say.

Education, from one point of view, is a debt which the adult generation owes to that which is to succeed it. This civilization to which we have attained, these general ideas, these intellectual resources, these moral principles, these habits and customs of proved utility—how are they to be passed on to those who are to succeed us? By education—that is to say, by mental contact and moral sympathy between those who know and those who as yet do not know. That is the problem in its most general aspect. Here we may make two reasonable assumptions; the first, that all we have learned the rising generation may also learn; the second, that possibly, nay probably, it is not worth the while of the rising generation to learn all that we have learned. We can not teach our children more than we know, but we can teach them less than we know, and so leave room for their own independent acquisitions. It behooves us, therefore, to sift our knowledge and whatever else we have to impart, and consider very carefully what is worth passing on and what is not. Much good, we believe, would come from a serious and earnest facing of this question, What should I teach or have taught to my child in its own best interest? Things which we ourselves have learned, perhaps with considerable effort or at considerable cost in other ways, we are apt to attach a fictitious value to, simply because they have cost us dear; but the spirit of virtuosity should not enter into education; let the child become a virtuoso after his own fashion later if circumstances lead him to do so, but meantime let our chief effort be to give him a free and healthy mind in a free and healthy body.

One thing is certain: every child, every human being, wants the full use of his senses and other natural faculties. Eyes were made to see with, ears to hear with, vocal organs to speak and sing with, and hands to feel with. Any system of education, therefore, that is inspired by true benevolence toward the child will start by taking stock of his natural endowments, so as to correct, as far as possible, any defects that may attach to them and provide for their fullest development. Children are often far from perceiving the benevolent intent in the systems of education