Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/61

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51
MANUAL TRAINING.

So far as the content of this literature is concerned, the human spirit may be as wise and as gracious without the study of the dead languages, as with it. The issue really hangs, then, upon the value of the discipline. This, too, is as great as ever, but it must be remembered that a discipline may be good—may, indeed, be the best at any one time—and yet with the progress of events become relatively poor. This, it seems to me, is the case with the classics. We are working for intellectual power. There was a time when the classics offered the best means of attaining this end. But such studies appeal only to a limited set of faculties. The best discipline is undeniably one which appeals to the fullest set of faculties, for this will mean the largest amount of brain development, and consequently the greatest intellectual power.

The objection which the classicists hold against our modern science culture as a substitute for the ancient languages is, I take it, that we have made this culture an end in itself, and have valued the facts above their effect upon the human spirit. So far as this objection is true it is a valid one. But the same spirit which once made the study of Latin and Greek the acknowledged means of culture is even more applicable in science. Like the content of Latin and Greek in the middle ages, the content of science at the present time is something greatly to be desired in and for itself as adding immeasurably to the wisdom and graciousness of life; while the process of gaining this content—a process which employs every sense and every faculty, and from its necessities evolves new senses and new faculties—represents a discipline of the highest possible value.

The classicists have preserved the spirit of true culture—a profound appreciation of the subjective value of learning.

The scientists have reached the right method—the employment and development of all the senses and faculties.

The proper reconciliation between these contending friends of culture is very simple. It consists in cherishing the spirit of the one and adopting the method of the other.

Now I believe that a similar reconciliation is possible as regards manual training. The great thing is the human spirit, the sum of human faculty. The end of education is the unfolding and perfecting of the spirit. All other ends are secondary to this. It is the great thing in the kindergarten, in the elementary schools, in the high schools, in the universities. It is also the great thing, and we are much too apt to forget this, in the conduct of mature life. We are working for power. We are after a certain quality in organized matter, a complexity of structure and a sensitiveness in the gray and white of the brain. We can accomplish this purpose, we can gain this power, we can evolve this quality of complexity and sensitiveness only by very