« AnteriorContinuar »
pear as a part of the larger duty: to respect what the Lord has ordained. Christianity has revived and given a deeper meaning to the idea of vocation by conceiving it as implying membership in a large spiritual body.' With such a religious consideration to guide man, there will be little danger lest his striving for moral perfection result in self-justification and pride in virtue attained; neither will the tendency to refinement lead to selfgratification and playing with cultural values; the disciplinary value of truth will be fully realized, for the doctrines of faith will be the centre of all knowledge, and this centre, being removed from the errors and follies of men, will teach the wholesome lesson that God, and not man, is the measure of all things. Greatness and power will lose some of their charm in the light of the fact that all earthly goods have but a relative value, and that the idolizing of them will entail the eternal loss of the soul. The eagerness for many-sided learning and activity will be tempered by the conviction that true peace of soul can not be enjoyed amid ceaseless striving and yearning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This wisdom ennobles man so that his knowledge and skill serve the interests of morality and virtue, and on this account this wisdom must be the goal of all efforts tending toward the humanization and spiritualization of life. The spiritualization of personal life is the condicio sine qua non for humanized co-operation in the various fields of human endeavor; and the serious character of work must control and direct the impulses to know, to learn, and to do.
1 Vol. I, ch. XV, 1 and supra, p. 34.
THE IDEALS OF EDUCATION.
The Presuppositions of the Educational Ideals.
1. Our teleological analysis has led to the discovery of a number of educational motives and aims, and though they may be examined separately and individually, yet they can not be understood as real and efficient factors of one's consciousness until they are again joined in what was their original union. To obtain a complete view of any truth, we must receive it first in the gross, then notice it in detail part by part, and finally grasp it once more in its entirety by an intelligent synthesis. Every analysis of something living, whether of the organic or the moral world, has the real object of its inquiry, not before, but in back of itself; and hence we must, after having finished our analysis, reunite by a synthesis what was separated by the analysis.
There is a great diversity in the way in which the educational motives and aims co-operate in one's consciousness, as may be seen from the various historical forms of education described in the first volume of the present work. Here, however, we shall content ourselves with a general and psychological distinction, based on an examination of the more or less perfect synthesis of the factors to be considered. The combination of different impulses, ends, and aims may result in a mere synchretism; or it may also develop into a perfect synthesis, a pure and harmonious union. In the first case we should have a more or less pronounced educational tendency; but in the second case, an educational ideal.
Ideals are living and life-giving pictures of a state in which a tendency has attained its end, a striving its object, a struggle its reward. An educational ideal is a picture which rouses one's energy and encourages strong effort by representing such a state of intellectual and moral perfection as will reveal the fullest and purest results of the educative process.
2. The development of educational tendencies into educational ideals depends on several conditions. The educational tendency (Bildungstreben) must deal with a certain content and must be regarded as a special field of activity, before its objects can be regarded as ideals. Furthermore, the tendency must. have been the subject of some thought, though the ideal itself is the outcome less of reflection than of an intuition which is akin to the intuition of the artist; but the evaluating reflection must prepare for this intuition. Finally, a personal element must be added in the form of intelligible and tangible types: men of brilliant attainments must be set as signposts along the road to indicate the direction to what is best in education. This personal element is needed in all ideals, but is a special requirement in educational ideals. There can be no type of idealized mental culture without strong and striking personalities serving as models: i. e., celebrated teachers, great masters, harmonious natures, in a word, such men as unite in themselves what is scattered in the consciousness of the race.
The character of the educational ideals is determined in part by the other ideals cherished by the respective people or age. Men will imagine the personal embodiment of the concept of education according to what they demand of the representatives of the higher life-the wise man, the research worker, the poet or the artist, the perfect gentleman, the noble lady, the man of honor, and the zealous clergyman. Their educational ideal will show traces of all these types, and these traces will vary according to the tendency of the age; and one might well characterize the historical ideals of education from the viewpoint of this elective affinity. But even in one and the same age we may discover varying types of educational ideals: the scientific investigator will pursue a somewhat different educational ideal than the artist, the gentleman, or the man of practical affairs.
The material element is a second influence in shaping the character of the educational ideal. The latter is not created by first conceiving a model picture and then looking about for the material to realize it. The content and the form are developed simultaneously; the favorite studies and occupations determine the final shape of the ideal as well as the subject-matter of the teaching in the schools. To describe the educational ideal of any age, it is invariably necessary to touch upon the educational content of that age, especially because the latter often furnishes the name for the characteristic traits of the ideal: Greek edu
cation may be called liberal-gymnastic; medieval education, Scholastic; and Latinity is the main feature of the Renaissance ideal.
3. There is an interaction between end and means, just as between matter and form; and educational institutions are not established after the complete development of educational ideals, but influence them in their first growth. For example, the educational tendencies of the Middle Ages are responsible for the universities, and these in turn contributed their goodly share toward the shaping of the ideal of medieval education; the ideals of the Enlightenment were born of the movements and influences springing from the salons and social circles, and these themselves owed their existence to the need of enlightenment felt by the age. In fact, educational ideals always show the traces of different influences springing either from schools or social organisms; and we might well divide and describe the educational ideals, particularly of modern times, from these points of view.
Besides the educational institutions, the prevailing theories of education also assist in shaping the ideal of education. The science of education either formulates in exact statements what the consciousness of the respective period regards as a model of educational conditions, or goes beyond the prevailing views and voices future aims. This practice of educationists detracts generally from the clearness and even the fullness of the ideals. The formulas of educationists can not express adequately the ethos and content of educational tendencies; they either select only the striking characteristics, which are moreover often opposed to one another or ill-connected, and leave their exposition to the actual observer, or express their demands in certain watchwords, such as humanity, piety, harmonious development, etc. But these very watchwords are likewise unintelligible unless one knows from other sources what meaning was attached to them by the consciousness of the respective period. Though all this proves how vain it is to attempt to define what can by reason of its nature be only described, and though these abstract and ambiguous terms work some harm, yet it can not be denied that educational theory has steadily been growing into a more and more important factor with regard to shaping the educational ideals. There is a similar tendency in the fine arts, and the studies in art theory have begun to influence the ideals of artists; and though this shows some weakness in the artists' creative power, still it is but a necessary result of extending the boundaries of intellectual activity.
The Distinctive Characteristics of an Educational Ideal.
1. What appears most conspicuous in the type of an educated. man, is a series of intellectual qualities. The man of education must be a man of knowledge, and must have passed through a course of intellectual schooling. But his knowledge may not be a dead and cold element, whose absence would not change him materially: he must have a ready command of his knowledge; it must be an element or leaven of his life. While the educated man must thus have solid and systematic knowledge, he must still keep his mind open to receive additional information from such sources as reading, conversation, the arts, etc. His many-sided interest must prevent narrowness as well as rigidity in his mental activity. His knowledge and schooling must make him mentally alert. The fruit of his schooling must appear in the sureness of his understanding, reasoning, reproducing, seeking, and finding; but his knowledge should not smack of the schoolroom, i. e., he should carry no burden of knowledge that is merely crammed, and which he can not, therefore, freely control.
The truly educated man knows enough to realize that his knowledge is imperfect. He has seen enough of science to realize how little of it he has really made his own. Hence he will make use of every opportunity to listen, to learn, to put questions, and to test in his own mind the truth of the answers. But though his mind must be on the alert, it may not be restless; his many-sidedness must not tempt him to dabble in every field; he must strive to combine an interest in all knowledge with inner harmony. He must be a man of general education; and this general education must, unlike scholarship-which may draw upon the most remote ages-derive its content from the present. Still, what is merely fashionable in life, in customs, in art and science, should remain on the outside, and not fill the soul of the educated man; for in his soul only that which is permanent and above the changing caprices and whims of the world, must hold sway. The educated man must be convinced of being a link in a long chain of historical, social, and transcendental associations; and this conviction will preserve him from becoming a plaything of the day, "a fool of time.
The truly educated man is enlightened. He knows that the traditional is not good because it is traditional, i. e., handed