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THE present work by Professor Painter takes up the subject from the standpoint of the history of civilization. The educational ideals that have prevailed have been derived from the principles that have controlled nations and religions. Each State has evolved a system of education in conformity with the fundamental idea of its civilization. It may or may not have had a system of schools, but it has possessed instrumentalities for education in the family, civil society, and religious ceremonial, besides its own direct discipline through the laws and their administration and through its public service, civil and military. In religion, whether Christian or “heathen," there is implied a definite fundamental view of the world which is referred to in all concrete relations, and by this there is given a sort of systematic unity to the details of life. The first object of parental government is to train the child into habits of conformity to the current religious view. The government seeks to enforce an observance of regulations that establish social relations founded on the view of the world furnished in religion.
We learn, therefore, to look for the explanation of the system of education in the national ideal as revealed in its religion, art, social customs, and form of government. A new phase of civilization demands a new system of education. The school, originally organized as an instru
mentality of the Church, is needed to reenfore the other institutions, and accordingly in modern times gets expansion and modification for this object. It is in this study of the civilization as a whole that we learn to comprehend the organization of the schools of a country.
The attention of the reader is called, first, to the broad contrast between the spirit of education as it existed in Asia and that in Europe. Subjection to authority is the principle on which most stress is laid in the former. The development of the individual seems to be the constantly growing tendency in the latter, and especially in its colonies. Absolute rulers, castes, parental government, and ethical codes, form the chief themes of interest in Oriental education. Personal adventure, its celebration in works of art, the growth of constitutional forms of government that protect the individual from the crushing might of paternalism, free thought, its organization into science these are the features that attract us in the civilization of the Occident, and which explains its educational systems.
Inasmuch as the element of authority continues throughout all history as a necessary strand of civilization, it follows that Oriental civilization has important lessons for all people, even the most democratic. The net result of the life of the race must be summed up and given to the child, so that he shall be saved from repeating the errors that had to be lived through before the wisdom expressed by the ethical code could be generalized. Implicit obedience has to be the first lesson for the child. How he shall gradually become endowed with self-control, and finally have the free management of all his affairs, is the further problem of the educational system.
After the reader has studied the spirit of the Asiatic systems, he will find his interest in fixing as clearly as possible the spirit of Christianity before his mind. The influence of such an idea as that of the Divine-human God condescending to assume the sorrows and trials of mortal life, all for the sake of the elevation of individual souls, the humblest and weakest as well as the mightiest and most exalted, is potent to transform civilization. That the divine history should be that of infinite tenderness and consideration for the individual, even in his imperfections, acts as a permanent cause to affect the relation of the directing and controlling powers in human society to the masses beneath them. The whole policy of the institutions of civilization-family, State, Church-becomes more and more one of tender nurture and development of individuality as the highest object to be sought by humanity.
In the struggle between the study of the “humanities" and the study of the "moderns” (or science, modern languages, modern literature, and history), we have reached the process that still goes on in our own day unadjusted by the discovery of a common ground that conserves the merits of both tendencies. In Chinese education, with its exclusive training of the memory, in the study of Latin and Greek among modern European nations, and, indeed, in such trivial matters as the study of English spelling, with its lack of consistency and its strain on the mechanical memory, we see the same educational effects obtained. Memory is the faculty that subordinates the present under the past, and its extensive training develops a habit of mind that holds by what is prescribed, and recoils from the new and untried. In short, the educational curriculum that lays great stress on memorizing produces a class of conservative people. On the other hand, the studies that develop original powers of observation, and especially
a scientific mind, devoted to Nature and neglecting human history, produce a radical, not to say revolutionizing, tendency. It must be obvious that true progress demands both tendencies, held in equilibrium.
The study of the wisdom of the race, the acceptance of the heritage of the past life of the race, is essential to save the new generation from repeating all the steps traveled on the way hitherto. This necessitates the grounding of education in a study of the humanities. On the other hand, if this load of prescription is not to be a millstone that crushes out all spontaneity from the rising generation, there must be a counter-movement whose principle is the scientific spirit, approaching the world of Nature and the world of institutions with the free attitude of science and individual investigation, which accepts only the results that can be demonstrated or verified by its own activity, and enjoys therefore a feeling of selfrecognition in its acquisitions. In science, man is doubly active: on the one hand, seizing and inventorying the particular fact or event; on the other hand, subsuming it under a universal principle that involves causal energy and a law of action. The act of subsumption gives the mind special gratification because it feels set free from the limited instance and elevated to the realm of principle, wherein it sees the energy that creates all instances, and contains them all potentially within itself. Hence, the spirit of revolution that is gaining so powerful a hold of society in the most recent times. The spirit of science is contagious, and impels toward complete emancipation from the past. But science has made comparatively little progress in the social and political departments, and, besides this, no one is born with science, nor is it possible for one to attain it in early youth. Hence, it is necessary to retain the prescriptive element in education, and to insist upon implicit obedience to prescribed rule at first. There must be a gradual transition over to selfgovernment and free scientific investigation.