IN Greece, in the golden age of Pericles, in those wonderful eight-and-twenty years which represent the flowering time of the human spirit, the impulse in education was national and contemporary. There was no past whose achievements were so notable as those of the present. The ideals of life were the ideals of education, and the servant still served his master. Education was distinctly a process, never an end. The one language was the Greek tongue ; the one effort was the cultivation of personal power, the strong and beautiful body, the subtle and alert mind, the development of that sense of beauty and proportion which has left Greek art and literature unrivaled after more than two thousand years of human effort. Education, like life, was preëminently a thing of the present moment.
But this redeeming thought faded in the less beautiful culture of Rome, and went almost entirely out in that darkness which preceded our own dawn. When the fires of the Renaissance were kindled in the hearts of men, there seemed for them but one source to which they might turn for inspiration, — that bright light which still lingered like a memory over the shores of the Ægean and the Adriatic. The mechanism of culture became formal, for the culture sought was no longer an element of daily life, to be found in the hearts and the lives of their fellow men. It was an exotic, to be brought to a less friendly clime and coaxed into such growth as might be. The open sesame to this priceless culture of the past was not found in the idealization of the contemporary national life, which of all lessons was, it seems to me, the great lesson that Greek culture had to teach, but was found in keeping that culture wrapped up in the dead languages of Greece and Rome, and making education consist in learning how to get through the wrappings.
It would be an ungrateful spirit that denied, or perhaps even doubted, the spiritual value of the Renaissance, but we come here upon a picture which is at least calculated to make us stop and think. The two spiritual forces were the church and the university. But neither seemed to be laying very seriously to heart those pertinent words of Paul about the present nature of salvation. The Christian church was busily teaching pessimism, teaching how unprofitable is the present world, and claiming all that was fairest and best for a more shadowy realm. In the discouraging contrast between the things of this world and the things of the kingdom, in that constant antithesis which made the present moment an illusion, there was little to inspire an ideal of contemporary achievement. Even art was steeped in the same spirit. It expressed itself in cathedrals that stood for a kingdom which was to come, and painted saints and angels who had been. The schoolmen were as busily teaching a variety of scholastic pessimism; were practically demanding contempt for the present, and unlimited veneration for the past. Both of the spiritual forces of the time were making straight away from the artistic perfectness of daily life.
One almost trembles to think what would have happened had the men of those times been logical, and as devout and learned as priest and scholar would have made them. The priest would have been for sending them all straight to heaven through the renunciation of this world ; the scholar would have been for sending the best of them out of warm, palpitating life into the thought world of the past. Both were for denying the present moment; but both failed, Human nature admitted the premises, but declined the conclusions. It would not be so devout and it would not be so learned as the current thought demanded. Through this failure, which doubtless cost many a heartburn, the contemporary national life was saved from utter extinction, and was brought down the centuries to a later generation. To us remains the task of idealizing this contemporary national life, and accomplishing democracy.
The occasion for trembling has not yet passed. Theoretically, the majority of our people are steeped in quite as dangerous illogic as were the men of the Middle Ages. They are being saved by the practical denial of their own beliefs. I need not point out that salvation of such a type does not mean the liberation of the human spirit. The majority of our people are still avowed pessimists. The things of God still stand for light, the things of God’s world for darkness. Those of us who live in an atmosphere of liberal and cultivated thought do not sufficiently realize, I think, that in the less cultured communions of the Christian church this thoroughgoing pessimism is being persistently preached to a people who nominally accept it, but who daily fail to live up to it.
Now, we can have no sincere national life which is not founded upon a deep religious sentiment. Nor can we have a sincere contemporary life which is not founded upon a belief in the sacredness of the present moment, and upon a genuine faith in the essential beauty and goodness of life. When we put these two truths together, we are forced to realize that we can hope for no sincere national, contemporary life that is founded upon the creed of pessimism. Somewhat the same thing exists in the schools. They too, to fulfill their purpose, must turn more and more from other countries, other times, and other people to the rich content of the present moment. To come up to the Greek standard, the instruction must offer less representation and greater reality.
But while in the official world of church and school things have been going rather badly, better things have been happening in God’s greater world. In the fresh open of life, in the sacred cloisters of the human heart, forces have been gathering and growing and shaping, — forces, I am bound to believe, that will in the end do greater things than Greece was able to do. In Greece, the human body reached the highest degree of excellence and of beauty. In Greece, the human mind attained the acme of its power. Yet in this superb human animal there lurked an element of fatal weakness. It was in the human heart. Grecian civilization rested upon a foundation of human slavery. The downfall of Greece was brought about by her disregard of the rights of others. Supremacy passed away from Greece because she had not a humanity broad enough to extend beyond the family and the immediate state, beyond the boundaries of accident and circumstance, and give the hand of loving comradeship to the individual man. Greatly as we must deplore the overthrow of so much that was beautiful and precious, the travail of the centuries has brought a sweeter fruit. The force which I detect at the very heart of the modern impulse to life, stronger than Greece, more lusty than institutions, is just this giant cup-bearer of all my own hope, — it is the individual man.
There were men in Greece, magnificent men, and there have been men in all countries and in all times. The history of the world is the history of a few men. But their power has not limited itself to the wholesome personal power of the individual man. It has added the offensive power of undue possession, and a subservient following. It has lacked the saving grace of reverence for the individuality of the other man. What we want is the Grecian ideal of personal beauty and power touched with the modern ideal of human brotherhood and solidarity.
In the face of the undeniable struggle for wealth and peace and power, it may seem an over-optimism to declare that this is but an accident and circumstance of the time, and lacks significance. Yet I venture so to regard it. It is a passing fever which will spend itself and die. Meanwhile, the cause of humanity rests with a scattered handful of men and women, a saving minority, weak in numbers, but strong in destiny, — rests with them, and is perfectly safe. Their creed, if anything so informal may be called a creed, expresses itself in the same social terms, but terms that have been given a human interpretation. These men and women believe in wealth, but in a wealth that is human, in bodies that are both beautiful and strong, in senses that are alert and discriminating, in intellects that are sound and appreciative and creative ; above all, in hearts that are warm and human. They believe in rank, but in the rank that is self-conferred and bears no stamp save its own excellence. They believe in institutions, but in institutions which are alive to the present needs of the spirit; which will keep fresh and green the social and moral and æthetic and religious emotion of mankind, and will let the dead bury their dead. In this organic wealth we have a store of good fortune, of which there is quite enough to go all around, and which, happily, does not depend for its power upon another’s poverty. In this it is a strong contrast to that inorganic wealth which is the passing idol of the hour, — a wealth whose sole power, mark you, depends, not upon human good will and lovingservice, but upon the pressure of grinding human need. To even up this inorganic wealth would be to rob it of its power ; but the more organic wealth we have, the richer is every man’s delight.
The modern impulse which in the midst of much that is accidental remains the significant fact, that impulse which is the timeless element in our restless American life, is just this insistence upon the individual man, upon personality, and upon the surpassing worth of the present moment. It is the spirit which declares, I am.
The poets have a way of going straight to the heart of matters which quite shames our own feebler efforts. They are forever proclaiming the unknown, revealing the unknowable, and seemingly without being aware of it. I remember, some years ago, telling a friend of mine, a literary woman, about my enthusiasm for Paracelsus, a poem which still seems to me one of the noblest in our language. It is a true picture of the way a young man feels, a young man who aspires and is ready to browbeat Fate herself. My friend answered rather drolly, “ I have some hope for you, if you are caring for poetry.” I had never myself felt other than hopeful, and so I hastened to explain, by way of defense, and perhaps fearing she might think I had taken to verse-making myself, that it was because I found so much true science in our poets, and because they had such a turn for getting at the real news of the universe. “Ah,” she rejoined, “ that interests me. I have always cared for poetry, and of late it has given me a love for science, just as your care for science has brought you to poetry.” We had traveled different paths, but reached the same milestone. It is in the poets, then, that you will find the truest expression of this modern yet timeless spirit. If I were asked to sum it up in a single line,
I could not do better than to turn to that sturdy Homeric and yet twentieth-century poet, Walt Whitman. Indeed, I could nowhere else do so well. It is in his Song of the Open Road : —
In these few words you have the whole of the modern impulse, — the denial of outside possession, conferment, preferment; the assertion of the individual man ; the present moment.
I must believe, in spite of the apparently contradictory signs of the times,
I must believe that men and women are slowly coming to this sturdy, magnificent faith. It is difficult to exchange our trust in property, our trust in what other people say that we are, our trust in the sanity of the corporate mind, — to exchange this trust in outside possessions for an equally certain trus£ in our own personal prowess, a trust in our own knowledge of what we are, a trust in the sanity of our own spirit. It is difficult until we have once done it, and then it is difficult — nay, it is impossible — to do otherwise. In the heart where this faith resides die fear and the last lingering doubts of immortality.
The point is that this giving up of the illusions of life for the realities, this turning from mâyâ to âtman, as our Indian brother would say, does not come in the guise of renunciation. It is an exchange of quite a different sort, the surrender of a small good for a great good. It is that in the intellectual and emotional world, and in the bodily and intellectual and emotional wealth, we have the greater source of human delight. One does not need to be an idealist to realize this. The poor fellow who has spent youth and health in adding house to house and land to land, and then spends land and house in trying to regain health and youth, knows very well that yonder naked boy, exultant in the summer sunshine, and ready to plunge into the cool, sweet water, is richer than he. The tired man of affairs, in the very moment of his triumph, knows full well that the rosy youngster, lying stomach downward on the hearthrug and kicking his heels together in glee over his dear Walter Scott, is happier than he. And we all know, if we are lonely and unloved and unattached, whatever our other triumphs may have been, that in the nearest true home circle there are men and women more blessed than we. It is in these simple joys of a sound body, an alert mind, a warm and generous heart, that the delight and the poetry of life reside ; and it is in the beautiful men and beautiful women and beautiful children, who feel this delight and live this poetry, that the wealth of the world is to be found. These are the materials, the rich human materials, in which our civilization is to express itself, and not in the magnitude of our industries, the complete division of our labor, the speed of our transit, the giant proportions of our commerce, the size of our button-factories, the story upon story of our office tombs. The charm and the success of life do not reside in these. They reside in persons. The work of the saving minority is in the humanizing of this too material civilization. To make good fortune consist in one’s own superb person, this is the modern impulse, — an impulse which will have expressed itself only when all our people shall be beautiful, and accomplished, and noble, and free.
I cordially disapprove of much of the work of our current education, just because it is not expressing this modern spirit, is not laying the emphasis upon human beauty and power and emotion. But the modern spirit is abroad. The little prig who tells us that he has not missed a day at school for Heaven knows how many weary years is no longer praised. He has to answer the more searching question as to what good he got out of his school-going ; or probably we look at him and answer the question ourselves. The same human spirit makes us take more kindly to the little truant, for often he turns out to be the more interesting boy.
It is in no ungracious or unfriendly spirit that I challenge the schools, but nevertheless I do challenge them. And back of me stands the more serious challenge of events. It is surely a significant fact that the men and women whose performances in art, in science, in literature, have most touched the heart and the imagination of our time have been, for the most part, men and women who have taught themselves. Lincoln, our first American, was quite untaught in any academic sense, but nevertheless in his Gettysburg speech he reached a level in both thought and language that had not been reached in America before. As we all know, his two masters were the Bible and Shakespeare. It is true that on the other side of the water the best English of the century has perhaps been written by Matthew Arnold, an academician to the backbone. I read both his poetry and his prose over and over again with delight, and yet I know that in his lack of human warmth he has failed, in any very vital way, to touch the imagination of his time. I cannot forget the comment of the clever woman who said to me, in reference to the minor chord which pervades Arnold’s poetry, “Yes, I like him, but he always seems to me to be saying, ‘ Cheer up ; the worst is still to come.’ ” A message so discouraging as this is not the utterance of firstclass power. And we must confess, even if we do read Culture and Anarchy once a year, that there is a certain academic strut about it that we would gladly dispense with. The most considerable figures in current literature, men like Walt Whitman, Stevenson, and Kipling, are not academicians, but men who have seen and reported life, master workmen who have learned their craft at first-hand.
In science, it would be useless to ask who taught Darwin and Audubon, Agassiz and John Muir, for we all know that largely they taught themselves. Faraday, the great electrician of the early half of the century, was little more than a college servant, and yet when Sir Humphry Davy, the discoverer of the alkalis, the inventor of the safety-lamp, was asked which of his own discoveries he considered the greatest, he promptly replied, “ Michael Faraday.” And Edison, the great electrician of the latter half of the century, the man whose work has been so original that it has startled both continents, and whose inventions have changed the outer aspect and circumstance of daily life, — we know his history, know how completely he eluded the schools. In the world of art, of painting, sculpture, architecture, and music, the cases are even more abundant and striking. Indeed, the schools would almost have been fatal. Art is to do ; and to do with skill, one must set about the doing very young. In the studios of Paris,— and Paris, gay, cheerful, human Paris, is still the capital of the art world, — in these studios they attempt nothing so impossible as to teach art. There is your place, there are the materials and the studies, and you go to work. They do not mark your work 10, or 100, or A. If it is too bad, they say nothing. If it shows promise, they say, “ Pas mal; ” and on this encouragement you must live and work a month.
Now, the point is that the men and women whose performances have most touched the heart and the imagination of their time have been men and women who have done something that they wanted to do, some task prompted by their own activity, suggested by the consciousness of their own powers. They have done the work that was proper to themselves, and no one else in all God’s world could know what that work was to be.
When I was quite a young man, I went to New York to try my fortunes in a literary way. Besides my scroll and inkhorn I carried a letter to Mr. Roswell Smith, of The Century Magazine. He received me very kindly, and talked with me for some time. Finally he said, “Well, if you want to write, write,” and he held out his hand, — the interview was over. As I journeyed back to Philadelphia, I could not quite smother the reflection that I had gone considerable distance to get so obvious advice. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw that it was good advice, and just the sort of advice that, after all, when we address ourselves to the serious art of living, we must every one of us follow.
I repeat, it is a grave challenge to the schools that they are turning out, year after year, commonplace men and women, — somewhat informed, it is true, but too often ungracious and unattractive and unaccomplished, and in the main less capable than before of any truly original thought; while the flower of humanity, the men and women whom we delight to love and honor, have a way of coming to us from the open of life. I resent this social crime the more because commonplaceness and dull routine are precisely those unnecessary forms of destiny which I can tolerate with least patience. Life is so tremendously interesting : there is so much to be done and seen, and thought and felt; there are so many places of beauty and interest to be visited and appropriated ; there are so many noble men and women to be known and enjoyed, — what ungracious guests are we if, in this magnificent hostelry of God, we do not accept so royal entertaining. I speak as warmly as I do because I rebel to see the tragedy of Esau reënacted on our modern stage ; because I rebel to see boys and girls, men and women, selling their birthright for the cheap adornment of a formal education, for a bit of property, for a snug position, or for any other mess of pottage, however savory it may appear in a moment of conservatism and of weakness, when I know that the real charm of life is the beautiful and accomplished organism, the inquiring mind, the undismayed heart.
But I should ill serve the cause of human culture, to which I am in a way dedicated, if I simply tried to sow the seeds of discontent. Happily, my task is more gracious than that. It is a part of the present purpose to suggest briefly what seems to me ample remedy for the academic abuses of the hour. The problem of education is full of promise, full of the same bountiful promise as is the problem of society at large. And yet, just as I have been unable to say smooth things of the schools as they are, so I am unable to say smooth things of those halfand-half measures of reform which take the present school as a basis, and propose to mend it by an elaborate system of patching. From what I have seen of this operation, I am less hopeful than I am of the original article. Where the patching is most complete the results seem to me to be the worst. For this patching consists, not in renovating the curriculum along organic lines of cause and effect, but in adding to the curriculum in hopelessly ineffectual doses, perhaps one or two hours a week, the modern branches of gymnastic, manual training, sewing, cooking, clay modeling, science lessons, free-hand drawing, and the rest. I think we have but one result to expect, and that is failure. Some of these branches are added with the amiable thought that they may serve as opening wedges. But if we put so many wedges into a child’s day and into a child’s attention, we split them both into mere fragments, and the result is confusion. The children save themselves by not taking the matter too seriously.
It is not in the schools that light is to be found. It is in the great open world of life. If we start from this basis, the renovation of the schools is very simple, but it is also very thoroughgoing. The modern impulse which is to redeem society will also redeem the educational process. I have tried to point out what this modern impulse stands for ; to show that it stands for personality, for organic wealth, for beautiful men and beautiful women and beautiful children, beautiful alike in body and in spirit and in heart, and that this personality is to manifest itself here and now, in a strong, national, contemporary life.
To carry out this impulse, the school must stand resolutely for the present moment : not for the past, as is done in classical education ; not for the future, as is done in industrial education; but resolutely for the present moment. The character of the present is reality. All representation is of the past or the future. The work of the school must limit itself to reality, and must put aside those interminable representations which have hitherto been its chief stock in trade. The school must be a place for training. The library is a better guardian of facts and representations.
This one condition, this demand for present reality, simplifies the problem tremendously, for at a stroke it cuts out nearly all of the present complicated curriculum. I have a little friend, a most artistic boy, from whom I expect great things in the future. He goes to school when it pleases him, but he has rather a distaste for work assigned him by other people. He was charged recently with wasting his time by playing around so much. He replied quite indignantly, “ I never ‘ play around.’ I make plans, and carry them out.” These childish plans may seem trivial; but when we come to think about it, they are quite as important as many of the stupid things that fill our own days, and much more human and diverting. The particular injury which I think the schools do, in this matter, is to interfere with the child’s plan without enlisting sufficient interest in the school plan to make it sincere and real. Both plans are thwarted, and the child falls between them into that deplorable abyss whose name is apathy. I like, myself, to have my own way, I like it very much ; and you, if you are human, like to have yours. Why should we think it so naughty when children show the same predilection ? I believe quite seriously that we shall have more interesting and more successful men and women when we conscientiously allow children to have their own way just as far as it is possible. The line of possibility is to be drawn very sharply at all acts of aggression, and less sharply at suspected danger. Childish aggression is to be resisted to the utmost, and especially for the sake of the aggressor himself; but children can do many things with perfect safety that would be quite dangerous for us oldlings. There are few forms of exposure so fatal as the forms that protection takes. Nature has a way of looking out for the little people who fend for themselves.
We can do in life only what we want to do, and we can do with graciousness and success only what we want to do very much. If we are to accomplish anything worthy in education, we must do it by carrying out the process through the self-interest and the self-activity of the children themselves, and we must set up as our ideal living, breathing men and women, charming people of flesh and blood, and not scholastic phantoms. This method and this aim, this shifting of the ground from the outside to the inside, represent the first step in the attainment of that organic personal good fortune which is the burden of Whitman’s song.
But while I believe so strongly in the doctrine of non - interference, that we must come to our own, there is plenty of positive, present work for the schools to do, and I am not for a moment calling in question their ultimate usefulness. I am only recommending that they select the right work, and do it in the right way. To carry out the rich emotional and intellectual life of humanity, we need a good tool, a good body, a strong and beautiful and well-trained organism, and this is gained only through cultivation. This seems to me the right work of the schools. To seek this perfect organism through practical, organic training, along lines of cause and effect, seems the right way. In a word, I am commending organic education.
In our present official attempt at culture, we have the lower schools up to fourteen years of age, the high school from fourteen to eighteen, the college from eighteen to twenty-two, the university or professional school as long as we will. It is an appalling sequence, and we ought to do much more than we do toward realizing the charm and the success of life. For the present we may deal only with the lower schools. The modern impulse to life would reform these schools, not by patching them up, but by wholly reorganizing them ; by abolishing entirely the present curriculum of formal study, and substituting a thoroughgoing system of bodily training, — a system carried out for the explicit purpose of furnishing an adequate tool for the full expression of the emotional and intellectual life. Such a system would include but five branches of instruction, — gymnastic, music, manual training, free-hand drawing, and language. I am naming them in what I consider the order of their importance. I place language last, because I believe that expression in action is incomparably better than expression in words; that it is far better to help our brother man than to commend helpfulness, to be brave than to praise bravery, to paint a beautiful picture than to talk about art, to love than to write love sonnets ; and also because I am quite sure that sound content will find suitable dress. The present wail over our deficient English composition is at bottom a wail over deficient thought. It is overwhelmingly difficult to say anything when you have nothing to say. Dr. Holmes is responsible, I believe, for the observation that the boys on the Boston Common never misuse " shall ” and “ will.” I need not add that the Boston school children sometimes do. It is the same in art: no amount of technique atones for the absence of a true sentiment.
I omit mathematics altogether, and the other formal studies, except as they come in incidentally, because they are not a part of the present moment for a child, and may safely be left to the boys and girls of the high school.
I place gymnastic first, — not athletics, but gymnastic, — because it seems to me that good health and abounding vitality are the foundations of all other excellence. I believe with Dr. Johnson that sick men are rascals. Ill health is a form of serious immorality, and a most prolific source of social unhappiness and vice. But gymnastic has a larger mission even than good health. As an educational agent, it is to add to the body beauty and grace and usableness, to make it an admirable tool for the admirable purposes of the heart and mind.
The same human motive makes me place music second ; and by music I mean the artistic cultivation of the voice in both speech and song, as well as distinct musical training on some suitable instrument. What a tremendous contribution to the charm and success of life would be wrought by this simple innovation! We lose much through our harsh voices, in the gentle art of living. And then, too, music and song add so much to the joy of life. The sailor singing at the capstan, the negro singing in the cottonfields, experience an uplifting of spirit that we cheat ourselves by not sharing.
In the third branch, manual training, we have profitable occupation for as many hours a day as we will, — occupation touched with sincerity and reality, and therefore morally acceptable. It is possible to make many beautiful and useful things and to cultivate a cunning hand. But meanwhile, and better even than this, while the children are gaining muscular dexterity they are also gaining an equal mental dexterity, and are coming into that best of all possessions, the possession of themselves. I value manual training so highly, not because I want to turn our boys into artisans and our girls into clever housewives, but because I want to turn them into men and women of large personal power.
In free-hand drawing we have only another method of expressing the self, and one to be cultivated purely for this purpose, not, therefore, by giving the children set tasks, but by allowing them to express themselves in such drawings as they choose to make, helping them only in the method of representation and by limited suggestion.
I come once more to the question of language, and I want again to call attention to the fact that in importance it stands at the end of the list. All the other branches, in the hands of cultivated teachers, would involve constant practice in expression, and the specific study of English might even be omitted. Where it is undertaken, however, it might profitably be limited to spoken English, and the classes in reading and writing might be made entirely voluntary, allowing the children to come to these arts in their own good time and as the result of their own impulse. If at fourteen they did not know how to read, it would be surprising, but not in the least alarming. Few children in educated families, if left to themselves, pass the age of eight without learning to read, and many learn at four. At the same time one other spoken language might be learned, for a perfect pronunciation can hardly be acquired later than fourteen. French has the advantage of being still the language of art and of the world, and of being a great practical help in the formation of a clear and beautiful English style. The men who write the most exquisite English, men like Matthew Arnold and Cardinal Newman, have been much influenced by French literature. The reading of a good French book will be found a most helpful preparation, when one has a difficult article to write, for the French have the wonderful gift of lucidity. German may act the other way. Americans who study at the German universities show a curious awkwardness in their style, not entirely attributable to their being doctors of philosophy. German, with its immense wealth of thought, may safely be left to the high school.
Up to fourteen, then, a scheme of organic education would limit school work resolutely to the present moment, — to gymnastic, music, manual training, drawing, English and French. All of this work must enlist the good will, the good feeling, of the child, and the subtle spirit of noblesse oblige must be forever in the air. The best teacher of all is the one given to each child when it comes into the world, the mother. Poor indeed is the man who cannot say that from her have been learned the most priceless lessons. But of the many good and beautiful things which the mother tries to teach, nothing else is quite so helpful as that one lesson of the good expectation. More compelling than any spoken word is the sense that the good act is expected.
If one were limited to a single expression in which to sum up all virtue, one might safely choose “ good breeding; ” for in the generous interpretation of these two words is wrapped up everything in life that is beautiful and fair.
We should be sending up the most excellent material to the high school, were we to carry out such a scheme of organic culture, and in four years the children would be amply qualified for college. I speak so confidently because it is a matter of experience. In my Own case school life covered only two years in all, and of this only five months were given to direct preparatory work. The requirements are more exacting now, but, with such splendid bodily equipment as these children would have, surely the work could be well accomplished in four years.
One may feel disposed to ask, however, What of the children who do not go to college, or do not even go to the high school ? It requires, I think, no great boldness to maintain that even for them, perhaps especially for them, this scheme of organic training would still be the best; for it has as its goal personal power and accomplishment and goodness and beauty, and these qualities count vastly more, in the practical conduct of life, than the entire content of the present lower school formalism. And so I commend the scheme to Jack and to Margaret, whether they go to school many years or few.
It is quite time that I should bring this essay to an end, and yet I cannot resist the temptation of a final view.
The timeless impulse of the world is human. The imagination is stirred less and less by the giant apparition of the state, of the institution, of property, and more and more by the vision of the human, individual man. We are beginning to realize the true source of wealth, and to seek it where alone it can be found,—in personal power and beauty and sentiment, in the present moment, in the dear fatherland. The estimable part of life is human, beautiful men and beautiful women and beautiful children, — beautiful, and accomplished, and lovable, and free. I linger over these choice words, for, as I write them, a group of such goodly and gracious persons come crowding into my brain that I would fain have them stop and keep me company. The secret of their incomparable charm is that it has been gained, not at the price of another’s undoing, another’s pain, another’s exclusion, but with all helpfulness for their brother man. This timeless human impulse will prevail. The educational process which is to carry it out is one which brings to each little child, not information, but personal, organic good fortune, in a moment which is present and is good, and in a land which is ours and is great.
C. Hanford Henderson