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nolens volens. The merchant gets his technical knowledge at the clerk's desk, the barrister in the conveyancer's offices or the law courts, the engineer in the workshop and the field. It is the very purpose of a liberal education, as it is correctly called, to develop and train the plastic fibres of the youthful brain, so as to prevent them taking too early a definite' set,' which will afterwards narrow and restrict the range of acquisition and judgment. I will even go so far as to say that it is hardly desirable for the actual things taught at school to stay in the mind for life. The source of error is the failure to distinguish between the form and the matter of knowledge, between the facts themselves and the manner in which the mental powers deal with facts.
" It is wonderful that Mr. Cross and those who moralise in his strain do not perceive that the actual facts which a man deals with in life are infinite in number, and cannot be remembered in a finite brain. The psychologists, too, seem to me to be at fault in this matter, for they have not sufficiently drawn attention to the varying degrees of duration required in a well organised memory. We commonly use the word Memory so as to cover the faculties of Retention, Reproduction and Representation, as described by Hamilton, and very little consideration will show that in different cases we need the powers of retention, of suggestion and of imagination in very different degrees. In some cases we require to remember a thing only a few moments, or a few minutes ; in other cases a few hours or days ; in
yet other cases a few weeks or months : it is an infinitesimally small part of all our mental impressions which can be profitably remembered for years. Memory may be too retentive, and facility of forgetting and of driving out one train of ideas by a new train is almost as essential to a well-trained intellect as facility of retention.
" Take the case of a barrister in full practice, who deals with several cases in a day. His business is to acquire as rapidly as possible the facts of the case immediately before him. With the powers of representation of a well-trained mind, he holds these facts steadily before him, comparing them with each other, discovering their relations, applying to them the principles and rules of law more deeply graven on his memory, or bringing them into connection with a few of the more prominent facts of previous cases which he happens to remember. For the details of laws and precedents he trusts to his text writers, the statute book, and his law library. Even before the case is finished his mind has probably sifted out the facts and rejected the unimportant ones by the law of obliviscence. One case done with, he takes up a wholly new series of facts, and so from day to day, and from month to month, the matter before him is constantly changing. The same remarks are even more true of a busy and able administrator like Mr. Cross. The points which come before him are infinite in variety. The facts of each case are rapidly brought to his notice by subordinates, by correspondence, by debates in the House, by deputations and in
terviews, or by newspaper reports. Applying well-trained powers of judgment to the matter in hand, he makes a rapid decision and passes
to the next piece of business. It would be fatal to Mr. Cross if he were to allow things to sink deep into his mind and stay there. There would be .no difficulty in showing that in like manner, but in varying degrees, the engineer, the physician, the merchant, even the tradesman or the intelligent artisan, deal every day with various combinations of facts which cannot all be stored up in the cerebral framework, and certainly need not
“ The bearing of these considerations upon the subject of examinations ought to be very evident. For what is but the rapid acquisition of a series of facts, the vigorous getting up of a case, in order to exhibit well-trained powers of comprehension, of judgment, before an examiner? The practised barrister
crams' up his brief' (so called because, as some suppose, made brief for the purpose) and stands an examination in it before a judge and jury. The candidate is not so hurried ; he spends months or it may be two or three years in getting up his differential calculus or his inorganic chemistry. It is quite likely that when the ordeal is passed, and the favourable verdict delivered, he will dismiss the equations and the salts and compounds from his mind as rapidly as possible ; but
; it does not follow that the useful effect of his training vanishes at the same time. If so, it follows that almost all the most able and successful
men of the present day threw away their pains at school and college. I suppose that no one ever heard of a differential equation solving a nice point of law, nor is it common to hear Sophocles and Tacitus quoted by a leading counsel. Yet it can hardly be denied that our greatest barristers and judges were trained in the mathematical sciences, or if not, that their teachers thought the classics a better training ground. If things taught at
. school and college are to stay in the mind to serve us in the business of life, then almost all the higher education yet given in this kingdom has missed its mark. I come to the conclusion, then, that well-ordered education is a system of well-sustained 'cram.'
We cannot consider it the work of teachers to make philosophers and scholars and geniuses of various sorts : these, like poets, are born not made. Nor, as I have shown, is it the business of the educator to impress indelibly upon the mind the useful knowledge which is to guide the pupil through life. This would be cram ’indeed. It is the purpose of education so to exercise the faculties of mind that the infinitely various experience of after-life may be observed and reasoned upon to the best effect. What is popularly condemned
' is often the best devised and best conducted system of training towards this all-important end.” (Jevons, Cram,' art. in Mind, pp. 193–207, No. VI., April, 1877.)
173." The act of knowing is that activity of the mind by means of which it consciously reproduces in itself what actually exists. The act of
knowing is partly immediate or outer and inner perception, partly mediate or thinking. The regulative laws (injunctions, prescriptions) are those universal conditions to which the activity of knowledge must conform in order to attain to the end and aim of knowledge." (Ueberweg, Hist. Log. Doct., p. 1, ed. 1871.)
174. “Knowledge, in the wider sense in which we here use the word, comprehends both cognition, which rests on perception (and on the evidence transmitting perceptions of which we are ignorant), and also knowledge in the stricter sense, which is attained by thinking.
175. “ The act of knowing, in so far as it is the copying in the human consciousness of the essence of the thing, is an after-thinking of the thoughts which the divine creative thinking has built into things.
In action the preceding thought determines what actually exists, but in knowing the actual existence, in itself conformable to reason, determines the human thought. (Ibid., p. 2.)
176. “í. The objective existence to be known consists not merely of natural objects, but also (as in history, etc.) of mental contents. 2. The mirroring in consciousness, although reproduction, cannot be accomplished without a peculiar activity of the mind. 3. The whole activity of the mind is not exhausted in knowledge. There is besides the creative power of the phantasy, reforming and refining what is given in the conception, and ethical action."
(Ibid., pp. 2-3.)