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mediate ends ; yet it must incorporate itself in the most definite applications, in order to be clearly manifested.
“ But who then educates in nations and ages ?—Both !—The living time, which for twenty or thirty years struggles unceasingly with men through actions and opinions, tossing them to and fro as with a sea of waves, must soon wash away or cover the precipitate of the short school
years, in which only one man, and only words taught. The century is the spiritual climate of man, mere education the hot-house and forcing-pit, out of which he is taken and planted forever in the other. By century is here meant the real century, which may as often truly consist of ten years, as of ten thousand, and which is dated, like religious eras, only from great inen. What can insulated words do against living present action ? The present has for new deeds also new words ; the teacher has only dead languages for the, to all appearance, dead bodies of his examples. The educator has himself been educated, and is already possessed, even without his knowledge, by the spirit of the age, which he assiduously labors to banish out of the youth (as a whole city criticises the spirit of the whole city). Only, alas ! every one believes himself to stand so precisely and accurately in the zenith of the universe, that, according to his calculation, all suns and nations must culminate over his head ; and he himself, like the countries at the equator, cast no shadow save into himself alone.
The spirit of the nation and of
age decides, and is at once the schoolmaster and the school ; for it seizes on the pupil to form him with two vigorous hands and powers ; with the living lesson of action, and with its unalterable unity. If-to begin with unity-education must be, like the Testament, a continuous endeavor to withdraw the force of interrupting mixtures, then nothing builds up so strong as the present, which ceases not for a moment, and eternally repeats itself ; and which, with joy and sorrow, with towns and books, with friends and enemies, in short, with thousand-handed life, presses and seizes on us.
No teacher of the people continues so uniformly one with himself as the teaching people. Minds molten into masses lose something of their free movements : which bodies, for instance, that of the world, perhaps that of the universe, seem to gain by their very massiveness, and, like a heavy colossus, to move all the more easily along the old, iron-covered track. For however much marriages, old age, deaths and enmities, are in the individual case subject to the law of freedom, yet in a whole nation, lists of births and deaths can be made, by which it may be shown that in the canton of Berne (according to Mad. de Staël) the number of divorces, as in Italy that of murders, is the same from year to year.
Must not, now,
the little human being placed on such an eternally and ever similarly acting world, be borne as upon a flying earth, where the only directions that a teacher can give avail nothing, because he has first unconsciously received his line of movement upon it ?
“Thence, in spite of all reformers and informers, nations, like meadows, reach ever a similar verdure ; thence, even in capital cities, where all school-books and schoolmasters, and even parents of every kind, educate, the spirit maintains itself unalterably the same. Repetition is the mother not only of study, but also of education.
Certainly one might say that also in families there educates, besides the popular masses, a pedagogic crowd of people ; at least, for instance, aunt, grandfathers, grandmothers, father, mother, god-parents, friends of the family, the yearly domestics, and at the end of all the instructor beckons with his forefinger, so that -could this force continue as long as it would gladly be maintained- a child, under these many masters, would resemble, much more than one thinks, an Indian slave, who wanders about with the inburnt stamps of his various masters. But how does the multitude disappear compared with the higher one, by which it was colored ; just as all the burnt marks of the slave yet cannot overcome the hot black coloring of the sun, but receive it as a coat of arms in a sable field ?
The end desired must be known before the way. All means or arts of education will be, in the first instance, determined by the ideal or archetype we entertain of it. But there floats before common parents, instead of one archetype, a whole picture cabinet of ideals, which they impart bit by bit, and tattoo into their
children. If the secret variances of a large class of ordinary fathers were brought to light, and laid down as a plan of studies, and reading catalogue for a moral education, they would run somewhat after this fashion :-In the first hour pure morality must be read to the child, either by myself, or the tutor ; in the second, mixed morality, or that which may be applied to one's own advantage ; in the third, ‘ Do you not see that your
father does so and so ?' in the fourth, " You are little, and this is only fit for grownup people ;' in the fifth, “The chief matter is that
you should succeed in the world, and become something in the state ;' in the sixth, * Not the temporary, but the eternal, determines the worth of a man ;' in the seventh, “Therefore rather suffer injustice, and be kind ;' in the eighth, but defend yourself bravely if any one attack you ;' in the ninth, 'Do not make such a noise, dear child ;' in the tenth, “A boy must not sit so quiet ;' in the eleventh, “ You must obey your parents better ;' in the twelfth, and educate yourself.' So by the hourly change of his principles the father conceals their untenableness and one-sidedness. As for his wife, she is neither like him, nor yet like that harlequin who came on to the stage with a bundle of papers under each arm, and answered to the inquiry what he had under his right arm, ' orders,' and to what he had under his left, counterorders ;' but the mother might be much better compared to a giant Briareus, who had a hundred arms, and a bundle of
The majority of educated men are, therefore, at present an illumination which burns off by fits and starts in the rain, shining with interrupted forms, and depicting broken characters. But the bad and impure spirits of educational systems are yet to be reduced into other divisions. Many parents educate their children only for themselves,—that is, to be pretty blocks, or soul-alarums, which are not set to move or sound when stillness is required. The child has merely to be that on which the teacher can sleep most softly or drum most loudly ; who, having something else to do and to enjoy, wishes to be spared the trouble of education, duly but most unreasonably expecting its fruits. Related to those teachers who wished to be machine-makers are the educators for appearances and political usefulness. Their maxims, thoroughly carried out, would only produce pupils, or rather sucklings, passively obedient, boneless, well-trained, patient of all things,—the thick, hard, human kernel would give place to the soft, sweet fruit-pulp,--and the child's clod of earth, into which growing life should breathe a divine spirit, would be kept down and manured as though it were but a corn-field,—the edifice of the state would be inhabited by mere spinning-machines, calculating-machines, printing and pumping apparatus, oil-mills, and models for mills, pumps, and spinning-machines, &c.
Education can neither entirely consist of mere unfolding in general, or, as it is now better called, excitement, -for every continued