The Unity of Education


GENTILE, Giovanni. The Reform of Education, translated by Dino Bigongiari, 166–191. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.


Having exemplified the prejudices of realism in the phases that are most harmful to education, I shall now proceed to discuss the fundamental corollary of the idealistic thesis as an effective remedy against the ravages of realism. For, as I have already shown, the realistic conception of life and culture is by no means a minor error which could be corrected as soon as discovered. Originating in a primitive tendency which impels the human spirit on through a realistic phase before it can freely emerge into the loftier consciousness of self and power (which is the conquest of idealism), this error again and again crops out of even the most convinced anti-realistic consciousness. So that if at any moment our higher reflection slackens its vigilance, the error creeps back into the midst of our ideas, gains control of our intelligence, and resumes its former sway over thought. It is not sufficient then to become aware of the faults of realism and of the prejudices in which it is mirrored; we must, in addition to all of this, strengthen in our minds the intuition of the spirituality of culture, render it more subtle, more accurate, more certain, and bring to it the energy of a faith which, after taking possession of our souls, shall become our life’s character.


We must therefore look intently at the significance of that principle which identifies culture with man’s personality, notice its most important consequences, and set these up as the laws of education, since by education we mean the creation of a living culture which shall be the life of the human mind. The first and foremost of these consequences, the direct corollary of our proposition, is the concept of the Unity of Education. Though often referred to, it has not yet been attained by pedagogical doctrines, nor has it been the aim of the work of teachers. Neither theory nor practice—more intimately connected than is ordinarily supposed—shows as yet that this concept is understood and adequately appreciated. It is opposed with full force by the realistic conception which, keeping man distinct from his culture, and materialising this culture, naturally attributes to it, and to education in which it is reflected, that multiplicity and fragmentariness which is the characteristic of things material.


This scrappiness of culture and of education is the error on which all the prejudices of realistic pedagogy are grounded. It is the enemy that must be vanquished in the course of the crusade that has been preached by idealism in its endeavour to liberate instruction from the deadly oppression of mechanism. But in order to combat this foe we must first know it: and we must gain a clear understanding of that unity of education which it antagonises with uncompromising opposition.


If we open a treatise on pedagogy or examine a schedule of courses, if we look through a programme or stop to consider our every-day technical terminology, we cannot help noticing that education is broken up by divisions and subdivisions ad infinitum, exactly as though it were a material object, which because material possesses infinite divisibility. Textbooks tell us that education is (1) physical, (2) intellectual, (3) moral. Then narrowing the subject down to one section, the intellectual, which for good reasons has been treated more carefully and sympathetically by traditional pedagogy, we find some such subdivisions: artistic, scientific, literary, philosophical, religious, etc. Again, artistic education will be split up into as many sections as there are arts, and scientific instruction in the same way; for pedagogy assigns to each branch of the classification its corresponding method of teaching. It goes without saying that the sciences of any given branch are different among themselves, and the study of botany, for example, is not the study of zoology. And there are as many forms of culture to be promoted by education as there are sciences; which is clearly shown by school announcements assigning to certain years, and for definite days and hours, the several courses of the curriculum, that is, the several educations.


It is taken for granted that Education, properly so called, will result from the ensemble of these particular educations—physical, intellectual, moral, etc.,—each one of which contributes its share to the final result, and is therefore a part of the entire education. And each field produces certain peculiar results which it would be idle to demand of another section, just as we never expect an olive grove to yield a crop of peaches. Every part, self-contained and quite distinct from the rest, absolutely excludes all other parts from itself. Therefore the subjects taught in a school are numerous, and there must accordingly be specialised teachers. And again each instructor must be careful not to mix up the several parts which compose his subject. The teacher of history, for example, when he takes up the French Revolution, must forget the unification of Italy, and treat each event in order and in turn; and the instructor of Italian will take up the history of literature on a certain day of the week, and devote some other hour to the study of the individual works themselves.


So also we never fail to distinguish and carefully separate the two parts of the teacher’s work, his ability as a disciplinarian and his skill in imparting information, for it is an accepted commonplace of school technique that ability to teach is one thing, and the power to maintain discipline is another. It is one thing to be able to keep the class attentive to the discussion of a given subject, and quite another to treat this subject suitably for the needs and attainments of the pupils. Discipline is considered thus as a mere threshold; the real teaching comes after. For, it is argued, discipline has no cultural context; it is nothing more than the spiritual disposition and adaptation which should precede the acquisition, or is we so wish to call it, the development of real culture,—a disposition which is obtained when respect for the authority of the teacher is ensured.


The recognition of that authority simply means the establishment of a necessary condition; as for the real work of education, that is yet to come. And if we should stop at what we have called the threshold, we should have no school at all. There are teachers, in fact, who keep good discipline, but who are yet unable to teach, either through lack of culture or because they are deficient in methods.


All these are commonplaces to which we often resort without stopping to consider their validity. And, in truth, it is because of this lack of consideration that we are able to use them without noticing their absurdities and without therefore feeling the necessity of emending our ways. This lack of reflection resolves itself into a lack of precision in the handling of these concepts. They are formulated without much rigour with a great deal of elasticity, and in the spirit of compromising with that truth against which they would otherwise too jarringly clash.


First of all, no one has ever conceived the possibility of separating discipline from education. What is often done is to distinguish discipline from that part of education which is called instruction, and to consider the two as integrating the total concept of education. Mention is often made of the educational value of discipline. But this kind of co-ordination of the two forms of education—discipline and instruction—and their subordination to the generic concept of education are more easily formulated than comprehended. For if we should distinguish them simply on the grounds that one is the necessary antecedent of the other, we should have a relationship similar to that which connects any part of instruction with the part which must be presupposed before it as an antecedent moment in the same process of development. But the relationship which exists between any two parts of instruction cannot serve to distinguish from instruction a thing which is different from it.


We might wish, perhaps, to consider as characteristic of this absolute antecedence the establishment of the authority without which teaching, properly so called, cannot begin. But the objection to this would be that every moment of the teaching process presupposes a new authority, which can never be considered as definitely acquired, which is constantly being imposed anew, and which must proceed at every given instance from the effective spiritual action exercised by the teacher upon the pupil. In other words, I mean to say that no teacher is able independently of the merits of his teaching to maintain discipline simply and solely on the strength of his personal prestige, of his force of character, or any other suitable qualification. For whomever he may be, and whatever the power by which at the start he is able to attract the attention of his pupils and to keep it riveted on his words, the teacher as he begins to impart information ceases to be what he was immediately before, and becomes to the eyes of his pupils an ever changing individual,—bigger or smaller, stronger or weaker, and therefore more or less worthy of that attention and that respect of which boys are capable in their expectance of spiritual light and joy. The initial presentation is nothing more than a promise and an anticipation. In the course of teaching this anticipation must not be disappointed, this promise must be constantly fulfilled and more than fulfilled by the subsequent developments. The teacher’s personality as revealed at the beginning must be borne out by all that he does in the course of the lesson. Experience confirms this view, and the reason of it is to be found in the doctrine now familiar to us of the spirit that never is definitely, but is always constituting itself, always becoming. And every man is esteemed and appreciated on the strength of what he shows himself to be at any given moment, and in virtue of the experience which we continue to have of his being,—a being which is the development in which he realises himself.


So, then, discipline is never enforced definitely and in such a way that the teacher may proceed to build on it as on a firm basis without any further concern. And it is therefore difficult to see how we could possibly sever with a clean cut the task of keeping discipline from the duty of imparting instruction.


Nor is it any more plausible to maintain that discipline, though it may not chronologically precede instruction, is its logical antecedent, in the sense that there are at every instant of the life of the school both discipline and instruction, the former as a condition of the latter. The difficulty here is that if we assumed this, we ought to be able to indicate the difference between the condition and the conditioned; which difference, unless we rest content with vague words, is not forthcoming, and cannot be found. I maintain that were it possible for the teacher definitely to enthrone, so to speak, discipline in his school, all his work were done. He would have fulfilled his entire duty, acquitted his obligation, and achieved the results of his mission, whether we look upon this mission in the complex of its development, or whether we consider it ideally in the instant of its determined act, which is yet a process and therefore a development. For what, in fact, is discipline? Is it established authority? But this authority is the whole of education. For authority cannot be, as I have explained before, a mere claim: it must become actual in the effective action performed by the educating personality, and this action is education. And when this education consists, for example, in the imparting of a rule of syntax, education becomes actual when the pupil really apprehends that rule from his instructor exactly as it is taught to him, and thus appropriates the teacher’s manner of thinking and his intellectual behaviour on that special subject, and acts and does as the teacher wants him to. And from the point of view of discipline, this is all we want at that moment.


If in the course of education, considered as a whole or at any particular moment of it, we should separate discipline from instruction, now turning our attention to the one and now to the other, we know from experience that we should never get anywhere. As a matter of fact, the distinction thrusts itself to the fore only when the problem of discipline is erroneously formulated by treating it abstractly. For who is it that worries over discipline as such, and as though it were a thing different from teaching? Who is it that looks upon this problem as an insoluble one? Only the teacher who, unable to maintain discipline, frets over it and failing to discover it where it is naturally to be found, desperately looks for it where it is not, where it could not possibly be. And so he is helplessly perturbed, like the man who, feeling upon himself the concentrated gaze of all the guests seated in a parlour, is no longer able to walk across the floor; it is the same difficulty and impediment we encounter every time we try to watch and study our movements. In the same way the spontaneous outburst of eloquent sentiments that flow from the fulness of our hearts is checked by the endeavour to analyse them, to study the words—to substitute art for nature.


The real teacher, the naturally gifted teacher, never bothers about these puzzling questions of pedagogical discipline. He teaches with such devotion; he is so close spiritually to his pupils, so sympathetic with their views; his work is so serious, so sincere, so eager, so full of life, that he is never compelled to face a recalcitrant, rebellious personality that could only be reduced by resorting to the peculiar mean of discipline. The docility of the pupils in the eyes of the able teacher is neither an antecedent nor a consequent of his teachings; it is an aspect of it. It originates with the very act by which he begins to teach, and ceases with the end of his teaching. Concretely, the discipline which good teachers enforce in the classroom is the natural behaviour of the spirit which adheres to itself in the seriousness and inwardness of its own work. Discipline, authority, and respect for authority are absent whenever it is impossible to establish that unique superior personality, in which the spiritual life of the pupils and of the teachers are together fused and united. Whenever the students fail to find their ideal in the teacher; when they are disappointed by his aspect, his gaze, his words, in the complex concreteness of his spiritual personality, which does not rise to the ideal which at every moment is present in their expectations, then the order of discipline is lacking. But when this actual unity obtains—this unity which is the task of the teacher, and the aim of all education—then discipline, authority, and respect are present as never failing elements.


This pedagogical problem of discipline would never have arisen if immature reflection had not distinguished two empirically different aspects of human personality, the practical and the theoretical, whereby it would appear that man, when he does things, should not be considered in the same light as when he thinks and understands, knows and learns. From this point of view, discipline of deportment is to be referred to the pupil as practical spiritual activity, while teaching aims at his theoretic activity. The former should guide the pupil, regulate his conduct as a member of that special community which we call the school, and facilitate the fulfilment of the obligations which he has toward the institution, toward his fellow-pupils, and toward himself. The latter, on the other hand, assuming the completion of this practical edification, proceeds to the mental formation of the personality, considered as progressive acquirement of culture. Discipline in this system appears to be the morals of the school. I use the word morals in a very broad sense—just as morality might be considered as the discipline of society and of life in general. For everybody, it is argued, distinguishes between the character of man and his intelligence, between his conduct and his knowledge. The two terms may indeed be drawn together, but they also exist quite apart. So that a man devoid of character, or possessed with an indomitable will for evil, may nevertheless by extremely learned and shrewd, or as subtle as the serpent; whereas a moral man, through lack of understanding, may become the sport of rogues, and remain illiterate, devoid of all, even of the slightest accomplishment. For will is one thing, they say, and the intellect is another.


The question of the abstractness of discipline impels us now to examine the legitimacy of this broader distinction, which does not simply concern the problems of the school, but extends to the fundamental principles of the philosophy of the spirit. Under its influence, contemporary thought attacks all the surviving forms of this ancient distinction between will and intellect, which rested on a frankly realistic intuition of the world. The philosopher who crystallised this distinction, and fastened it so hard that it could not be broken up completely in the course of all subsequent speculation, was Aristotle. A thoroughgoing realist, like all Greek philosophers, he conceived reality as something external and antecedent to the mind which thinks it and strives to know it. When thought, whose function is the knowing of reality, is thus placed outside of this reality, it is evident that the knowledge to which it aspired never could have been an activity which produces reality. It was accordingly maintained that knowledge could not be more than a mere survey, a view of reality (intuition, theory), almost like a reflected image, totally extrinsic to the essence of the real. But since it was evident that man as spiritual activity does produce a world of his own, for which he is praised if it is deemed good, but blamed if it is judged bad, it had to follow that there were two distinct aspects in human life: one by which man contemplates reality, the other by which he creates his own world,—a world, however, which is but a transformation of the true and original reality. These two aspects are the will and the intellect.


It should not now be necessary to criticise this concept of a reality assumed to exist, in antecedence to the activity of the spirit, and which is the sole support of this distinction between will and intellect. We might say perhaps that though everything does indeed depend from the spirit, and though all is spirit, yet this completely spiritual reality is on one hand what is produced, the realisation of new realities (will), but on the other hand it is but the knowledge of its own reality, and by this knowledge gives no increment to its being. However, if we adopt this view, we would slip back to the position we abandoned as untenable, since a thought which propounds the problem of its essence and of the essence of the reality which it cognises can be but mere knowing. For it is again faced by a reality—even though it has in this case been arbitrarily presumed identical with it—a reality which is as an antecedent to it, and leaves to it only the task of looking on. So we must conclude that the life of the spirit is never mere contemplation. What seems to be contemplation—that consciousness which the spirit acquires of itself, and, acquiring which, realises itself—is a creation: a creation not of things but of its own self. For what are things but the spirit as it is looked at abstractly in the multiplicity of its manifestations?


We shall more easily understand that our knowing and our doing are indiscernible, if we recall that our doing is not what is also perceived externally, a motion in space caused by us. This external manifestation is quite subordinate and adventitious. The essential character of our doing is the internal will, which does not, properly speaking, modify things, but does modify us, by bringing out in us a personality which otherwise would not have been. This is the substance of the will, which we cannot deny to thought, if thought is, as I have shown, development, and therefore continuous self-creation of the personality.


If intellect then and will are one and the same thing, to such an extent that there is no intellect which in its development is not development of personality, formation of character, realisation of a spiritual reality, we shall be able to understand that the ideas of two distinct spiritual activities, as the basis of the ordinary distinction between moral and intellectual training, are mere abstractions that tend to lead us away from the comprehension of the living reality of the spirit. This distinction appears to me exceedingly harmful, nothing being more deplorable, from the moral point of view, than to consider any part of the life we have to live as morally indifferent; and nothing being more harmful to the school than the conviction that the moral formation of man is not the entire purpose of education, but only a part of its content. It is indispensable, I maintain, that the educator have the reverent consciousness of the extremely delicate moral value of every single word which he addresses to his pupils and of the profoundly ethical essence of the instruction which he imparts to them. For the school which gives instruction with no moral training in reality gives no instruction at all. All the objections voiced on this score against education, which we try to meet by adding on to instruction all that ought to integrate the truly educational function, are the result of this abstract way of looking upon instruction solely as the culture of an intellect which in some way differs from the will, from character, and from moral personality.


I wish here to call attention to one of the most controverted questions connected with popular education, because it brings out very clearly the impossibility of keeping moral education distinct from intellectual instruction. It is constantly asserted that the instruction of the common people, that real education which is the main purpose of the modern state, is not a question of mere reading and spelling; that these do not constitute culture, but are as means to an end, and ought never to be allowed to take the place of the end to which they are subservient. The school therefore, if it cannot shape men, should at least rough-hew them and give them a conscience, whereas now, it teaches but often does not educate: it gives to the learner the means of culture, and then abandons him to his own resources. The optimism of educators in the eighteenth century, their promise that marvels would come out of elementary instruction propagated and spread by popular schools devised for this purpose, was constantly met in the course of the last century by an ever-growing mistrust of instruction generally restricted to the notion of mere instrumentality. For in addition to the other shortcomings it was felt that this instrument might be put to a very bad use; that elementary learning might be a dangerous thing if it were not accompanied by something that instruction pure and simple cannot give, namely, soundness of heart, strength of mind, and conscience strong enough to uphold intelligence by the vigorous and uncompromising principles of moral rectitude. The hopefulness of that past optimism is fast yielding ground to the pessimistic denunciation of the insufficiency of mere instruction for the moral ends of life.


There is a serious error in this frequent indictment brought against mere instruction as a means of attaining what is called culture. It proceeds from the attempt to separate something that was not meant to be separated. “What God hath united together, man shall not put asunder.” And, in any event, a separation as illegitimate as this is not possible. Superficially we may distinguish and apparently sunder instruction from moral training, cut off the means from the end, and separate the ability to read and write from what we are thereby enabled to read and write. In fact the letters of the alphabet are taught without teaching the syllables which they compose, and without the words that are made up of these syllables, and the thoughts that are expressed by these words, and man’s life which becomes manifest and real in these thoughts. The elementary school is in fact, as it is in name, the teaching of the elements. Reading, writing, arithmetic, all subjects called for by the school programme are taken up as mere elements with which the pupil is expected, later on, to compose his Book of Life, complete in all its sections. But in the meantime it is thought unwise to burden his youthful mind with the weighty and complicated problems that can be solved only by the experience of a more mature life. Of course after he has gone forth from the school into the outer world the young man will look upon this elementary knowledge as the raw material of his future mentality. As he carves out his path to this or that goal, in accordance with his spiritual interests and in compliance with the contingencies of life, he will avail himself of this initial instruction, use it to further his progress towards this or that end, good or evil as the case may be. For intellectual instruction, it is argued, can be made subservient either to noble impulses or to base motives.


Careful consideration, however, will show that the responsibility of a school for what is called moral insufficiency, but is in reality educational defectiveness, cannot be removed by this kind of considerations. The alphabet begins to be such when it ceases to be a series of physical marks corresponding to the sounds into which all the words of a language may be decomposed. The alphabetic symbol is effectively such when it is a sound, and it is sound when it is an image, or rather a concrete form of an internal vibration of the mind. The child begins to see the alphabet when he reads with it. Up to that time he simply draws images or inwardly gazes at the semblance of the picture he intends to draw, but he does not read. As soon as the symbol is read, it becomes a word. That is why every spelling book presents the letters in the syllables and the syllables in the words. In this way they cease to be mere scrawls drawn on the paper, and become thoughts. They may be dim, vague, and mysterious; they may be sharply defined or they may blend and fuse into a suggestive haze; but they are in every given instance thoughts that are being awakened in the mind of the child. These thoughts have in them the power to develop, to organise themselves and become a discourse. From the simple sentences and the nursery rhymes of the primer, they grow into an ever-richer significance. From the sowing to the harvesting, from the green stalk to the sturdy trunk, it is one life and one sole process. The mind that will soar over the dizzy heights of thought begins its flight in the humble lowlands. And it first becomes conscious of its power to rise, when the life of thought is awakened by the words of the spelling book.


The moment the child begins reading, he must of necessity read something. There is no mere instrument without the material to which it is to be applied. The infant who opens his eyes and strives to look can not but see something. The “picture,” insignificant for the teacher, has its own special colouring for the child’s mind. He fixes his gaze on it; he draws it within himself, cherishes it, and fosters it with his fancies. Such is the law of the spirit! It may be violated, but the consequences of transgression are commensurate with the majesty of this law.


Grammars too, like spelling primers and rhetorics and logic and every kind of preceptive teaching, may be assumed as a form separated from its contents, as something empty and abstract. The child is taught for instance that the letter m in mamma does not belong to that word (we call it a “word,” and forget that to him at least it is not a word but his own mother). That letter m, we tell him, is found in other words, mat, meat, etc. We show him that it is in all of them, and yet in none of them. We therefore can and must abstract it from all concrete connections, isolate and fix it as that something which it is in itself—the letter m. In the same manner we abstract the rule of grammar from a number of individual examples. We exalt it over them, and give it an existence which is higher, and independent of theirs. And so for rhetoric, and so for logic.


But in this process of progressive abstraction, in this practice of considering the abstract as something substantial, and of reducing the concrete and the particular to the subordinate position of the accessory, life recedes and ebbs away. The differences between this and that word, between two images, two thoughts, two modes of thinking, of expressing, of behaving, at first become slight, then negligible, then quite inexistent, and the soul becomes accustomed to the generic, to the empty, to the indifferent. It knows no longer how to fix the peculiarities of things, how to notice the different traits of men’s characters, their interests, their diverse values, until finally it becomes indifferent and sceptical. Words lose their meaning; they no longer smack of what they used to; their value is gone. Things lose their individuality, and men their physiognomies. This scepticism robs man of his own faith, of his character and personality. The fundamental aim of education ceases to exist. Abstract education is no education at all. It is not even instruction. For it does not teach the alphabet as it really exists, as something inseparable from the sound, and from the word, and from the human soul! All it gives is a new materialised and detached abstraction.


The alphabet is real and concrete, not abstract; it is not a means but an end; it is not mere form but also content. It is not a weapon which man may wield indifferently either for good purposes or for evil motives. It is man himself. It is the human soul, which should already flash in the very first word that is spelled, if it is read intelligently. And it ought to be a good word, worthy of the child and of the future man, a word in which the youthful pupil ought already to be able to discover himself,—not himself in general, but that better self which the school gradually and progressively will teach him to find within himself. So considered, the alphabet is a powerful instrument of human formation and of moral shaping. It is education.


For this reason the school must have a library, and should adopt all possible means to encourage the habit and develop the taste of reading, since the word which truly expresses the soul of man is not that one word, nor the word of that one book. A word or a book will always be a mere fragment of life, and many of them therefore will be needed. Many, very many books, to satisfy the ever-growing needs of the child’s mind! Books that will spur his thought constantly towards more distant goals, and his heart and imagination with it. Thus the child grows to be a man.


Instruction then which is not education is not even instruction. It is a denuded abstraction, violently thrust like other abstractions into the life of the spirit where it generates that monstrosity which we have described as material culture, mechanical and devoid of spiritual vitality. That culture, being material, has no unity, is fragmentary, inorganic, capable of growing indefinitely without in any way transforming the recipient mind or becoming assimilated to the process of the personality to which it simply adheres extrinsically. This mechanical teaching is commensurate with things, and grows proportionately with them; but it has no intimate relation with the spirit. He who knows one hundred things has not a greater nor a different intellectual value from him who knows ten, since the hundred and the ten are locked up in both in exactly the same way that two different sums of money are deposited in two different vaults. What merit is there in the safe which contains the greater sum? The merit would belong to the man who had accumulated the greater amount by a greater sum of labour, for it would then be commensurate with work, which is the developing process itself and the life of the human personality to which we must always have recourse when we endeavour to establish values. For as we have seen, nothing is, properly speaking, thinkable except in relation to the human spirit.


Whether one reads a single book or an entire library, the result is the same, if what is read fails to become the life of the reader—his feelings and his thoughts, his passions and his meditation, his experience and the extolment of his personality. The poet Giusti has said: “Writing a book is worse than useless, unless it is going to change people.” Reading a book with no effect is infinitely worse. Of course the people that have to be transformed, both for the writer and for the reader (who are not two very different persons after all), are not the others, but first of all the author himself. The mere reading of a page or even a word inwardly reconstitutes us, if it does consist in a new throb of our personality, which continuously renews itself through the incessant vibrations of its becoming. This then is the all-important solution,—that the book or the word of a teacher arouse our souls and set them in motion; that it transform itself into our inner life; that it cease to be a thing, special and determinate, one of the many, and become transfused into our personality. And our personality in its act, in the act, I say, and not in the abstract concept which we may somehow form of it,—is absolute unity: that moving unity to which education can in no wise by referred, unless it is made identical with its movement, and therefore entirely conformant to its unity.


The man whose culture is limited, or, rather, entirely estranged from the understanding of life, is called homo unius libri. We might just as well call him homo omnium librorum. For he who would read all books need have a leaking brain like the perforated vessel of the daughters of Danaus,—a leak through which all ideas, all joys, all sorrows, and all hopes, everything that man may find in books, would have to flow unceasingly, without leaving any traces of their passage, without ever forming that personality which, having acquired a certain form or physiognomy, reacts and becomes selective, picks what it wants out of the congeries, and chooses, out of all possible experiences, only what it requires for the life that is suited to it. We should never add books upon books ad infinitum! It is not a question of quantity. What we need is the ability to discover our world in books,—that sum total of interests which respond to all the vibrations of our spirit, which assuredly, as Herbart claimed, has a multiplicity of interests, but all of them radiating from a vital centre. And everything is in the centre, since everything originates there.


Education which strives to get at the centre of the personality, the sole spot whence it is possible to derive the spiritual value of a living culture, is essentially moral, and may never be hemmed in within the restricted bounds of an abstract intellectual training. There is in truth a kind of instruction which is not education; not because it is in no way educative, but because it gives a bad education and trains for evil. This realistic education, which is substantially materialistic, extinguishes the sentiment of freedom in man, debases his personality, and stifles in him the living consciousness of the spirituality of the world, and consequently of man’s responsibility.


The antithesis between instruction and education is the antithesis between realistic and idealistic culture, or again, that existing between a material and a spiritual conception of life. If the school means conquest of freedom, we must learn to loathe the scrappiness of education, the fractioning tendency which presumes to cut off one part from the rest of the body, as if education, that is, personality, could have many parts. We must learn to react against a system of education which, conceiving its role to be merely intellectualistic, and such as to make of the human spirit a clear mirror of things, proceeds to an infinite subdivision to match the infinite multiplicity of things. Unity ought to be our constant aim. We should never look away from the living, that is, the person, the pupil into whose soul our loving solicitude should strive to gain access in order to help him create his own world.

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