« ForrigeFortsæt »
their all to the poor; the only way to cure poverty is to open the possibility of intellectual culture and independent self-support to each and every human being, just because he is a human being and a citizen of the commonwealth."*
This movement of Pestalozzi is a part of the greater movement known as the French Revolution. As Pestalozzi is the prophet of the new education, so Rousseau is the prophet of the entire revolutionary movement. Pestalozzi in 1764, at the age of eighteen, read the Émile, and received the gift of the spirit. Both these prophets were of Swiss birth.
Rousseau attacked all human institutions-the family, civil society, the state, the Church-in the name of "Nature." All institutions are factitious-artificial combinations formed by man, and invested with sacredness by a sort of superstition or by something worse, a selfish design. "Return to a state of Nature" is therefore the creed of the new evangel. Basedow founded his educational methods on Rousseau direct. France made experiments in throwing off the artificial incumbrances of state and Church, but ended her experiments finally by the discovery that the state of nature is a state of violence and estrangement from all that is human and humane. She slowly returned to Bourbonism through an intermediate process of Bonapartism, astonishing the world by her new departures before and since.
Rousseauism is not outgrown, however, but has frequent survivals in the minds of all young persons who are just beginning to throw off external authority and think
for themselves. "To go back to a state of nature" has such a refreshing sound to the young enthusiast, because it dispenses at once with the necessity of that tedious process of learning the mass of conventionalities and arbitrary usages the ceremonial observances that form the structure of civilization. Dispense with all this, and begin the search for what is true and good and beautiful once again by the light of nature. This places us all on a level-the sage by the side of the inexperienced youth. But its practical effect is nihilism.
Perhaps the happiest of all Rousseau's influences is his effect upon Pestalozzi. The education of the people as people, an education reaching all classes, owes to Pestalozzi its greatest debt, and through him to Rousseau still a large obligation. All the weaklings shall be developed in youth in the school and made self-active and intelligent, and by this means become self-helpful. Pestalozzi made this solution of the problem clear to all Europe. The great philosopher Fichte persuaded Prussia to adopt public education as a state policy, while Napoleon had excused himself (1802) from adopting Pestalozzi's schemes; "He had something else besides abc's to attend to." The subsequent history of Prussia as affected by this Pestalozzian principle is the most instructive study for all who consider the humanitarian doctrines of universal education to be something visionary and other-worldly. At the present time statesmanship looks first to the war footing of the nation, and next after this, but before all else, to the education of the masses.
The reader of Pestalozzi's biography-especially of the present excellent work, which embodies so much from his writings-will study carefully the sharp differ
ences which separate his ideas from Rousseau's. These will appear first in his strongly religious character and next in his great reverence for the sacredness of the family.
His life is a succession of enthusiastic experiments, each ending in a failure of some sort. These failures are followed each by a period of depressing reflection, in the course of which Pestalozzi seems to become conscious of the personal weakness or unwisdom that had caused his plans to go wrong. He puts the fruits of his experience into a treatise, and is inspired to begin again a new experiment.
His writings furnish a store-house of knowledge of human nature—a store-house which yields most to the wisest reader. The reader enamored of Rousseau's doctrines will not find Pestalozzi's writings edifying. They will appear exasperatingly negative, exhibiting only the self-contradiction latent in their theory.
There are, moreover, many phases of Pestalozzianism which remain one-sided and hurtful, though stimulating. They furnish us also contradictions in Pestalozzi's own practice as contrasted with his theory.
Karl von Raumer, in his excellent discussion of Pestalozzi, has best exhibited these incongruities, especially in the matter of the much-famed doctrine of "things rather than words "-a dictum usually followed by a practice that teaches words rather than things or ideas of things. The more mature reader of this book therefore will watch with critical alertness the unfolding of the doctrine that all primary instruction should be addressed to sense-perception (the so-called Anschauungs-unterricht). One will not be so unreasonable as to object to sense-per
ception as a phase of education, but he will be suspicious of the place given it in the Pestalozzian theory.
The question will arise whether a premature and exclusive training of sense-perception will not produce something like what is called "arrested development" of the human mind at an animal plane of intelligence.
For the psychologist soon discovers that the power of thinking (both analytical and synthetical) is not a continued and elevated sort of sense-perception, but rather a reaction against it, which is negative toward the impressions and images of sense.
The element of thought is generalization, and this deals with definitions rather than with images or pictures of sense. Instead of reproducing the things of experience, the thinking activity has to do with the forces, energies, or causes which produce things and likewise annul and remove things by the continual process of change.
In other words, thought deals with the dynamic element of experience rather than with mere things, which are only static results.
Pursuing this line of inquiry, the reader will everywhere find Pestalozzi's experiments and writings of a stimulating character, suggesting far more than they reveal, and pointing significantly toward the great educational process that is active in our time.
The memory, which was at one time almost the only intellectual activity known to the pedagogue, has now been happily placed in the rank assigned to it by its wellknown limits. The time is coming when the limits of sense-perception will be discovered and seen quite as clearly. Then we shall hear more of the proper develop
ment of the thinking activity. For it is the thinking activity that assimilates the results of observation and brings them to fruitage. It is the same thinking activity that assimilates also the stored-up knowledge of the experience and reflection of the race which the school offers to the pupil. Without his painstaking thought, neither personal observation nor book-learning will avail him much.
W. T. HARRIS.
WASHINGTON, D. C., May, 1890.