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Education in the New Age - Chapter I - Some Questions Answered
The third question asks:

"What is the process of the unfoldment of the intellect in man? How does the higher mind manifest, if at all, in the growing years?"

It is not possible in the short time at our command to deal here with the history of the progress of mental development. A study of its racial growth will reveal much, for every child is an epitome of the whole. A study, for instance, of the growth of the God-idea in the human consciousness would prove a profitable illustration of the phenomena of thought development. A sequence of growth might most inadequately and briefly be tabulated as follows, based upon the process of unfoldment in a human being:

  1. Response to impact, the infant's sense awakened. He begins to hear and see.
  2. Response to possession and to acquisitiveness. The child begins to appropriate, becomes self-conscious and grasps for the personal self. [12]
  3. Response to the instinct governing the animal and desire nature, and to human tendencies.
  4. Response to the group. The child becomes aware of his environment and that he is an integral part of a whole.
  5. Response to knowledge. This begins with the impartation of informative facts, and so to the registration, through the memory, of these facts; thus are developed interest, correlation, synthesis and application to the exigencies of the life.
  6. Response to the innate need to search. This leads to experiment on the physical plane, to introspection on the emotional plane, and to intellectual study and a love of reading or of listening, thus bringing the mind into some condition of activity.
  7. Response to economic and sex pressure or to the law of survival. This forces him to use his equipment and knowledge and so take his place as a factor in the group life, and to promote group welfare by some aspect of active work and by the perpetuation of the species.
  8. Response to pure intellectual awareness. This leads to a conscious free use of the mind, to individual thinking, to the creation of thought-forms, and eventually to the steady orientation of the mind to a wider and wider field of realization and awareness. These expansions of consciousness finally bring a new factor into the field of experience.
  9. Response to the Thinker or the soul. With the registration of this response, the man enters into his kingdom. The above and the below become as one. The objective and the subjective worlds are unified. Soul and its mechanism function as a unit.

Towards this consummation all education should tend. Practically speaking, except in rare and highly evolved souls, [13] the higher mind does not manifest in children, any more than it did in infant humanity. It can only truly make its presence felt when soul and mind and brain are aligned and coordinated. Flashes of insight and vision when seen in the young, are frequently the reaction of their very sensitive response apparatus to group ideas and the dominant thoughts of their time and age, or of someone in their environment.

Let me now deal briefly with the points raised concerning the attitude of the teacher, particularly towards adult aspirants.

The true teacher must deal in truth and in sincerity with all seekers. His time (in so far as he is held by the time equation on the physical plane) is too valuable to waste in social politeness or in refraining from making critical comment where a good purpose would be served. He must depend thoroughly upon the sincerity of those whom he teaches. Nevertheless, criticism and the pointing out of faults and errors does not always prove helpful; it may but increase responsibility, evoke antagonism or unbelief, or produce depression - three of the most undesirable results of the use of the critical faculty.

By stimulating their interest, by producing a subjective synthesis in the group he is teaching, and by fanning the flame of their spiritual aspiration, the group may arrive at a right discrimination as to their joint quality and necessities, and thus they will render the ordinary faultfinding attitude of the teacher unnecessary.

Those upon the teaching ray will learn to teach by teaching. There is no surer method, provided it is accompanied by a deep love, personal yet at the same time impersonal, for those who are to be taught. Above everything else, I would enjoin upon you the inculcation of the group spirit, for that is the first expression of true love. Two points only would I make:

First of all, in teaching children up to fourteen years of age, it is necessary to bear in mind that they are emotionally [14] focused. They need to feel, and rightly to feel beauty, strength and wisdom. They must not be expected to rationalize before that time, even if they show evidence of the power so to do. After fourteen years and during adolescence their mental response to truth should be drawn out and counted upon to deal with presented problems. Even if it is not there, an effort should be made to evoke it.

Secondly, an attempt should be made to approximate the child's place upon the ladder of evolution by a study of his background, his physical equipment, the nature of his response apparatus with its varied reactions, and his major interests. This enquiry sets up a subjective rapport with the child which is far more potent in its results than would be months and months of strenuously used words in the effort to convey an idea.

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