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Problems of Humanity - Chapter II - The Problem of the Children of the World
Increasingly, education should be concerned with the wholes of life as well as with the details of daily individual living. The child, as an individual, will be developed and equipped, trained and motivated and [58] then taught his responsibilities to the whole and the value of the contribution which he can and must make to the group.

It is perhaps a platitude to say that education should occupy itself necessarily with the development of the reasoning powers of the child and not primarily - as is now usually the case - with the training of the memory and the parrot like recording of facts and dates and uncorrelated and ill-digested items of information. The history of the growth of man's perceptive faculties under differing national and racial conditions is of profound interest. The outstanding figures of history, literature and art and of religion will surely be studied from the angle of their effect and their influence for good or evil upon their period; the quality and purpose of their leadership will be considered. Thus the child will absorb a vast amount of historical information, of creative activity and of idealism and philosophy not only with the maximum of ease but with permanent effect upon his character.

The continuity of effort, the effects upon civilization of ancient tradition, good and evil happenings and the interplay of varying cultural aspects of civilization will be brought to his attention and the dry-as-dust information, dates and names will fall into the discard. All branches of human knowledge could, in this way, come alive and reach a new level of constructive usefulness. There is already a definite tendency in this direction and it is good and sound. The past of Humanity as the foundation for present happenings, and the present as the determining factor for the future will increasingly be recognized and thus great and needed changes will be brought about in human psychology as a whole.

The creative aptitude of the human being should also, under the new era, receive fuller attention; the child will be spurred on to individual effort suited to [59] his temperament and capacity. Thus he will be induced to contribute what he can of beauty to the world and of right thought to the sumtotal of human thinking; he will be encouraged to investigate and the world of science will open up before him. Behind all these applied incentives, the motives of goodwill and right human relations will be found.

Finally, education should surely present the hypothesis of the soul in man as the interior factor which produces the good, the true and the beautiful. Creative expression and humanitarian effort will, therefore, receive a logical basis. This will not be done through a theological or doctrinal presentation, as is today the case, but as presenting a problem for investigation and as an effort to answer the question: What is man? What is his intrinsic purpose in the scheme of things? The livingness of the influence and the proclaimed purpose behind the constant appearance of spiritual, cultural and artistic world leaders down the ages will be studied and their lives subjected to research, both historical and psychological. This will open up before the youth of the world the entire problem of leadership and of motive. Education will, therefore, be given in the form of human interest, human achievement and human possibility. This will be done in such a manner that the content of the student's mind will not only be enriched with historical and literary facts but his imagination will be fired and his ambition and aspiration evoked along true and right lines; the world of past human effort will be presented to him in a truer perspective and the future thrown open to him also in an appeal for his individual effort and personal contribution.

The above in no way implies an indictment of past methods except in so far that the world today itself presents an indictment; it does not either constitute an [60] impractical vision or a mystical hope, based on wishful thinking. It concerns an attitude to life and the future which many thousands of people hold today, and among them many educators in every country. The errors and mistakes of the past techniques are obvious but there is no need to waste time in emphasizing them or in piling up instances.

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