846 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
revive Rousseau's cry, "Return to Nature!" but in a sense of which Rousseau never dreamed, not nature in the burlesque of our ignorant preconceptions, but nature scientifically explored, nature, the immanent law of which is to own the sway of rational mind.
I am not asserting that grammar and geometry and geography and geology and history and economics and psychology and ethics as such should be taught in the nursery. I am asserting that in the cradle the child begins to be in contact with that nature and society of which all these are phases and products and reports. Sociology demands for the child, from the cradle to his second childhood, opportunities for such frank contact with life that its various aspects will confide to him their mystery in its real relations with the other elements of life. Sociology demands of the tutors and governors who lead the child through the formal part of education, that they shall so discreetly pilot Wilhelm Meister through his apprentice years that he may learn his world at the smallest expense, and with least cause for regret, both to others and to himself. Whether this citizen of the world shall ever learn to construe life in terms of the conventional sciences is an entirely secondary matter. The main thing is that, from the beginning, he shall learn to know himself and his world truly, so far as he knows at all, in all essential relations. This involves the learning of such sciences as he does acquire, in the character of excerpts from the whole book of knowledge, not as self-sufficient knowledges.
I repeat that sociology values subjects of study for reasons quite different from those traditionally alleged. Physical, bio- logical, and social science, with the products of human thought deposited in literature, are worthy of study not because they are assorted tonics for corresponding kinds of mental impotence, but because they are, and only in so far as they are, revealers of man himself and of the life of which he is both creator and creature.
Without alluding further to other departments of knowledge, I may apply what I have said to the subject-matter of the social sciences in particular.