Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/30

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

stitions by adding new truths to the old ones. Our conservatives may spare their anxieties. Not a truth the world gains is ever lost again; but they who, blindly believing they have all truth, oppose the new form which science is giving to all knowledge, will soon find themselves side by side with those old Dunsemen who could not believe in the last revival of learning.[1]

Now, if the study of physical science is to play a vastly more important part than it has hitherto done in all future schemes of liberal education, the first and most obvious consideration is that room must be found for it. Bearing in mind, as we must constantly do, that the word education stands for a strictly limited quantity, a limited amount of time, a definite amount of mental effort, if that time and mental effort have been wholly absorbed in one set of studies, it is very obvious that these must undergo modification and curtailment in order to make room for another set. And yet no error is at present more common or more disastrous than the attempt to introduce the new, without any disturbance of the older studies. Either the older curriculum did not absorb, as it professed to do, the whole of the student's mental energies, and was not therefore a complete education, or its requisitions must be diminished to make room for another set of solid, important, and disciplinary studies; or else it must be maintained that the new studies are not solid, important, and disciplinary, but only fitted to be the amusement of idle hours, and the lighter tasks with which gaps and intervals may be filled between the more solid, older ones. That this latter is really the view of the more thoroughgoing adherents of the classical system is pretty obvious. Thus the Rev. S. Hawtrey, one of the masters of Eton, says, in a recently printed lecture: "It is for the masses that I fear, when I hear the cry that boys should be freed from the severer labor of studying language if it is distasteful, and therefore it is said unprofitable, and should learn, instead, something about the wonders which science has achieved in the present century."[2] It is very obvious that a writer who speaks

  1. "There is no reason for thinking that philosophy, which is only a just and perfect judgment on the bearings and relations of knowledge, should not be as generally attainable as a wise judgment in practical matters is. And should our universities, ceasing to be schools of grammar and mathematics, resume their proper functions, it will be found that a far larger proportion of minds than we now suspect are capable of arriving at this stage of progress. For, be it again repeated, it it not a knowledge, but a discipline that is required; not science, but the scientific habit; not erudition, but scholarship. And those who have not leisure to amass stores of knowledge to master in detail the facts of science, may yet acquire the power of scientific insight, if opportunity is afforded them. It is the want of this discernment and the absence of the proper cultivation of it which produce that deluge of crude speculation and vague mysticism which pervades the philosophical and religious literature of the day, and which is sometimes wrongly ascribed to the importation of philosophy itself and its recent unreasonable intrusion on our practical good sense. The business of the highest education is not to check, but to regulate this movement; not to prohibit speculation, but to supply the discipline which alone can safely wield it."—(Pattison, in "Oxford Essays for 1855," p. 258.)
  2. "A Narrative-Essay on a Liberal Education," p. 29.