Addresses to the German Nation/Tenth Address

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TENTH ADDRESS
FURTHER DEFINITION OF THE GERMAN NATIONAL EDUCATION


143. The training of the pupil to make clear to himself first his sensations and then his perceptions, which must be accompanied by a systematic art of training his body, is the first part of the new German national education. In regard to the education of perception, we have a suitable method from Pestalozzi. A method for the education of the power of sensation is still lacking, but he and his collaborators, who have been summoned chiefly to solve this problem, will be able to furnish this easily. A method for the systematic development of physical strength is still lacking. What is required for the solution of this problem has been indicated, and it is to be hoped that, if the nation should show any eagerness for this solution, it will be found. All this part of education is but a means and a preliminary exercise for the second essential part, the civic and religious education. The general remarks that it is necessary at present to make about this have already been mentioned in our second and third addresses, and we have nothing to add to them. It is the business of that philosophy which proposes a German national education to furnish definite instructions for the art of this education—always, of course, taking into consideration and consultation Pestalozzi’s own art of education. Once the need for such instructions arises, through the first part being fully carried out, that philosophy will not be slow to supply it. Every pupil, even if born in the lowest class—for, in truth, the class into which children are born makes no difference to their talents—will grasp, and indeed grasp easily, the instruction in those subjects. Such instruction, indeed, comprises, if you like, the most profound metaphysics and is the result of the most abstract speculation, and those subjects at present even scholars and speculating brains find it impossible to grasp. Let no one grow weary just now, wondering how this may be possible; experience will teach this later, if only we will obey in regard to the first steps. It is only because our generation is held captive in the world of empty ideas and has not entered the world of true reality and perception at any point, that it is not to be expected that this generation should begin perception with the highest and most spiritual perception of all, and when it is already clever beyond measure. Philosophy must require it to give up its present world and to provide itself with an entirely different one. It is no wonder if such a demand proves unavailing. But, from the very beginning, the pupil of our education has been at home in the world of perception and has never seen any other. He has not to change, but only to strengthen, his world; and this takes place of itself. This education is, as we have already pointed out, the only possible education for philosophy and also the sole means of making philosophy universal.

144. Education ends with this civic and religious instruction, and the pupil is now to be released. Thus we are clear at any rate in regard to the content of the proposed education.

145. The pupil’s faculty of knowledge must never be stimulated without love for the known object being stimulated at the same time, for otherwise knowledge remains dead; similarly, love must never be stimulated without becoming clear to knowledge, for otherwise love remains blind. This is one of the chief principles of our proposed education, with which Pestalozzi also must agree, since it is in accordance with his whole system of thought. Now, the stimulation and development of this love is connected with the systematic course of instruction by means of sensation and perception, and arises without our design or assistance. The child has a natural inclination for clearness and order. This is continually satisfied in that course of instruction, and so fills the child with joy and pleasure. But, while in this state of satisfaction, he is stimulated again by the new obscurities that now appear, and so he is satisfied anew. Thus life is passed in love of and pleasure in learning. It is this love by means of which each individual is connected with the world of thought; it is the bond of the sensuous and spiritual worlds. This love renders possible the easy development of the faculty of knowledge and the successful cultivation of the fields of science; a result that is certain and premeditated in this education, but which was formerly attained by chance in the case of a few specially favoured persons.

146. But there is yet another love, that which binds man to man and combines all individuals into one rational community with the same disposition. The first kind of love fashions knowledge; this other kind fashions the life of action and stimulates people to show forth in themselves and in others that which has become part of their knowledge. Since for our special purpose it would be of little use simply to improve the scholar’s education, and since the national education intended by us aims first of all at training not scholars but simply men, it is clear that, in addition to that first love, the development of the second is also an essential duty of this education.

Pestalozzi speaks of this subject with soul-stirring enthusiasm. Yet we must confess that his statements did not seem at all clear to us, and, least of all, so clear that they could serve as the foundation for an art of developing that love. It is therefore necessary for us to state our own thoughts concerning such a foundation.

147. The usual assumption, that man is by nature selfish, that the child also is born with this selfishness, and that it is education alone which implants in him a moral motive, is founded on very superficial observation, and is utterly false. Nothing can be created from nothing, and the development of a fundamental instinct, no matter to what extent, can never make it the opposite of itself. How then could education ever implant morality in the child, if morality did not exist in him originally and before all education? It does, therefore, actually exist in all human children that are born into the world; the task is simply to find out the purest and most primitive form in which it appears.

148. The results of speculative thought, as well as common observation, agree that the purest and most primitive form of morality is the instinct for respect, and that from this instinct there arises our knowledge of what is moral as the only possible object of respect, the right, the good, veracity, and the power of self-control. In the child this instinct appears first of all as the desire to be respected by those who inspire in him the highest respect. This instinct goes to prove with certainty that love does not arise from selfishness at all, because it is directed as a rule far more strongly and decisively towards the sterner parent, the father, who is more often absent, and who does not appear directly as a benefactor, than towards the mother, who with her beneficence is ever present. The child wants to be noticed by him, wants to have his approval; only in so far as the father is satisfied with him is he satisfied with himself. This is the natural love of the child for the father, not as the guardian of his sensuous well-being, but as the mirror, from which his own worth or worthlessness is reflected for him. Now, the father himself can easily connect with this love obedience and every kind of self-denial; for the reward of his hearty approval the child obeys with joy. Then again, this is the love which the child longs for from the father; that he shall notice the child’s effort to be good, and acknowledge it; that he shall show that it gives him joy when he can approve, and grieves him heartily when he must disapprove; that he desires nothing more than always to be able to be satisfied with him, and all his demands on the child have simply the intention of making him ever better and more worthy of respect. Again, the sight of this love continually animates and strengthens the child’s love, and gives him new strength for all his further efforts. On the other hand, that love is killed by being disregarded, and by continual unjust misunderstanding; in particular, it produces even hate, if in dealing with the child one allows selfishness to appear, and, e.g., treats as a capital crime some damage caused by his carelessness. He then sees himself regarded as a mere tool, and this outrages his feeling that he must himself be of worth, a feeling that is dim, indeed, but yet not absent.

149. To prove this by an example. What is it that with the child adds shame to the pain of chastisement, and what is this shame? Obviously it is the feeling of self-contempt, which is an inevitable accompaniment when the displeasure of his parents and educators is shown to him. Therefore, where punishment is not accompanied by shame, there is an end of education, and the punishment appears as an act of violence, which the pupil proudly disregards and ridicules.

150. The bond, therefore, which makes men of one mind, and the development of which is a chief part of education for manhood, is not sensuous love, but the instinct for mutual respect. That instinct appears in two forms; in the child it begins as unconditional respect for adults and becomes the desire to be respected by them, and to measure by means of their actual respect how far he also should respect himself. This confidence, not in one’s own but in an external standard of self-respect, is also the special characteristic of childhood and youth. On its existence alone is based the possibility of all instruction and of all education of growing youths to perfect men. The adult has in himself his standard of self-esteem, and wishes to be respected by others only in so far as they have first of all made themselves worthy of his respect. With him that instinct assumes the form of demanding that he shall be able to respect others, and that he shall himself produce something worthy of respect. If there is no such fundamental instinct in man, whence then arises the phenomenon, that even the tolerably good man grieves to find men worse than he thought they were, and is deeply hurt at having to despise them; for selfishness, on the contrary, is necessarily pleased at being able to exalt itself haughtily above others? Now, the educator must exhibit this latter characteristic of adult manhood, just as, in the case of the pupil, the former characteristic is to be relied on with certainty. In this respect, the aim of education is just to produce adult manhood in the sense that we have mentioned. Only when that aim is attained is education really completed and ended. Hitherto many men have remained children all their lives, viz., those who needed for their satisfaction the approval of neighbours, and believed they had done nothing right unless they pleased the latter. In contrast to these, strong robust characters have been those few who could rise above the judgment of others and satisfy themselves. As a rule, the latter have been hated, while the former were not, indeed, respected, but were, nevertheless, considered amiable.

151. The foundation of all moral education is this; that one should know there is such an instinct in the child and presuppose it firmly established; then, that one should recognize it when it appears, and gradually develop it more and more by suitable stimulation, and by presenting to it material for its satisfaction. The very first principle is to direct it to the only object that is suitable, viz., to moral matters, but not to put it off with some material that is foreign to it. Learning, for instance, contains within itself its charm and its reward. Strenuous diligence could at most deserve approval as an exercise in self-control; but this free and supererogatory diligence will scarcely find a place, at least in the purely universal national education. That the pupil will learn what he ought to must, therefore, be regarded as a matter of course, of which nothing more is to be said. The quicker and better learning of the more capable mind must be regarded merely as a natural phenomenon, which entitles him to no praise or distinction, and above all does not palliate other defects. It is in moral matters alone that a sphere of action ought to be allotted to this instinct; but the root of all morality is self-possession, self-control, the subordination of the selfish instincts to the idea of the community. By this alone, and by absolutely nothing else, shall it be possible for the pupil to receive the educator’s approval, which he is directed by his spiritual nature, and accustomed by education, to need for his own satisfaction. As we have already mentioned in our second address, there are two very different ways of subordinating the personal self to the community. First of all, that way which absolutely must exist and can in no wise be omitted by anyone, subordination to the law of the constitution which is drawn up merely for the regulation of the community. He who does not transgress this law is not blamed, and that is all; he does not, however, receive approbation. Similarly, real displeasure and censure would fall upon him who transgressed; this would take place in public if the wrong were public, and if it remained ineffective, it could even be intensified by the addition of punishment. Secondly, there is that subordination of the individual to the community which cannot be demanded but can only be given voluntarily, viz., the raising and advancing of the well-being of the community by self-sacrifice. In order to impress correctly upon the pupils from youth upwards the mutual relationship of mere legality and this higher virtue, it will be appropriate to allow him only, against whom for a certain period there has been no complaint in regard to legality, to make these voluntary sacrifices as the reward, so to speak, of legality, but to refuse this permission to him who is not yet quite sure of himself in regard to regularity and order. The objects of such voluntary acts have already been pointed out in general, and will be indicated still more clearly later. Let this kind of sacrifice receive active approbation and real recognition of its merits, not in public in the form of praise, which might corrupt the heart, make it vain, and turn it from its independence, but in secret and with the pupil alone. This recognition ought to be nothing more than the outward expression of the pupil’s own good conscience, the ratification of his satisfaction with himself and of his self-respect, and the encouragement to rely still further on himself. The following arrangement would promote admirably the advantages hereby intended. Where there are several male and female teachers, which we assume will be the rule, let each child choose freely, and as his feelings and confidence move him, one of them as a special friend and, as it were, adviser in matters of conscience. Let him seek his advice whenever it is difficult for him to do right. Let the teacher help him by friendly exhortation; let him be the confidant of the voluntary acts which he undertakes; and, finally, let him be the person who crowns excellence with his approval. Now, through these advisers in matters of conscience education would inevitably be of systematic aid to each individual in his own rise to ever greater power of self-control and self-possession. In this way steadiness and independence will gradually arise; with their production, education comes to an end and ceases. By our own deeds and actions is the sphere of the moral world most clearly opened to us; when it is thus opened to anyone, it is in truth opened to him. Such a person himself now knows what is contained in the moral world, and no longer needs the testimony of others concerning himself; he can sit properly in judgment on himself, and is from now onwards an adult.

152. By means of what has just been said we have closed a gap that remained in our previous lecture and have, for the first time, made our proposal really practicable. Pleasure in the right and good for its own sake ought to be set, by means of the new education, in the place of the material hope or fear that has been employed hitherto; this pleasure, as the sole existing motive, ought to set all future life in motion; this is the essential feature of our proposal. But the first question that arises here is this; how, then, is this pleasure itself to be created? Created, indeed, in the proper sense of the word, it cannot be, for men cannot make something out of nothing. If our proposal is to be practicable at all, this pleasure must exist originally, and be simply present and innate in all men without exception. And in fact it is so. Every child without exception wishes to be upright and good, and does not want merely to be healthy, like a young animal. Love is the essential element in man; it exists, as man exists, whole and complete, and nothing can be added to it, for it transcends the growing phenomenon of the sensuous life, and is independent of it. It is knowledge alone to which this sensuous life is connected, and which begins and develops with it. This development is but slow and gradual with the progress of time; how, then, is that innate love to pass through the years of ignorance, and develop and exercise itself until an ordered system of ideas of right and wrong is formed, to which the motive of pleasure can be connected? Wise nature has removed the difficulty without any assistance from us. Consciousness, starting from within the child, presents itself to him outwardly, embodied in the judgment of the adult world. Until a rational judge is developed in him, he is referred to this world by a natural instinct, and thus a conscience is given him outside himself, until one is produced within him. The new education ought to recognize this truth, but little known until now, and guide towards what is right the love that exists independent of education. Up to now, this simplicity and childlike faith of the young in the higher perfection of adults has been used, as a rule, for their corruption. It was precisely their innocence and their natural faith in us that made it possible for us, before they could distinguish good from evil, to implant in them, instead of the good that they inwardly wished, our own corruption, which they would have abhorred if they had been able to recognize it.

153. This, I say, is the very greatest transgression of which our age is guilty, and this also explains a phenomenon of daily occurrence; that, as a rule, man becomes so much the worse, more selfish, more dead to all good impulses, and more unfit for any good deed, the older he gets and the farther he has gone from the early days of his innocence—days which even yet echo, though faintly, in some intimations of the Good. It also proves that the present generation, if it does not completely isolate its successors, will inevitably leave behind an even more corrupt posterity, and this, again, one still more corrupt. An honoured teacher of the human race says of them with striking truth, that it were better that a millstone were hanged at once about their neck, and they were drowned in the depths of the sea. It is an absurd slander on human nature to say that man is born a sinner. If that were true, how, then, could there ever come to him an idea of sin, which, indeed, is possible only in contrast with what is not sin? His life makes him a sinner, and human life hitherto was usually a progressive development in sinfulness.

154. What has been said shows in a new light the necessity of making preparation without delay for a real education. If only the youths of the future could grow up without any contact with adults and entirely without education, one might always test what the result would be. But even if we only leave them in our society, their education takes place of itself without any wish or will of ours. They educate themselves to us; to be like us, that forces itself upon them as their pattern. They emulate us, even without our requiring this, and desire nothing more than to become just as we are. Now, usually the great majority of us are thoroughly perverse, partly without knowing it; and because we are ourselves just as simple as children, we consider our perversity to be what is right. Even if we knew that we were perverse, how could we suddenly lay aside, in the presence of our children, that which a long life has made second nature to us, and exchange our whole former disposition and spirit for a new one? In contact with us they must become corrupt; that is unavoidable. If we have a spark of love for them, we must remove them from our tainted atmosphere and erect a purer abode for them. We must bring them into the society of men who, whatever they may be in other respects, have at least, by continuous practice, become accustomed, and gained the ability, to remember that children are watching them, the power of restraining themselves at least for so long, and the knowledge of how one must appear before children. We must not let them out of this society into ours again, until they have learnt to detest thoroughly all our corruption, and are thereby completely safe from all infection.

These are the points that we have considered it necessary to bring forward here concerning moral education in general.

155. That the children ought to live together in complete isolation from adults, with only their teachers and masters, has been mentioned several times. It is understood, without special note from us, that this education must be given to both sexes in the same way. A separation of the sexes into special institutions for boys and girls would not suit our purpose, and would break several important principles of the education for perfect manhood. The subjects of instruction are the same for both sexes; the difference in the manual tasks can easily be maintained, even while the rest of the education is common. Like the larger society which they are to enter some day as perfect human beings, the smaller society in which they are trained for manhood must consist of a combination of both sexes. Both must first of all recognize and learn to love in one another their common humanity, and must have male and female friends, before their attention is directed to sex distinction and they become husbands and wives. Also, the general relationship of the two sexes to each other, stout-hearted protection on the one side and loving help on the other, must appear in the educational institution and be fostered in the pupils.

156. If our proposal should come to be realized, the first business would be to frame a law for the internal organization of these educational institutions. If the fundamental principle we have put forward once becomes thoroughly established, this is a very easy task, and we do not intend to lose time over it here.

157. It is a principal requirement of this new national education that in it learning and working shall be combined, that the institution shall appear, to the pupils at least, to be self-supporting, and that everyone shall be reminded to contribute to this aim with all his strength. This is in any case directly required by the problem of education as such, quite apart from the purpose of outward practicability and of economy, which will undoubtedly be expected of our proposal. One reason is that all who get through only the universal national education are intended for the working classes, and training them to be good workmen is undoubtedly part of their education. The special reason, however, is that a man’s well-founded confidence that he will always be able to get on in the world by his own strength, and that he requires for maintenance no charity from others, is part of man’s personal independence, and conditions moral independence much more than seems to be believed at present. This training would supply another part of education, which one might call education in the proper management of one’s resources, which hitherto has also usually been left to blind chance. This part of education must be considered, not from the paltry and narrow point of view of saving for the sake of saving, which some ridicule with the name of economy, but from the higher moral standpoint. Our age often lays down as a principle beyond all contradiction that one must flatter, cringe, and be everyone’s lackey, if one wishes to live, and that no other way will do. Our age does not reflect that, even if one should wish to spare it the counter-proposition (which may sound heroic, but is absolutely true), namely that, if such is the case, it ought not to go on living but ought to die, there yet remains the remark that our age ought to have learnt to live with honour. Let anyone fully inquire who are the persons conspicuous for dishonourable behaviour; he will always find that they have not learnt to work, or that they are afraid of work, and, moreover, manage things badly. The pupil of our education ought, therefore, to be made accustomed to work, in order that he may be raised above the temptation to dishonesty in his struggle for a living. It ought to be impressed deeply on his mind as the very first principle of honour, that it is shameful to be willing to owe his means of existence to anything but his own work.

158. Pestalozzi wishes all kinds of manual work to be carried on together with learning. We do not wish to deny the possibility of this combination under the condition mentioned by him, that the child is already thoroughly skilled in manual work; yet this proposal seems to us to arise from the paltriness of the original aim. In my opinion, instruction must be represented as so sacred and honourable that it requires the whole attention and concentration, and cannot be received along with something else. If such manual work as knitting, spinning, etc., is to be carried on during working hours in seasons which in any case keep the pupils indoors, it will be very useful to combine with it collective mental exercises under supervision, in order that the mind may remain active. But in this case the work is the important thing, and these exercises are to be regarded, not as instruction, but merely as recreation.

159. In general, all manual work of this inferior kind must be put forward only as incidental, and not as essential. The essential manual work is the practice of agriculture, gardening, cattle rearing, and those trades which they need in their little State. Of course, the participation in these that is expected of anyone is to be proportional to the physical strength of his age; the rest of the energy is to be supplied by machines and tools that will be invented. Here the chief consideration is that, so far as possible, the pupils must understand the principles of what they do, and that they have already received the information necessary for their occupations concerning the growing of plants, the characteristics and needs of the animal body, and the laws of mechanics. In this way their education becomes a kind of course of instruction in the occupations which they have to follow in the future, and the thoughtful and intelligent farmer is trained by direct perception. Further, their mechanical work is even at this stage ennobled and made intellectual; it is just as much a verification from direct perception of what they have grasped in their minds, as it is work for a living. Even though associated with the animal and with the clod, they do not sink to the level of these, but remain within the sphere of the spiritual world.

160. Let it be the fundamental law of this little economic State that no article of food, clothing, etc., and, so far as this is possible, no tool is to be used, which is not produced and made there. If this housekeeping requires support from outside, natural objects should be supplied, but none of any other kind than those it possesses. This must be done without the pupils learning that their own products have been increased; or, if it is appropriate that they should be told, they should receive the supply simply as a loan and return it at a fixed time. Now, for this independence and self-sufficiency of the community every individual should work with all his might, without making a statement of account with it or claiming anything for his own property. Everyone should know that he is indebted absolutely to the community, and should eat or starve along with the community. Thereby the honourable independence of the State and of the family, which he is to enter some day, and the relationship of their individual members to them, is disclosed to his vivid observation and rooted ineradicably in his heart.

161. This training to mechanical work is the point at which the education of the scholar, which is a part of, and rests upon, the universal national education, diverges from the latter. The scholar’s education, which is now to be discussed, is, I said, part of the universal national education. I offer no opinion as to whether in the future everyone who believes he has sufficient ability to study or ranks himself for any reason with the higher classes of former days will not still be free to take the old path of scholarly education. If we should once get our national education, experience will show how the majority of those scholars will fare, with their purchased learning, against, I will not say the scholar trained in the new school, but even against the ordinary man produced by it. However, I want to speak now, not of that, but of the scholar’s education according to the new method.

According to its principles, the future scholar, too, must have gone through the universal national education and have received completely and clearly its first part, the development of knowledge by sensation, perception, and whatever is connected with the latter. Permission to take up this profession can be granted by the new national education only to the boy who shows an excellent gift for learning and a conspicuous inclination for the world of ideas. It must, however, grant this permission to every boy who shows these qualities, without exception and without regard to so-called difference of birth. For a man is not a scholar for his own convenience; every talent of that kind is a precious possession of the nation, and may not be taken from it.

162. The person who is not a scholar is destined to maintain the human race at the stage of culture it has reached, the scholar to advance it further according to a clear conception and with deliberate art. The scholar with his conception must always be in advance of the present age, must understand the future, and be able to implant it in the present for its future development. For this purpose he needs a clear survey of the previous condition of the world, unlimited skill in pure thought independent of phenomena, and, in order that he may be able to communicate his thoughts, control of language down to its living and creative root. All this necessitates mental self-activity, without guidance from others, and solitary reflection, in which, therefore, the future scholar must be exercised from the moment his profession is decided; it does not mean, as in the case of the person who is not a scholar, merely thinking under the eye of an ever-present teacher; it necessitates a great amount of subsidiary knowledge, which is quite useless in his vocation to the person who is not a scholar. This solitary reflection will be the scholar’s work, the daily occupation of his life. He is to be trained at once for this work, but in return he is to be exempted from the other mechanical toil. The education of the future scholar for manhood will, therefore, as formerly, proceed in general simultaneously with the universal national education, and along with all the others he will attend the instruction it supplies. Only those hours which the others spend in manual work will be devoted to the study of whatever his future profession specifically demands; this will be the only difference. The general knowledge of agriculture, of other mechanical arts, and of their particular methods, which is to be expected of every man, the scholar will undoubtedly have learnt already while passing through the first class; if he has not, he will have to acquire that knowledge afterwards. It is obvious that he is the last pupil of all to be exempted from the physical exercises that are prescribed. To give an account of the particular subjects which a scholar’s education would include, or the course to be followed in them, is, however, beyond the scope of these addresses.