Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/866

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reading in the highest (third year) class "expressionless, thoughtless, and mechanical." On the other hand, the Boston grammar schools were found, on the whole, to be highly efficient—a circumstance, however, which can in no sense be regarded as an offset to the inferior condition—if Dr. Rice's criticisms are well founded—of the primary schools.

To our mind it is perfectly plain that the modern world has not yet discovered the true method of grappling with the educational problem, and that sooner or later it will have to revert to individual responsibility and individual effort for its solution. We do not deny that relatively satisfactory results may here and there be reached under the present system; but any system which to a large extent prevents the special talent that is available for a given task from being applied to that task is fatally defective; and that, as we conceive, is the case with state education. The born educators, those possessing by nature the aptitudes and the sympathies required for educational work, those who could—granted, of course, proper training—redeem such work from drudgery and make it a true process of thought and soul development, will not in general take service in state-directed schools, and, at the same time, they will be debarred, by the competition of the state, from what would be their most congenial employment. Such is the dilemma; and the conclusion to which it points is that some day we must retrace our steps, and make education the business of the family to be obtained as other good things are obtained—as all best things are obtained—by effort and sacrifice.


The first regular meeting of the American Psychological Association, a short account of which is given on another page, was a very significant gathering. It is an evidence of the fact that a common bond of scientific interest in the study of mental phenomena is now sufficiently strong and sufficiently extended to warrant a comprehensive organization. This most disputed field of mental science has, in recent years, been rendered subject to an increasing extent to scientific methods, and a psychological laboratory is no longer regarded as a curiosity, but as an essential department in every higher institution of learning. It is notable that, since the foundation, some ten years ago, of the first laboratory, by Prof. G. Stanley Hall, at Johns Hopkins University, others have been instituted one after the other, so that at the present time there are more such laboratories in this country than in Europe. It was only natural that, when Prof. Hall became the President of Clark University, the formation of a strong psychological department should have been one of the prominent subjects to engage attention. Soon afterward, laboratories were founded by Prof. Cattell at the University of Pennsylvania, later at Columbia College; by Prof. Jastrow, at the University of Wisconsin, and at other institutions; and within the past year Harvard has set a noble example by equipping a magnificent laboratory and securing for its director that eminent psychologist, Prof. Muensterberg, of Freiburg. Yale has likewise founded a laboratory, and placed Prof. Scripture at its head; and another laboratory is soon to be opened in another prominent Eastern college. Nor does the list end here; it includes a dozen more colleges of various degrees of prominence. All this gives evidence of wide interest in a strictly scientific method of research, and promises to make the study of psychology something far different from what it has hitherto been. The organization of this small but influential body of men engaged in this work is therefore significant of a tendency of modern thought which seems destined to become particularly impor-