Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/467

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451
LEARN AND SEARCH.


the student presses into the comprehension of the inner processes, and learns not only to estimate the measure of the living forces but also to calculate them in advance, in order afterward to adjust the practical using of them.

Arithmetic alone is not enough; thought is also necessary to comprehension. Many conceive that it is not necessary to make thought itself an object of learning; but there can not be success without methodical thinking. Unfortunately, logic is one of the studies that has almost been forgotten. At most of the schools one is supposed to have done enough if he occasionally expresses a logical theorem. How can one pursue psychology who has never become acquainted with the laws of thought? How can the complicated conditions of mental life be made perceptible to the outward view? The young doctor is a little more favorably situated in respect to this matter; but what can be expected of the jurist, the theologian, and the pedagogue? Respect for philosophy is already, at least, cultivated; that is much. The disposition to learn to think philosophically will then easily be yielded to.

And now, finally, the natural sciences. What profitable objects for learning and teaching do the descriptive sciences—botany, geology, and mineralogy—afford! It is a mistake to suppose that university teachers lay most weight on systematic knowledge. Not at all. The systematic method, it is true, is learned at the universities. It does no one harm to be able to learn and distinguish a certain number of plants, animals, or stones. But the instruction proper should consist in the training of the senses, especially of the sight and feeling. At present we have to lament that a large part of our students have no exact knowledge of colors, that they make false estimates of the forms of the objects they see, and they manifest no comprehension of the consistence and exterior constitution of bodies. Nothing should be easier than to cultivate an accurate judgment concerning color and form, if besides the comprehension of the body the representation of it by a simple or colored drawing, though it were only a sketch, were learned. Every one can make such knowledge useful. It is of great value to medical men, for diagnoses of the most important conditions are not rarely dependent upon it.

The experimental sciences, especially physics and chemistry, are also indispensable in school instruction, because more than all other branches they lead to the knowledge of the genetic and causal connection of the processes, and prepare for the methodical consideration of the more difficult problems of biology. It is evident that so long as general preparation for academical studies alone is considered, only the simpler and more easily understood experiments can be dealt with in them. But every pupil who