This problem is, without exception, the most urgent confronting humanity today. The future of the race lies in the hands of the young people everywhere. They are the parents of the coming generations and the engineers who must implement the new civilization. What we do with them and for them is momentous in its implications; our responsibility is great and our opportunity unique.
This chapter deals with the children and adolescents, under sixteen years old. These two groups are the most hopeful element in a world which has fallen to pieces before our eyes. They are the guarantee that our world can be rebuilt and—if we have learned anything from past history and its dire consequences in our lifetime—rebuilt along different lines, with different objectives and incentives and with well-defined goals and carefully considered ideals.
Let us remember, however, that visionary, mystical hopes and dreams, wishful thinking and the formulation of highly organized plans upon paper are useful as far as they indicate interest, a sense of responsibility and possible objectives but they are of small importance in any effective, transitional enterprise unless there is a grasp of the immediate problem and of the immediate possibilities, plus a willingness to effect those compromises which will lay the ground for later successful work. This work is largely that of education. Hitherto, there has been little effort to bring about a bridging between the needs of the future and the present forms of education. These forms have apparently failed to equip humanity for successful and cooperative living and the newer aspects of mental training; no scientific bridging has been done and little attempt has been made to correlate the best of the present methods (and not all are bad) with future ways of developing the youth of the world so that it can cope with a new civilization which is inevitably upon its way. The visionary idealist has hitherto held the field against the established modes of teaching; his impracticality and his refusal to compromise has thus slowed up the process and humanity has paid the price. The day has now come when the practical mystic and the man of high mental development as well as of spiritual vision will take his place, thus providing a training which will enable the youth of any nation to integrate successfully into the world picture.
We start with the realization that our educational systems have not been adequate; they have failed to train children for right living; they have not inculcated those methods of thinking and acting which will lead to right human relations—those relations which are so essential to happiness, to success and to a full experience in any chosen sphere of human enterprise.
The best minds and the clearest thinkers in the educational field are constantly endorsing these ideas; the progressive movements in education have done something to remove old abuses and to instil new techniques, but they still constitute so small a minority that they are relatively ineffectual. It is well to bear in mind that had the teaching given to the young during the past few hundred years been of a different nature, the world war might never have happened.
Many and differing reasons have been given for the total war which engulfed us. This has raised the question whether the failure of our educational systems or the ineptitude of the churches may not be the basic causes behind the others. But—the war happened. Our old civilization has been swept away. There are those who would like to see that civilization return and the old structure again rebuilt; they yearn for a peaceful return to the situation before the war. They must not be allowed to rebuild along the old lines or to use the old blueprints, even though necessarily we must build upon the old foundations. It is the task of the educators to prevent this.
Let us be willing to recognize that those countries in which the old mode of education is still peacefully practised may be not only dangerous to themselves because they are perpetuating the bad old ways, but that they also constitute a menace to those countries which are in the happy position of being able to change their educational institutions and thus inaugurate a better way of preparing their youth for total living. Education is a deeply spiritual enterprise. It concerns the whole man and that includes his divine spirit.
Education in the hands of any church would spell disaster. It would feed the sectarian spirit, foster the conservative, reactionary attitudes so strongly endorsed, for instance, by the Catholic Church and the fundamentalists in the Protestant churches. It would train bigots, build barriers between man and man and eventually lead to a powerful and inevitable swing away from all religion on the part of those who would finally learn to think as they reach adult manhood. This is not an indictment of religion. It is an indictment of the past methods of the churches and of the old theologies which have failed to present Christ as He essentially is, which have worked for riches, prestige, and political power and which have striven with all available means to increase their membership and to imprison the free spirit in man. There are wise and good churchmen today who realize this and who are steadfastly working for the new age approach to God, but they are relatively few in number. Nevertheless, they are waging war against theological crystallization and academic pronouncements. They will inevitably succeed and thus salvage the religious spirit.
Then let us endeavour to see what the goal of the new educational movement should be and what are the signposts on the way to that goal. Let us try to formulate a long range plan which will meet with no hindrance from the methods immediately employed, which will link the past and the future by using all that is true, beautiful and good (inherited from the past) but which will emphasize certain basic objectives which have hitherto been largely ignored. These newer techniques and methods must be developed gradually and will hasten the process of integrating the whole man.
There is no hope for the future world except in a humanity which accepts the fact of divinity, even whilst repudiating theology, which recognizes the presence of the living Christ, whilst rejecting man-made interpretations of Him and of His message, and which emphasizes the authority of the human soul.
The future which lies ahead is full of promise. Let us base our optimism upon humanity itself. Let us recognize the self-proven fact that there is a peculiar quality in every man, an innate, inherent characteristic to which one may give the name "mystical perception". This characteristic connotes an undying, though oft unrecognized, sense of divinity; it involves the constant possibility to vision and contact the soul and to grasp (with increasing aptitude) the nature of the universe. It enables the philosopher to appreciate the world of meaning and—through that perception—to touch Reality. It is, above all else, the power to love and to go out towards that which is other than the self. It confers the ability to grasp ideas. The history of mankind is fundamentally the history of the growth of ideas, progressively realized and of man's determination to live by them; with this power goes the capacity to sense the unknown, to believe in the unprovable, to seek, search and demand the revelation of that which is hidden and undiscovered and which—century after century owing to this demanding spirit of investigation—is revealed. It is the power to recognize the beautiful, the true and the good and by means of the creative arts to prove their existence. It is this inherent, spiritual faculty which has produced all the great Sons of God, all truly spiritual people, all artists, scientists, humanitarians and philosophers and all who, with sacrifice, love their fellowmen.
Here lie the grounds for optimism and courage on the part of all true educators and here is the true incentive to all their efforts.
The world, as known to people over forty years of age, has crumbled and is fast disappearing. The old values are fading out and what we call "civilization" (that civilization we have thought so wonderful) is vanishing. Some of us are thankful it is so. Others regard it as a disaster. All of us are distressed that the means of its dissolution have brought so much agony and suffering to humanity everywhere.
Civilization might be defined as the reaction of humanity to the purpose and the activities of a particular world period and its type of thinking. In each age, some idea functions and expresses itself in both racial and national idealisms. Its basic trend down the centuries has produced our modern world and this has been materialistic. The aim has been physical comfort; science and the arts have been prostituted to the task of giving man a comfortable and if possible a beautiful environment; all the products of nature have been subordinated to giving humanity things. The aim of education, generally speaking, has been to equip the child to compete with his fellow citizens in "making a living", in accumulating possessions and in being as comfortable and successful as possible.
This education has also been primarily competitive, nationalistic and, therefore, separative. It has trained the child to regard the material values as of major importance, to believe that his particular nation is also of major importance and that every other nation is secondary; it has fed pride and fostered the belief that he, his group and his nation are infinitely superior to other people and peoples. He is taught consequently to be a one-sided person with his world values wrongly adjusted and his attitudes to life distinguished by bias and prejudice. The rudiments of the arts are taught him in order to enable him to function with the needed efficiency in a competitive setting and in his particular vocational environment. Reading, writing and elementary arithmetic are regarded as minimum requirements, plus some knowledge of historical and geographical events. Some of the literature of the world is also brought to his attention. The general level of civilized information is relatively high, but it is biased and influenced by religious and national prejudices which are instilled into the child from his earliest years, but which are not innate. World citizenship is not emphasized; his responsibility to his fellowmen is systematically ignored; his memory is developed through the impartation of uncorrelated facts—most of them unrelated to daily living.
Our present civilization will go down in history as grossly materialistic. There have been many material epochs in history but none so generally widespread as the present or which have involved such untold millions. We are constantly told that the cause of this war is economic; that is surely so but the reason is that we have demanded so much of comfort and of "things" in order to live "reasonably well". We require so much more than our forefathers needed; we prefer a soft and relatively easy life; the pioneering spirit (which is the background of all nations) has faded, in most cases, into a soft civilization. This is particularly true of the Western hemisphere. Our standard of civilized living is far too high from the standpoint of possessions and far too low from the angle of the spiritual values or when subjected to an intelligent sense of proportion. Our modern civilization will not stand up to the acid test of value. A nation is today regarded as civilized when it sets a value on mental development, when it puts a premium on analysis and criticism and when all its resources are directed towards the satisfying of physical desire, towards the production of material things and towards the implementing of material purposes as well as towards dominating competitively in the world, towards the amassing of riches, the acquiring of property, the achievement of a high standard of material living and towards the cornering of the produce of the earth—largely for the benefit of certain groups of ambitious and wealthy men.
This is a drastic generalization but it is basically correct in its main implications, though incorrect where individuals are concerned. For this sad and dire situation (entirely of humanity's own making) we pay the penalty of war. Neither the churches nor our educational systems have been sound enough in their presentation of truth to offset this materialistic tendency. The tragedy is that the children of the world have paid and are paying the price of our wrong-doing. War has its roots in greed; material ambition has motivated all the nations without exception; all our planning has been directed to the organization of the national life so that material possession, competitive supremacy and individual and national selfish interests would control. All nations, in their own way and degree, have contributed to this; none has clean hands and hence war. Humanity has the habit of selfishness and an inherent love of material possessions. This has produced our modern civilization and, for this reason, it is being changed.
The cultural factor in any civilization is its preservation and consideration of all the best the past has given, and its evaluation and study of the arts, the literature, the music and the creative life of all nations—past and present. It concerns the refining influence of these factors upon a nation and upon those individuals in a nation who are so situated (usually financially) that they can profit from them and appreciate them. The knowledge and understanding thus gained enable the man of culture to relate the world of meaning (as inherited from the past) to the world of appearances in which he lives and to regard them as one world, but one existing primarily for his individual benefit. When, however, to an appreciation of our planetary and racial inheritance, both creative and historical, he adds an understanding of the spiritual and moral values, then we have an approximation to what the truly spiritual man is intended to be. In relation to the total population of the planet, such men are few and far between, but they guarantee to the rest of humanity a genuine possibility.
Will cultured people realize their opportunity? Will our civilized citizens embrace the chance to build afresh—not a material civilization this time but a world of beauty and of right human relations, a world in which children can indeed grow into the likeness of the One Father and in which man can return to the simplicity of the spiritual values of beauty, truth and goodness?
Yet, facing the worldwide reconstruction demanded and the well-nigh impossible task of salvaging the children and youth of the world, there are those today who are engaged in raising funds to rebuild stone churches and restore ancient buildings, thus demanding money which is sorely needed to restore broken bodies, to heal psychological wounds and to produce the warmth of love and understanding among those who believe that such qualities do not exist!
The magnitude of the problems to be faced may well leave us bewildered and at a loss how to answer the many questions which immediately arise in our minds. How can we lay the foundation for a long range programme of reconstruction, of education and development as it affects the youth of the world and thus guarantee a new and better world? What basic plans must be laid which will be appropriate for so many differing races and nationalities? In the face of understandable hatreds and deep-seated prejudices, how can we make a sound beginning?
The ethical and moral values among the children, particularly among the adolescent boys and girls, have deteriorated and the spiritual values will need awakening. There is direct evidence, however, that this spiritual awakening is already sweeping over Europe and that perhaps from that continent may come that new spiritual tide which will turn the entire world to better things and which will ensure that our materialistic civilization has gone, never to return. A spiritual renaissance is inevitable and is nowhere more needed than in those countries which have escaped the worst aspects of war. For this renaissance we must look and make preparation.
The next urgent problem is surely the psychological rehabilitation of youth. It is a question whether the children of Europe, of China, of Great Britain and Japan will ever completely recover from the effects of war. The early and formative years of their lives have been spent under war conditions and—resilient as children are—there are bound to be certain traces left of what they have seen, heard and suffered. There will be exceptions, particularly in Great Britain and parts of France. Time alone will indicate the extent of the damage done. Much can, however, be offset and even obliterated by the wise action of parents, doctors, nurses and educators. It is sad to report that little has been planned by the psychologists and neurologists along this needed line of salvage; yet their specialized work is sorely needed and is as urgent a demand as that for food and clothing.
It is valuable also to remind ourselves in all our planning and with all our good intentions that the various nations, involved in the world war and whose countries have felt the full brunt of occupation, are laying their own plans. They know what they want; they are determined, as far as possible, to care for their own people, to salvage their own children, to restore their own special cultures and their lands. The task of the Great Powers (with their vast resources) and of the philanthropists and humanitarians throughout the world should be to cooperate with these people. It is not their task to impose upon them what they, from the vantage point of their position, believe to be good for them. These nations want understanding cooperation; they want the implements for agriculture, immediate relief in food and clothing, plus the wherewithal to start again their educational institutions, to organize their schools and to equip them with what is immediately required. They certainly do not want a horde of well-meaning people taking over their educational or medical institutions, or imposing democratic, communistic or any other particular ideology upon them. Naturally, the principles of Nazism and of Fascism must be swept away, but the nations must be free to work out their own destiny. They have each of them their own traditions, cultures and backgrounds. They are being forced to build anew but what they build must be their own; it must be distinctive of them and an expression of their own inner life. It is surely the function of the wealthier and free nations to help them to build so that the new world can come into being. Each nation must tackle the problem of its restoration in its own way.
This need not mean disunity; it should mean a richer and more colourful world. It need not mean separation or the building of barriers or the retiring behind walls of prejudice and racial bias. There are two major linking relationships which should be cultivated and which will bring about a closer understanding in the world of men. These are religion and education. In this chapter we are considering the factor of education which has in the past so greatly failed to promote world unity (as the war has proved) but which can in the future so wisely control.
We are today witnessing the slow but steady formation of international groups, banded together to preserve world security, to protect labour, to deal with world economics and to preserve the integrity and the sovereignty of nations whilst committing each and all to a definite part in the work of securing right human relations throughout the planet. Whether we agree or not with the details or the specific commitments proposed, the formation of international advisory councils, and above all, of the United Nations, are hopeful indications of the moving forward of humanity into a world where right human relations are regarded as essential to the peace of the world, where goodwill is recognized and where provision is made for the implementing of those conditions which will prevent war and aggression.
In the field of education some such united action is also essential. Surely a basic unity of objectives should govern the educational systems of the nations, even though uniformity of method and of techniques may not be possible. Differences of language, of background and of culture will and should always exist; they constitute the beautiful tapestry of human living down the ages. But much that has hitherto militated against right human relations must and should be eliminated.
In the teaching of history, for instance, are we to revert to the old ways wherein each nation glorifies itself at the expense frequently of other nations, in which facts are systematically garbled, in which the pivotal points in history are the various wars down the ages—a history, therefore, of aggression, of the rise of a material and selfish civilization and one which has fed the nationalistic and, therefore, separative spirit, which has fostered racial hatreds and stimulated national prides? The first historical date usually remembered by the average British child is "William, the Conqueror, 1066". The American child remembers the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers and the gradual taking of the country from its rightful inhabitants and perhaps the Boston Tea Party. The heroes of history are all warriors—Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, Richard Coeur de Lion, Napoleon, George Washington and many others. Geography is largely history in another form but presented in a similar manner—a history of discovery, investigation and seizure, followed frequently by wicked and cruel treatment of the inhabitants of the discovered lands. Greed, ambition, cruelty and pride are the keynotes of our teaching of history and geography.
The wars, aggressions and thefts which have distinguished every great nation without exception are facts and cannot be denied. Surely, however, the lessons of the evils which they wrought (culminating in the war 1914-1945) can be pointed out and the ancient causes of present day prejudices and dislikes can be shown and their futility emphasized. Is it not possible to build our theory of history upon the great and good ideas which have conditioned the nations and made them what they are? To emphasize the creativity which has distinguished all of them? Can we not present more effectively the great cultural epochs which—suddenly appearing in some one nation—enriched the entire world and gave to humanity its literature, its art and its vision?
The world war has produced great migrations. Armies have marched and fought in every part of the world; persecuted peoples have escaped from one land to another; welfare workers have gone from country to country, serving the soldiers, salvaging the sick, feeding the hungry and studying conditions. The world today is very small and men are discovering (sometimes for the first time in their lives) that humanity is one and that all men, no matter what the colour of their skin or the country in which they live, resemble each other. We are all intermingled today. The United States is composed of people from every known country; over fifty different races or nations compose the U.S.S.R. The United Kingdom is a Commonwealth of independent nations bound together into one group. India is composed of a multiplicity of peoples, religions and tongues and hence her problem. The world itself is a great fusing pot, out of which the One Humanity is emerging. This necessitates a drastic change in our methods of presenting history and geography. Science has always been universal. Great art and literature have always belonged to the world. It is upon these facts that the education to be given to the children of the world must be built—upon our similarities, our creative achievements, our spiritual idealisms, and our points of contact. Unless this is done, the wounds of the nations will never be healed and the barriers which have existed for centuries will never be removed.
The educators who face the present world opportunity should see to it that a sound foundation is laid for the coming civilization; they should undertake that it is general and universal in its scope, truthful in its presentation and constructive in its approach. What initial steps the educators of the different countries take will inevitably determine the nature of the coming civilization. They should prepare for a renaissance of all the arts and for a new and free flow of the creative spirit in man. They should lay an emphatic importance upon those great moments in human history wherein man's divinity flamed forth and indicated new ways of thinking, new modes of human planning and thus changed for all time the trend of human affairs. These moments produced the Magna Charta; they gave emphasis, through the French Revolution, to the concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity; they formulated the American Bill of Rights, and on the high seas and in our own time and day they gave us the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms. These are the great concepts which must govern the new age with its nascent civilization and its future culture. If the children of today are taught the significance of these five great declarations and are, at the same time, taught the futility of hate and war, there is hope of a better and happier as well as of a safer world.
Two major ideas should immediately be taught to the children of every country. They are: the value of the individual and the fact of the one humanity. The war boys and girls have learned from appearances that human life has small value; the fascist countries have taught that the individual is of no value except in so far as he implements the designs of some dictator. In other countries, some people and some groups—through hereditary position or financial assets—are regarded as of importance and the rest of the nation as of little importance. In still other countries, the individual regards himself of so much importance and his right to please himself of so much moment that his relation to the whole is entirely lost. Yet the value of the individual and the existence of that whole which we call Humanity are most closely related. This needs emphasizing. These two principles, when properly taught and understood, will lead to the intensive culture of the individual and then to his recognition of his responsibility as an integral part of the whole body of humanity.
We have touched upon the physical and psychological rehabilitation of the children and youth of the world. We have suggested that the textbooks be rewritten in terms of right human relations and not from the present nationalistic and separative angles. We have also pointed out certain basic ideas which should be immediately inculcated: the unique value of the individual, the beauty of humanity, the relation of the individual to the whole and his responsibility to fit into the general picture in a constructive manner and voluntarily; we have sought to have the futility of war, of greed and aggression emphasized and that we prepare for a great awakening of the creative faculty in man once security is restored; we have noted the imminence of the coming spiritual renaissance.
One of our immediate educational objectives must he the elimination of the competitive spirit and the substitution of the cooperative consciousness. Here the question at once arises: How can one achieve this and at the same time bring about a high level of individual attainment? Is not competition a major spur to all endeavour? This has hitherto been so, but it need not be. The development of an atmosphere which will foster the child's sense of responsibility and set him free from the inhibitions which fear generates, will enable him to attain even higher results. From the standpoint of the educator, this will entail the creation of the correct atmosphere around the child and in this atmosphere certain qualities will flourish and certain characteristics of responsibility and of goodwill will emerge. What is the nature of this atmosphere?
1. An atmosphere of love wherein fear is cast out and the child realizes that he has no cause for timidity. It is an atmosphere wherein he will receive courteous treatment and will be expected to be equally courteous to others. This is rare indeed to find in schoolrooms or in homes, for that matter. This atmosphere of love is not an emotional, sentimental form of love but is based upon a realization of the potentialities of the child as an individual, upon freedom from prejudice and racial antagonisms and upon a true compassionate tenderness. This compassionate attitude will be founded upon the recognition of the difficulty of daily living, upon sensitivity to a child's normally affectionate response, and upon the conviction that love always draws forth what is best in anyone.
2. An atmosphere of patience. It is in such an atmosphere that the child can learn the first rudiments of responsibility. The children being born in this period and who are now to be found everywhere are of high grade intelligence; without knowing it, they are spiritually alive and the first indication of this aliveness is a sense of responsibility. They know they are their brother's keeper. The patient inculcation of this quality, the effort to make them shoulder small duties and to share responsibility will call for much patience on the part of the teacher but it is fundamental in determining a child's character for good and his future usefulness in the world.
3. An atmosphere of understanding. So few teachers or parents explain to a child the reasons for the activities and the demands that are made upon him. But this explanation will inevitably evoke response, for a child thinks more than is realized and the process will inculcate in him a consideration of motives. Many of the things which an average child does are not wrong in themselves; they are prompted by a thwarted, inquiring spirit, by the impulse to retaliate for some injustice (based on the adult's lack of understanding his motivation), by an inability to employ time correctly and usefully and by an urge to attract attention. These are simply the initial gestures of the emerging individual. Older people are apt to foster in a child an early and unnecessary sense of wrong-doing; they lay emphasis upon petty little things which should be ignored but which are annoying. A correct sense of wrong action, based upon failure to preserve right group relations, is not developed but if a child is handled with understanding, then the truly wrong things, the infringements upon the rights of others, the encroachments of individual desire upon group requirements for personal gain, will emerge in right perspective and at the right time. Educators will need to remember that thousands of children have looked on constantly at evil deeds perpetrated by older people; this will have perverted their outlook, given them wrong standards and undermined right senior authority. A child is apt to become anti-social when he is not understood or when circumstances demand too much of him.
A right atmosphere, the imparting of a few correct principles, and much loving understanding are the prime requirements in the most difficult transitional period with which we are faced. An organized way of living will help much but the children we are considering have known little discipline. The work of sheer survival has been the prime preoccupation of their elders and of the children. It will be hard for them at first to react correctly to an imposed rhythm of living. Discipline will be needed but it must be the discipline of love and one which is carefully and exhaustively explained so that the child understands the reasons lying behind this mysterious new order of carrying on. The fatigue, inertia and lack of interest, incident to war and malnutrition, present definite difficulties at first. Educators and teachers will need to impose upon themselves a discipline of patience, understanding and love which will not be easy, for it will be paralleled by a profound sense of the difficulties to be overcome and the problems to be faced.
Men and women of vision in every country must be found and mobilized and they are there; they must have the equipment they need and the backing of those whom they can trust. Too much must not be demanded at first, for the immediate need is not the impartation of facts but the dissipation of fear, the demonstration that love does exist in the world and the inculcation of a sense of security. Then and only then will it be possible to proceed with those more definite processes which will make the long range plan which some of us have visioned a possibility.
Let us now formulate a more extended plan for the future education of the children of the world. We have noted that in spite of universal educational processes and many centres of learning in every country, we have not yet succeeded in giving our young people the kind of education which will enable them to live wholly and constructively. In terms of the last two or three thousand years, the development of world education has been progressively along three main lines, starting in the East and culminating today in the West. In Asia we have had the intensive training, down the centuries, of certain carefully chosen individuals and a complete neglect of the masses. Asia and Asia alone has produced those outstanding figures who are, even today, the object of universal veneration—Lao Tze, Confucius, the Buddha, Shri Krishna and the Christ. They have set Their mark upon millions and still do.
Then in Europe, we have had educational attention concentrated upon a few privileged groups, giving them a carefully planned cultural training but teaching only the necessary rudiments of learning to the masses. This produced periodically such important epochs of cultural expression as the Elizabethan period, the Renaissance, the poets and writers of the Victorian era and the poets and musicians of Germany, as well as the clusters of artists whose memory is perpetuated in the Italian School, the Dutch and the Spanish groups.
Finally, in the newer countries of the world, such as the United States, Australia and Canada, mass education was instituted and was largely copied throughout the entire civilized world. The general level of cultural attainment became much lower; the level of mass information and competency considerably higher. The question now arises: What will be the next evolutionary development in the educational world? What will happen after this complete world breakdown and the recognized failure of the educational systems to avert it?
Let us remember one important thing. What education can do along undesirable lines has been well demonstrated in Germany with its wrecking of idealism, its inculcation of wrong human relations and attitudes and its glorification of all that is most selfish, brutal and aggressive. Germany has proved that educational processes when properly organized and supervised, systematically planned and geared to an ideology, are potent in effect, especially if the child is taken young enough and if he is shielded from all contrary teaching for a long enough time. Since that time Russia has used the same system. Let us remember that this demonstrated potency can work two ways and that what has been wrought out along wrong lines can be equally successful along right ones in a wholesome atmosphere of freedom.
We need also to do two things: We must place the emphasis educationally upon those who are under sixteen years of age, and the younger the better and, secondly, we must begin with what we have, even while recognizing the limitations of the present systems. We must strengthen those aspects which are good and desirable; we must eliminate those which have proved inadequate in fitting men to cope with their environment; we must develop the new attitudes and techniques which will fit a child for complete living and so make him truly human—a creative, constructive member of the human family. The very best of all that is past must be preserved but should only be regarded as the foundation for a better system and a wiser approach to the goal of world citizenship.
It might be of value at this point to define what education can be, if it is impulsed by true vision and made responsive to sensed world need and to the demands of the times.
Education is the training, intelligently given, which will enable the youth of the world to contact their environment with intelligence and sanity, and adapt themselves to the existing conditions. This is of prime importance and is one of the signposts in the world today.
Education is a process whereby the child is equipped with the information which will enable him to act as a good citizen and perform the functions of a wise parent. It should take into consideration his inherent tendencies, his racial and national attributes and then endeavour to add to these that knowledge which will lead him to work constructively in his particular world setting and prove himself a useful citizen. The general trend of his education will be more psychological than in the past and the information thus gained will be geared to his peculiar situation. All children have certain assets and should be taught how to use them; these they share with the whole of humanity, irrespective of race or nationality. Educators will, therefore, lay emphasis in the future upon:
1. A developing mental control of the emotional nature.
2. Vision or the capacity to see beyond what is to what might be.
3. Inherited, factual knowledge upon which it will be possible to superimpose the wisdom of the future.
4. Capacity wisely to handle relationships and to recognize and assume responsibility.
5. The power to use the mind in two ways:
a. As the "commonsense" (using this word in its old connotation), analysing and synthesizing the information conveyed by the five senses.
b. As a searchlight, penetrating into the world of ideas and of abstract truth.
Knowledge comes from two directions. It is the result of the intelligent use of the five senses and it is also developed from the attempt to seize upon and understand ideas. Both of these are implemented by curiosity and investigation.
Education should be of three kinds and all three are necessary to bring humanity to a needed point of development.
It is, first of all, a process of acquiring facts—past and present—and of then learning to infer and gather from this mass of information, gradually accumulated, that which can be of practical use in any given situation. This process involves the fundamentals of our present educational systems.
It is, secondly, a process of learning wisdom as an outgrowth of knowledge and of grasping understandingly the meaning which lies behind the outer imparted facts. It is the power to apply knowledge in such a manner that sane living and an understanding point of view, plus an intelligent technique of conduct, are the natural results. This also involves training for specialized activities, based upon innate tendencies, talents or genius.
It is a process whereby unity or a sense of synthesis is cultivated. Young people in the future will be taught to think of themselves in relation to the group, to the family unit and to the nation in which their destiny has put them. They will also be taught to think in terms of world relationship, and of their nation in its relation to other nations. This covers training for citizenship, for parenthood, and for world understanding; it is basically psychological and should convey an understanding of humanity. When this type of training is given, we shall develop men and women who are both civilized and cultured and who will also possess the capacity to move forward (as life unfolds) into that world of meaning which underlies the world of outer phenomena and who will begin to view human happening in terms of the deeper spiritual and universal values.
Education should be the process whereby youth is taught to reason from cause to effect, to know the reason why certain actions are bound inevitably to produce certain results and why—given a certain emotional and mental equipment, plus an ascertained psychological rating—definite life trends can be determined and certain professions and life careers provide the right setting for development and a useful and profitable field of experience.
Some attempts along this line have been undertaken by certain colleges and schools in an effort to ascertain the psychological aptitudes of a boy or a girl for certain vocations but the whole effort is still amateurish in nature. When made more scientific it opens the door for training in the sciences; it gives significance and meaning to history, biography and learning and thus avoids the bare impartation of facts and the crude process of memory training which has been distinctive of past methods.
The new education will consider a child with due reference to his heredity, his social position, his national conditioning, his environment and his individual mental and emotional equipment and will seek to throw the entire world of effort open to him, pointing out that apparent barriers to progress are only spurs to renewed endeavour. They will thus seek to "lead him out" (the true meaning of the word "education") from any limiting condition and train him to think in terms of constructive world citizenship. Growth and still more growth will be emphasized.
The educator of the future will approach the problem of youth from the angle of the children's instinctual reaction, their intellectual capacity and their intuitional potentiality. In infancy and in the earlier school grades, the development of right instinctual reactions will be watched and cultivated; in the later grades, in what is equivalent to the high schools or the secondary schools, the intellectual unfoldment and control of the mental processes will be emphasized; whilst in the colleges and universities the unfoldment of the intuition, the importance of ideas and ideals and the development of abstract thinking and perception will be fostered; this latter phase will be soundly based upon the previous sound intellectual foundation. These three factors—instinct, intellect and intuition—provide the keynotes for the three scholastic institutions through which every young person will pass and through which, today, many thousands do pass.
In the modern schools (grammar or primary schools, high or secondary schools, colleges or universities) there can be seen an imperfect but symbolic picture of the triple objectives of the coming education: Civilization, Culture and world Citizenship or unity.
The primary schools might be regarded as the custodians of civilization; they should begin to train the child in the nature of the world in which he should play his part, teaching him his place in the group and preparing him for intelligent living and right social relations. Reading, writing and arithmetic, elementary history (with the emphasis upon world history), geography and poetry will be taught and certain basic and important facts of living imparted, plus the inculcation of self-control.
The secondary schools will regard themselves as the custodians of culture; they should emphasize the larger values of history and literature and give some understanding of art. They should begin to train the boy or girl for that future profession or mode of life which it is obvious will condition them. Citizenship will then be taught in larger terms and the world of true values be pointed out and idealism consciously and definitely cultivated. The practical application of ideals will be emphasized.
Our colleges and universities should be a higher extension of all that has been already done. They should beautify and complete the structure already erected and should deal more directly with the world of meaning. International problems—economic, social, political and religious—should be considered and the man or woman related still more definitely to the world as a whole. This in no way indicates neglect of individual or national problems or undertakings but it seeks to incorporate them into the whole as integral and effective parts, and thus avoids the separative attitudes which have brought about the downfall of our modern world.
It might prove later (when true religion is again restored) that this training will be fundamentally spiritual, using that word to mean understanding, helpfulness, brotherhood, right human relations and a belief in the reality of the world behind the phenomenal scene. The fitting of a man for citizenship in the kingdom of God is not a religious activity to be handled exclusively by the churches and through theological teaching, though there is much that they can do to help. It is surely the task of the higher education, giving purpose and significance to all that has been done.
The following sequence suggests itself as we consider the curriculum to be planned for the youth of the immediate generations:
· Primary education Civilization ages: 4-12
· Secondary education Culture ages: 12-18
· Higher education World citizenship ages: 18-25
In the future, education will make a far wider use of psychology than heretofore. A trend in this direction is already to be seen. The nature—physical, vital, emotional and mental—of the boy or girl will be carefully investigated and his incoherent life purposes directed along right lines; he will be taught to recognize himself as the one who acts, who feels and who thinks. Thus the responsibility of the central "I", or the occupant of the body will be taught. This will alter the entire present attitude of the youth of the world to their surroundings and foster, from their earliest days, the recognition of a part to be played and a responsibility to be assumed. Education will be regarded as a method of preparation for that useful and interesting future.
It, therefore, becomes increasingly apparent that the coming education could be defined in a new and broader sense as the Science of Right Human Relations and of Social Organization. This gives a comparatively new purpose to any curriculum imparted and yet indicates that nothing hitherto included need be excluded, only a better motivation will be obvious and a nationalistic, selfish presentation avoided. If history is, for instance, presented on the basis of the conditioning ideas which have led humanity onward and not on the basis of aggressive wars and international or national thievery, then education will concern itself with the right perception and use of ideas, of their transformation into working ideals and their application as the will-to-good, the will-to-truth and the will-to-beauty. Thus a much needed alteration of humanity's aims from our present competitive and materialistic objectives into those that will more fully express the Golden Rule will come about and right relations between individuals, groups, parties, nations and throughout the entire international world will be established.
Increasingly, education should be concerned with the wholes of life as well as with the details of daily individual living. The child, as an individual, will be developed and equipped, trained and motivated and then taught his responsibilities to the whole and the value of the contribution which he can and must make to the group.
It is perhaps a platitude to say that education should occupy itself necessarily with the development of the reasoning powers of the child and not primarily—as is now usually the case—with the training of the memory and the parrot-like recording of facts and dates and uncorrelated and ill-digested items of information. The history of the growth of man's perceptive faculties under differing national and racial conditions is of profound interest. The outstanding figures of history, literature and art and of religion will surely be studied from the angle of their effect and their influence for good or evil upon their period; the quality and purpose of their leadership will be considered. Thus the child will absorb a vast amount of historical information, of creative activity and of idealism and philosophy not only with the maximum of ease but with permanent effect upon his character.
The continuity of effort, the effects upon civilization of ancient tradition, good and evil happenings and the interplay of varying cultural aspects of civilization will be brought to his attention and the dry-as-dust information, dates and names will fall into the discard. All branches of human knowledge could, in this way, come alive and reach a new level of constructive usefulness. There is already a definite tendency in this direction and it is good and sound. The past of Humanity as the foundation for present happenings, and the present as the determining factor for the future will increasingly be recognized and thus great and needed changes will be brought about in human psychology as a whole.
The creative aptitude of the human being should also, under the new era, receive fuller attention; the child will be spurred on to individual effort suited to his temperament and capacity. Thus he will be induced to contribute what he can of beauty to the world and of right thought to the sum total of human thinking; he will be encouraged to investigate and the world of science will open up before him. Behind all these applied incentives, the motives of goodwill and right human relations will be found.
Finally, education should surely present the hypothesis of the soul in man as the interior factor which produces the good, the true and the beautiful. Creative expression and humanitarian effort will, therefore, receive a logical basis. This will not be done through a theological or doctrinal presentation, as is today the case, but as presenting a problem for investigation and as an effort to answer the question: What is man? What is his intrinsic purpose in the scheme of things? The livingness of the influence and the proclaimed purpose behind the constant appearance of spiritual, cultural and artistic world leaders down the ages will be studied and their lives subjected to research, both historical and psychological. This will open up before the youth of the world the entire problem of leadership and of motive. Education will, therefore, be given in the form of human interest, human achievement and human possibility. This will be done in such a manner that the content of the student's mind will not only be enriched with historical and literary facts but his imagination will be fired and his ambition and aspiration evoked along true and right lines; the world of past human effort will be presented to him in a truer perspective and the future thrown open to him also in an appeal for his individual effort and personal contribution.
The above in no way implies an indictment of past methods except in so far that the world today itself presents an indictment; it does not either constitute an impractical vision or a mystical hope, based on wishful thinking. It concerns an attitude to life and the future which many thousands of people hold today, and among them many educators in every country. The errors and mistakes of the past techniques are obvious but there is no need to waste time in emphasizing them or in piling up instances.
What is needed is a realization of the immediate opportunity, plus the recognition that the required shift in objectives and change in methods will take much time. We shall have to train our teachers differently and much time will elapse as we grope for the new and better ways, develop the new textbooks and find the men and women who can be impressed with the new vision and who will work for the new civilization. We seek here to emphasize principles with the recognition that many of them are by no means new but that they require new emphasis. Now is the day of opportunity.
A better educational system should therefore be worked out which will present the possibilities of human living in such a manner that barriers will be broken down, prejudices removed and a training given to the developing child which will enable him, when grown up, to live with other men in harmony and goodwill. This can be done, if patience and understanding are developed and if educators realize that "where there is no vision, the people perish".
An international system of education, developed in joint conference by broad-minded teachers and educational authorities in every country is today a crying need and would provide a major asset in preserving world peace. Steps towards this are already being taken and groups of educators are getting together and discussing the formation of a better system which will guarantee that the children of the different nations (beginning with the millions of children now demanding education today) will be taught truth, without bias or prejudice.
World democracy will take form when men everywhere are regarded in reality as equal; when boys and girls are taught that it does not matter whether a man is an Asiatic, an American, a European, British, a Jew or a Gentile but only that each has an historical background which enables him to contribute something to the good of the whole, that the major requirement is an attitude of goodwill and a constant effort to foster right human relations. World Unity will be a fact when the children of the world are taught that religious differences are largely a matter of birth; that if a man is born in Italy, the probability is that he will be a Roman Catholic; if he is born a Jew, he will follow the Jewish teaching; if born in Asia, he may be a Mohammedan, a Buddhist, or belong to one of the Hindu sects; if born in other countries, he may be a Protestant and so on. He will learn that the religious differences are largely the result of man-made quarrels over human interpretations of truth. Thus gradually, our quarrels and differences will be offset and the idea of the One Humanity will take their place.
Much greater care will have to be given in picking and training the teachers of the future and particularly those who, in the war torn lands, will endeavour to bring educational facilities to the people. Their mental attainments and their knowledge of their particular subject will be of importance, but more important still will be the need for them to be free from prejudice and to see all men as members of a great family. The educator of the future will need to be more of a trained psychologist than he is today. Besides imparting academic knowledge, he will realize that his major task is to evoke out of his class of students a real sense of responsibility; no matter what he has to teach—history, geography, mathematics, languages, science in its various branches or philosophy—he will relate it all to the Science of Right Human Relations and will try to give a truer perspective on social organization than has been done in the past.
When the young people of the future—under the proposed application of principles—are civilized, cultured and responsive to world citizenship, we shall have a world of men awakened, creative, and possessing a true sense of values and a sound and constructive outlook on world affairs. It will take a long time to bring this about, but it is not impossible, as history itself has proved. Some day an analysis will be made of the contribution of the three great continents—Europe, Asia and America—to the general unfoldment of humanity. The progressive revelation of the glory of the human spirit still needs expression in writing—its composite glory and not just those aspects of it which are strictly national. It consists in the fact that every race and all nations have always produced those who have expressed the highest possible point of attainment for their day and generation—men who have united within themselves that basic triplicity: instinct, intellect and intuition. Their numbers were relatively few in the early stages of man's unfoldment but today those numbers are rapidly increasing.
It will be only commonsense, however, to realize that this integration is not possible for every student passing through the hands of our teachers. Students will have to be gauged from the three angles which form the background of this chapter:
1. Those capable of being civilized. This refers to the mass of men.
2. Those capable of being carried forward into the world of culture. This includes a very large number.
3. Those who add to the assets of civilization and culture an ability to function as souls, not only in the two worlds of instinctual and intelligent living but also in the world of spiritual values and to do this with a complete triple integration.
All, however, no matter what their initial capacity, can be trained in the Science of Right Human Relations, and thus respond to the major objective of the coming educational systems. Indications of this can be seen on every hand but as yet the emphasis is not laid in training teachers or influencing parents. Much, very much, has been done by enlightened groups everywhere and this they have done whilst studying the requirements for citizenship, whilst undertaking research work into social relations and through the many organizations which are trying to bring to the mass of human beings a sense of responsibility for human happiness and human welfare. This work should be started in infancy so that the consciousness of the child (so easily directed) can from its earliest days assume an unselfish attitude towards its associates.
It is bridging work which has now to be done—bridging between what is today and what can be in the future. If, during the coming years, we develop this technique of bridging the many cleavages found in the human family and in offsetting the racial hatreds and the separative attitudes of nations and people, we shall have succeeded in constructing a world in which war will be impossible and humanity will be realizing itself as one human family and not as a fighting aggregate of many nations and peoples, competitively engaged in getting the best of each other and successfully fostering prejudices and hatred. This has, as we have seen, been the history of the past. Man has been developed from an isolated animal, prompted only by the instincts of self-preservation, eating and mating, through the stages of family life, tribal life and national life to the point where today a still broader ideal is grasped by him—international unity or the smooth functioning of the One Humanity.
This growing idealism is fighting its way into the forefront of the human consciousness in spite of all separative enmities. It is largely responsible for the present chaos and for the banding together of the United Nations. It has produced the conflicting ideologies which are seeking world expression; it has produced the dramatic emergence of national saviours (so-called), world prophets and world workers, idealists, opportunists, dictators and investigators and humanitarians. These conflicting idealisms are a wholesome sign, whether we agree with them or not. They are definite reactions to the human demand—urgent and right—for better conditions, for more light and understanding, for greater cooperation, for security and peace and plenty in the place of terror, fear and starvation.
It is difficult for modern man to conceive of a time when there will be no racial, national or separative religious consciousness present in human thinking. It was equally difficult for prehistoric man to conceive of a time when there would be national thinking. This is a good thing for us to bear in mind. The time when humanity will be able to think in universal terms still lies far ahead but the fact that we can speak of it, desire it and plan for it is surely the guarantee that it is not impossible. Humanity has always progressed from stage to stage of enlightenment and from glory to glory. We are today on our way to a far better civilization than the world has ever known and towards conditions which will ensure a much happier humanity and which will see the end of national differences, of class distinctions (whether based on an hereditary or a financial status) and which will ensure a fuller and richer life for everyone.
It will be obvious that very many decades must elapse before such a state of affairs will be actively present—but it will be decades and not centuries, if humanity can learn the lessons of the world war, if the reactionary and the conservative peoples in every nation can be prevented from swinging civilization back on to the bad old lines. But a beginning can immediately be made. Simplicity should be our watchword for it is simplicity which will kill our old materialistic way of living. Cooperative goodwill is surely the first idea to be presented to the masses and taught in our schools, thereby guaranteeing the new and better civilization. Loving understanding, intelligently applied, should be the hallmark of the cultured and wiser groups, plus effort on their part to relate the world of meaning to the world of outer efforts—for the benefit of the masses. World Citizenship as an expression of both goodwill and understanding should be the goal of the enlightened everywhere and the hallmark of the spiritual man. In these three, you have right relations established between education, religion and politics.
The keynote of the new education is essentially right interpretation of life, past and present, and its relation to the future of mankind; the keynote of the new religion must and should be a right approach to God, transcendent in nature and immanent in man, whilst the keynote of the new science of politics and of government will be right human relations and for both of these education must prepare the child.
[PROBLEMS OF HUMANITY, 1947, pp. 32-65]