The New Basis of Civilization

9780217123327: The New Basis of Civilization

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1907. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VII THE BASIS IN CHARACTER THE relations between men and nature reach their final expression in systems of ethics and codes of conduct. The two great formative forces, religion and education, have trained us for future salvation and present usefulness by the discipline of pain, and both have inflicted it by artifice when the disciple's lot was too smooth to prepare him for life's troubled way. Men applaud the scars upon their fellows and smile indulgently at the thorn in the sole of the barefoot boy, thinking placidly that he will travel farther because it has plagued him there. They ardently seek to frame within themselves a satisfying philosophy the antithesis of their desires and denials, endeavors and disasters, toil and emptiness, goodness and calamities; and they have built a structure, which, if it does not satisfy, at least has reconciled them to the "sweet uses of adversity"; and now society believes without reflection that the finest character is the product of suffering. Teachers for a long time believed that education was the enforcement of difficult tasks and that playtime was a concession to natural weakness, that might be ignored as a mere pause between the valuable prosecutions of uninviting tasks. They have feared that the work toward which students showed a decided inclination was a pitfall of ease and sloth; it would become a lax world, thought the conservative instructor, if the young were permitted to follow the line of least resistance, which is that of the greatest interest. Work that was a pleasurable activity was sacrificed during the plastic years to a mechanical discipline that often failed because the educator did not comprehend the origin and limitation of the philosophy of development through pain. Character is made by obsta...

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