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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT                  111

provide them with points of support, as well as to protect the
centres of the nervous system and of the circulation. To them
belongs all activity relating to the external world and expression.
The small organs of the senses are almost the breathing pores by
which the mind takes in the images necessary for mental impres-
sions; but to the muscles is reserved the practical work of life.
All the. work of the will is carried out by these marvellous instru-
ments of movement. The function of the mind is just to possess
all these means of expression with which the idea is changed into
action; feeling is realized in work.

Whilst the muscles exercise an important a function and in
order to fulfil it carry out operations most complicated in their
co-ordination, at the same time they assist the circulation of the
blood in such a pronounced manner that they lend the greatest
assistance to the heart. This, however, happens as a material
consequence of that movement designed to further relationships.

It has happened, however, that man (especially the children)
has been condemned to an inactive existence, to carry on mental
work dissociated from the organs with which it ought to be bound
up, which include not only the brain but the organs of the senses
and the muscular system. Physical degeneration has been the
consequence of this, because even nutritional life forms part of the
individual unity. The educational consequences of this fact have
been demands on the ' active life,' that is to say the motor life,
principally with the object of reviving and intensifying the
* nutritive life/ in which languor accompanies physical weakness,
the alteration of the building-up processes and a predisposition to
diseases. This muscular system, to which belong the lofty func-
tions of the life of relationships, has therefore been degraded to
the mere task of helping the blood to travel more quickly on its
difficult and complicated journey; the organs for the expressions
of the mind will then form a kind of suction pump acting on the
liquid of the blood.

Such a reversal ,of functions certainly cannot restore man to
normal activity; to the error of apathy, there has been added a