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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

112              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

functional error. One mistake tries to remedy another mistake.
And the mental is always more damaged by it, even in its moral
expression. For acrobatism is a physical struggle. Games and
similar activities dissipate the higher qualities of man.

What does one do when a joint is dislocated and causes defor-
mities and pain and ailments of so many kinds? One puts the bone
back into its place to restore it to normal functioning. This being
done, all the consequences which were the effects of a single cause
disappear of themselves. The educational error then was to let
thought and fancy wander about vaguely allowing the senses to
remain unused and the muscles inert, whereas senses, nerve
centres and muscles constitute one whole. The correction needed
is to put into an active state the functioning of the organs connected
with the mental life. Mental work ought to be accompanied by
sensations of truth and beauty, which reanimate it, and by move-
ments which bring ideas into play and leave their traces in the
external world, where men ought to be giving each other mutual
help. Muscular exercises ought always to be at the service of the
mind, and should not abdicate in order to make themselves
servants of the material part of the nutritive life in what is called
the * physical life'.

For example, work is a physical exercise which is at the
service of the mind, and when man works, it helps indirectly to
make the blood circulate and the lungs to breathe.

The problem of health is also, therefore, a problem of work.

To work in the open air, when conditions of nutrition are
good, within the limits which the higher functions of the human
mind permit, is to live normally and to attain perfect health.

GYMNASTICS AND BEHAVIOUR

In the ordinary schools it is usual to call by the name ** gym-
nastics" a kind of collective muscular discipline the aim of which
is to carry out movements under commands given to a whole class.
This work in the gymnasium is often a first step towards acrobatics.