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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION OF THE SENSES                  189

observers of their environment because they must utilize to the-
utmost extent all its riches.

Today, art also is based, as in Greek times, on the observa-
tion of truth. The exact sciences progress directly through
observation; all discoveries and the applications of them which
for a century have been the means of transforming the world in
which we move were arrived at by this very route. We ought,
therefore, to prepare the new generations for this attitude of mind
which is rendered necessary as a form of modern civil life and as
the indispensable means for continuing efficiently the work of
human progress.

We see as the result of observation the discoveries of the
Rontgen rays, the Hertzian waves, the vibrations of radium,
and similar great applications from the Marconi telegraph^
Meanwhile, in no epoch to such a degree as in ours, has thought,
based upon positive research, thrown so much light on philo-
sophical speculations and on spiritual subjects. The theories of
matter themselves, after the discovery of radium, have led on to
metaphysical ideas.

So it might be said that by training the power of observation
we have also prepared ways leading to spiritual discoveries.

The education of the senses, by producing keen observers, not
only fulfils a generic office of adaptation to the present epoch of
civilization* but also prepares directly for practical life.

Up till now, I consider we have been holding very imperfect
views about what is necessary for practical life. We have always
started off with ideas and followed up with practical work. The-
educational method has always been to teach intellectually, and
then proceed to action* Generally speaking, in teaching, we speak
of the object which interests its, and try to induce the pupil, when
he has understood, to carry out a piece of work connected with
that object. Very often the child who has grasped the idea finds
enormous difficulty in carrying out the work which has been
assigned to him, because there is lacking in his education a factor
of prime importance--the training of the senses.