Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION OF THE SENSES                   193

the world, not practical men. And when, wishing to provide edu-
cation for the practical part of life, we confine ourselves to
practising actions, we neglect the fundamental part of practical
education, that which places man in direct contact with the external
world. And so professional work is preparing a man to utilize
his surroundings. He must then, of necessity, fill up the great gap
in his education, by beginning again, now when his education is
completed, the training of the senses necessary to put himself into
direct contact with the world around.

Aesthetic and moral education also is linked up closely with
that of the senses. By multiplying the sensations and developing
the capacity for assessing the smallest differential qualities among
stimuli, the sensibility is refined, and pleasure is intensified. Beauty
dwells in harmony, not in contrasts, and harmony means affinity,,
hence delicacy of the senses is required in order to perceive it-
The aesthetic harmony of nature and of art escapes those whose-
senses are dull. The world is then restricted and common place-
In the world around us there exist inexhaustible sources of aesthetic
enjoyment, in the midst of which men move about as if they
possessed no senses, or like the lower animals, seeking enjoyment,
in strong, sharp sensations, since only these come within their
powers of perception.

Very often wicked habits arise out of gross pleasures; it is a
fact that strong stimulants do not make more acute but rather
tend to weaken the senses, which, as a result, demand stronger
and stronger excitement.

From the point of view of physical education, the importance
of education of the senses is emphasized when we look at the
scheme of the reflex arc which represents in principle the functions
of the nervous system.

The senses are organs designed for the apprehension of images
from the external world necessary for the intelligence, as the hand
is the organ used to gain a knowledge of the material things
necessary for the body. But both the senses and the hand can
be perfected far beyond such simple offices, becoming more and