A Professor at Large

A Professor at Large

A Professor at Large

A Professor at Large

Excerpt

The one immutable problem that has always confronted mankind, whether he was organized into aboriginal tribes like the Australian bushmen or into complicated societies like the United States, is: "How much freedom should be allowed the individual and how much control should be retained by the social whole?" Each people of the past and of the present has had a solution of this problem, but the extremes of difference in the solutions are to be found in the East and the West. In the later nineteenth century the idea of the unity of society was tenaciously held in the Far East, where the individual was suppressed because his destiny was controlled by some force external to himself, such as ancestor worship in China or the caste system in India. Society in the East, therefore, was conservative. The farther one moved westward, the more the individual was exalted and the more progressive society became. There was more individualism in Russia than in India, more in Germany than in Russia, more in England than in Germany, and most of all in the United States. The recent development of totalitarianism in Europe is a throwback, a retrogression.

There are two factors in the education of the individual: namely, heredity and environment. The Nazis emphasize heredity and make much of blood and race; the democracies emphasize environment. We know almost nothing with certainty about the part heredity plays; we know a great deal about the part environment plays. When the term "education" is mentioned the mind almost instinctively thinks of . . .

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