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interfere with each other; the habit of subjecting them all to
' one supreme rule can alone enable the mind to act with undivided force in one direction, and in search of one end. Any predominant passion, whether good or evil, will indeed produce this harmony for a time, but the effect must necessarily be as transient as the object which excites the passion. The only legitimate sovereignty is that of conscience ; passion conquers its rival forces for a time, conscience alone maintains the har. monious action of all the powers through life.*
In many cases, however, it is necessary to act when this union of the mind is -at first at least - impossible, either from the apparent equal weight of argument for and against the course we meditate, or from the nature and strength of the feelings opposed to the calm conclusions of the judgment. These are the cases which, as we have said elsewhere, complicate in so painful a manner the considerations of duty ; but the habit of acting under the supreme guidance of conscience will secure us at least that degree of inward peace which arises from the sense of having earnestly striven to do what was right, leaving the issue to Him who overrules actions and consequences to the ends of his unerring providence.
Without such decision of character as this, there may be good impulses, energetic attempts, and amiable conduct, but there will be no steady and consistent virtue.
* The cases of a ruling passion maintaining its dominion to the last hour of life, are apparent exceptions ; but in them unity of purpose is produced at the expense of the highest faculties of the mind. Conscience is crushed, that its sway may be usurped by the tyrant passion, and reason is silenced, except as it indicates the means to attain the chosen aim.
EDUCATION directed to the intellect comprehends study, or the means of acquiring knowledge, — and the formation of mental habits, or the discipline of the intellectual faculties, whereby they are rendered fit and ready instruments of the will. The latter is mental training, properly so called ; since it has for its direct object the development and perfection of the mind itself, without reference to any ulterior aim, to any of the special objects for which intellectual power is required.
This, next to moral training, or rather in inseparable connection with it, should be the principal aim of early education. The pliancy of the youthful mind, its unaptness for severe study, and its exemption from the demands of active life, combine to mark it as the period best fitted for the training of the powers which must afterwards be applied to special objects. The great mistake so often made, and which leads to the neg. lect of this important part of early training, lies in rot considering the real purpose of the knowledge imparted to the young, which, necessarily too limited in amount to be valued for itself, possesses worth in proportion only to the assistance it has given in fitting the mind for future labors. When information is wanted for some special practical object, the quickest and readiest mode of acquiring it is doubtless the best, and must be followed, regardless of other considerations; but, generally speaking, in early education no such necessity exists, and the
actual amount of knowledge gained is unimportant, compared with the other objects to be aimed at. If, then, by one method of teaching, a pupil could be instructed in a great variety of subjects, and taught a vast number of facts, or forms of language, without his reason being trained, or habits of thought and observation induced, - while another method should form those habits, but leave the mind comparatively barren of information, — the latter should unhesitatingly be preferred, although its less showy results would afford little gratification to the vanity of either pupil or teacher. The well-disciplined mind will easily turn to the acquisition of further knowledge ; but the head full to overflowing with the results of other men's investigations and labors may remain satisfied with this mere book learning, and never acquire the power or habit of thinking and reasoning for itself.
Obvious as this appears, it is too commonly overlooked, and mental training is confounded with mere instruction; while parents and teachers seem to take for granted that the latter will necessarily, and of itself, train and discipline the mind. Doubtless, it does so to a certain extent, by exercising some faculties, such as attention and memory ; but the system in which it is made the primary object leaves reason uncultivated, and allows imagination either to run wild, or to perish, according to disposition and circumstances. The consequences of this confusion are visible in the disproportion between the immense educational apparatus of the present day, and its actual results. The standard of general information is raised, but there is no corresponding increase of mental vigor, of sound judgment, or large and clear views ; for these result, not from the mere knowledge which has been trusted to the memory, but from those carefully trained habits of mind which strengthen and assist the exercise of reason, and make thought at once vigorous and clear.
In pursuing any particular branch of knowledge, our object is special and limited, and the effect of our pursuit upon the mind is of the same partial character ; but the influence of the proper discipline of the mental faculties has no limit but the
capacity and duration of the mind itself; it gives us the mastery of an admirable instrument, which we may afterwards apply to any object within the sphere of human thought or action. To it belongs, also, all the best influence of intellectual culture ; for it is not proficiency in this or that branch of knowledge which strengthens the mind in the performance of duty, refines its moral sensibilities, or adds weight to moral influence ; but the enlightened and liberal views, the sober cast of thought, the accuracy of judgment, making decision at once prompt and safe, which can be obtained only by mental discipline.
Habit is no less powerful an auxiliary in mental, than in moral culture. When we have trained certain powers of the intellect to habitual exercise, they act, as it were, spontaneously, and in bringing them afterwards to bear on any special point, we have to contend with no difficulties but those which belong to the subject itself; we are free from all those hindrances which arise from ignorance of the means of carrying on our labor, or inaptitude in using those means. The advantage is the same as that which a workman, who is complete master of his tools, enjoys over one who is unaccustomed to their use, and whose awkwardness in handling them doubles the difficulty of his task. An inquiry, therefore, into what mental habits it is most necessary to train, and into the means of training them, must precede any consideration of special studies or pursuits.
Among these means, study undoubtedly holds a prominent place, but its efficiency depends on the active intention in the mind of making it subservient to the purposes of mental disci. pline. This is the inward practical principle, without which, as we have seen,* the enforced observance of certain rules, or performance of certain acts, will fail in producing a habit. In the study of mathematics, for instance, which tends perhaps more than any other to cultivate and strengthen the reason, unless this object has been kept principally in view, great acuteness in scientific investigation may be attained, without bringing any proportional gain in general power of reasoning, or strength of judgment. Habit 'will operate in respect to the point on which it has been cultivated, but if the mind be turned in another direction, the power will fail. It is, in short, the object or the motive for which we study, more than the study itself, which principally affects the mind. Were it otherwise, we might confidently expect all mathematicians and lawyers to be men of acute discrimination and sound judgment; we should look for accuracy, patience, largeness of views, and earnest love of truth, from all men of science; for fortitude, decision, and self-command, from all who have been trained amid the toil and dangers of a military career.
* Chap. II., on Habit.
How far such expectations are actually realized we need not say.
Bearing, then, in mind the great principle on which the foundation of habits depends, we clearly see in what relation intellectual pursuits stand to mental training, and the influence of the one upon the other. When our object is to form certain mental habits, our studies must be chosen with exclusive reference to their aptness for such a purpose ; and the amount of information gained must be considered as subordinate in importance to the state of the mind while studying, and to the extent and direction of its activity after the hours of study are over ; to the habitual tendencies, in short, which our pursuits foster and strengthen.
As reason is the highest faculty of the intellect, holding the same preëminent position in the intellectual as conscience in the moral nature, so those habits which tend to strengthen the power of reasoning, to facilitate its exercise, and correct its results, are of the first importance in mental discipline. Constant ref. erence to this paramount object will give method to our endeavors, and, by preventing the exclusive cultivation of one faculty at the expense of another, will preserve that harmony and proportion of the mind which are essential to its full development. It is in order to point out the general method by which this result may be attained, not with the view of presenting any thing like an analysis of the mental powers, that we shall now briefly examine those among our faculties, by the methodical