"CHILDREN achieve good by fear of punishment" thus psychologizes a writer of editorials in a far advanced paper of a far western, progressive settlement, "or," he goes on philosophizing, "good is thrust upon them by their teachers, their parents, and the policeman on the beat. It is the natural instinct of the human animal to lie and to steal. Why do we spank them as soon as they are weaned?" "Why is it" mused Fagin, the educator of Oliver Twist, "why is it that children enjoy picking pockets, and old folks are fond of stolen goods?" This birch pedagogy the learned editor regards as good Biology. Then the wise Solomon is cited with his saying: "He that spareth the rod hateth his son." With his sense of western chivalry the editor thinks that girls are better, but he does not say what he would do with the Solomon’s rod in the case of the fair sex. He concludes, however, his educational wisdom which for some reason or other he prefers to dub as biological, whatever he may mean by it, by saying that: "We are not thoroughly convinced that the elimination of the rod as a correctional instrument has served to make the world better or wiser." I am not quite sure that this scientific editor expressed the opinion of all his western colleagues, but it shows what a far advanced western editor may offer to his reader as the most advanced biological thought by drawing on the good common sense of Mother Goose and on the proverbial wisdom of King Solomon for the pedagogic edification of his western audience.
This wisdom of viewing the child as a little brute and training it by fear and force is not confined to editors, but is also maintained by certain types of educators. "Obedience and discipline are the mainstay of the family and the school," told me a well known educator, a principal of a normal school. "I control my children with kindness, if possible, and if needs be, by force and punishments." The child is regarded as a sort of a little beast, a kind of young ape, at best a little savage. The child, accordingly, is trained to act not by the light of reason, but by the command of superior force. The child is ruled by fear. Our young generation is trained by fear into discipline and obedience. We thus suppress the natural genius and originality of the child, we favor and raise mediocrity, and cultivate the philistine, the product of education, ruled by rod, not by thought.
As a protection against fear the child, in self defense becomes secretive, evasive of truth, and cowardly of action. These traits of character, acquired in early childhood, due to training by rod, fist, intimidation, and fear, become often ingrained in the very soul of the child to last him his life long. Seared by the rod, the scourge and the fist the child often emerges a moral and intellectual cripple. Cowered and terrorized by the awakening and cultivation of the most powerful of impulses, the impulse of self-preservation and the most uncontrollable of all instincts, the fear instinct, the child can never fully rid himself of all the distressing, morbid consequences. Fear will stay with him and dog his steps all his life long.
As I have pointed out in my works on abnormal mental life, fear is the most fundamental of animal instincts; it is the companion of the most primitive impulse of self-preservation, and together they form the source of what is known as psychopathic maladies, or functional mental diseases, almost infinite in the variety of their manifestations, often extremely virulent in their mental disintegration.
Once this fear instinct and its companion self-preservation are aroused morbid mental life grows like an avalanche in its downward course. In later life this impulse of self-preservation and fear instinct become manifested in various ways, giving rise to the most distressing nervous and mental symptoms. In my medical practice, as specialist of nervous and mental diseases, I have again and again traced the worst forms of functional maladies to the impulse of self-preservation and fear instinct, aroused by education and unfortunate experiences in the early life of the patient.
Training by fear, submission, and obedience inhibits the development of the rational controlling element of the mind, brings forth the lower reflex automatic, subconscious side of mental life, heightens the suggestibility, opening wide the door to all kinds of nervous and mental germs, weakening the mental and moral constitution of man, tormenting him with the great array of obsessions, characteristic of psychopathic diseases in which the suffering of the patient is often greater than that experienced in many diseases of a purely organic nature. Man becomes unreasonable, capricious, driven as he is by the all-powerful impulse of self-preservation and by the furies of the fear instinct. The centripetal force of self-preservation with its centrifugal fear-instinct make the victim revolve in the same recurring orbit of automatism round his own ego as a centre of attraction. Being pitilessly driven by the furies of his fears, he is always hiding and running from life, he is afraid to act openly, fairly and squarely. He always dodges the issue, always in a state of indecision, lacking self-confidence, independence, self determination, and self control. Double dealing, deception, lying, hypocrisy, and an illimitable selfishness form the main traits of his character, the very traits which the wise western editor and educator placed in the souls of the children known to him. The child is by some people, even with a literary turn of mind and having an influence on the community, regarded as a little brute, a little savage, born to deception, to stealing, to crime and vice. No wonder with such views of the child's nature, the little ones are advised to be treated by punishments, by corrections, by the rod, the whip, and the stick, generally by fear and by violence, a training unfit even for dogs. And still when we turn to the really great thinkers of humanity, we find that the child is considered as free from vice, crime, and sin, that perversions, delinquencies, and vices are impressed on the young by family, companions, and society of adults. From Plato and Aristotle to Montaigne, Locke, Rousseau and Tolstoy the same or similar verdict is given as to the nature and character of the young.
"We should not permit" says Plato, "the artists of crafts (note: such as 'our modern movies) to impress signs of an evil nature, of dissoluteness, meanness, and ungracefulness, so that our young generation may not be reared amongst images of vice, as upon unwholesome pastures, culling much every day by little and little from many places, and feeding upon it until they insensibly accumulate a large mass of evil in their souls. We ought to have artists of another stamp who by the power of their genius can trace out the nature of the fair and the graceful, that our young generation dwelling as it were in a healthy region, may drink in good from every quarter, whence any emanation from noble works may strike upon their eye or upon their ear, like a gale wafting health from salubrious lands, and from their early childhood bring them into love and harmony with true beauty of reason. We should give the children an education in which rhythm and harmony may sink most deeply into their soul." "Children," tells us Aristotle, "should not be brought in touch with evil, or with anything that may suggest vice and hatred." From their infancy the young should be surrounded by an environment of grace, harmony, and beauty, by the good, the true, and the beautiful. Education by force, punishment, repression, rod, whip, and knout will only train a generation of slaves.
Plato insists that "you must train the children to their studies in a playful manner, and without any air of constraint, with the further object of discerning more readily the natural bent of their characters." Montaigne with his deep insight into human passions and clear understanding of human life declares that vigor and liberty become fully extinct when minds become subjected to caprice authority and phantasies of others. According to this great critic of all dogmatism, education should be directed by a sweet-severe mildness. Children should be treated not by fear and cruelty, but with kindness and gentleness. Nothing so much degrades and bastardises a young nature as violence and compulsion. He seems to lose his patience and genial nature when he comes to write of the school. "The school is a very prison of captivated youth," a prison where misdeeds are punished before they are committed. Even old Quintillian was not slow in noticing the fact that imperious authority compulsion, and punishments bring many dangerous consequences. Helpless, defenseless as the child is it should not be treated by a stern and frowning countenance and with hands full of rods. "I would do" says Montaigne "as the philosopher Speusippus did who caused the statues of Gladness and Joy, of Flora and of the Graces to be set up round about his school house," winding up with the following epigrammatic saying: "Where their profit lies there should also he their recreation!" Montaigne's education was of the precocious type in which love was the predominant feature. "The chief thing my father required of those into whose charge he had committed me was a sort of well conditioned mildness and ease of disposition. For amongst other things he has specially been persuaded to make me taste and apprehend the fruits of duty and science by an unforced kind of will, and of my own choice; and without compulsion or rigor to bring me up in all mildness and liberty." Latin being the literary language of that time, Montaigne could talk Latin before he could understand French. He was spoken to in Latin "before unloosening of my tongue, when being yet at nurse." "I entered college at the age of six. . . . My Latin was corrupted. . . . I graduated at the age of thirteen, and had read over the whole course of philosophy."
Locke tells us that "a slavish discipline makes a slavish temper. The child submits, and dissembles obedience, whilst the fear of the rod hangs over him. Beating them (children), and all other sorts of slavish and corporal punishments, are not the discipline fit to be used in the education of those we would have wise, good, and ingenuous men. . . . Playing and childish actions are to be left perfectly free and unrestrained. . . The right way to teach them (children) is to give them a liking and inclination to what you suppose to them to be learned, and what will engage their industry and application. Children being restrained by their parents only in vicious things (which in their tender years are only a few) things, a look or a nod only ought to correct; or, if words are sometimes to be used, they ought to be grave kind and sober, representing the ill or unbecomingness of the faults, rather than a hasty chiding of the child for it.
If we turn to Tolstoy, the great artist and reader of the human heart, we find this attitude, as to the freedom of children from vice and crime, still more emphasized. "There are two important rules in education" writes Tolstoy. "(1) Live well according to the highest moral ideal. (2) Perfect yourself continually, and conceal nothing from your children, especially your faults, mistakes, and shortcomings. Children are much more sensitive morally than are adults. Without saying or even being directly conscious of it children not only see the faults of their parents, but even the worst of all faults, their hypocrisy. . . . The education of children is self-perfection." Tolstoy is strongly opposed to the way of education as given by the western editor, by trainer and policeman in public school and police court. Such sources are contaminated. Disease, corruption, and degradation alone can result. "Terrible" he says "is the corruption of the mind which the (educating) authorities subject the children during the course of education. . . . Public education, such as we have at present, is directly and artfully organized for the moral corruption of children. Make all sacrifices to keep children away from school." Finally he makes the significant statement, true and beautiful as to its meaning: "If I had to choose,—to people the earth with saints as I am at all able to imagine, but with no children, or with such people (full of imperfection) as we have at present, but with constant coming of new generations of children,—I would choose the latter."
He who is regarded as the greatest of teachers of humanity in admonishing his disciples and apostles held out the child as the ideal of human greatness. "And there arose a dispute among them which of them should be the greatest." When Jesus saw the thought of their heart, he took a little child, and set him by his side, and said unto them: "Whosoever shall receive this little child in my name receiveth me." (Luke 9, 46). "And they brought him little children that he should touch them: and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unto them, Suffer little children to come unto me; forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. And he took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them." (Mark 10, 13). This deep, sympathetic insight into the child's nature and genius, this profound love of the child, touching as it is in its simplicity and grandeur will ever remain at the very basis. I of all true human education. Put the little one in front of you, take him tenderly in your arms, give him your heart's blessings, surround him with the halo of love, all this will ever go to form the eternal image of the greatest of teachers of humanity.
One important point claims our attention in the early education of children. We should immunize our children against mental microbes, against superstitions and prejudices, against all forms of harmful beliefs, as we vaccinate our babies against small-pox. The cultivation of critical judgment and the knowledge of good and evil form the powerful constituents for the neutralization of virulent toxins, produced by mental microbes.
We should not at the same time neglect proper conditions of mental hygiene or mental sanitation. We should not people the child's mind with ghastly and ghostly stories, with uncritical beliefs in the supernatural, and with article of creed which under the cloak of love are charged with arrogance, intolerance, and hatred. We must guard the child against all evil fears, force, violence, superstitions, prejudices, and credulity. Plato in his immortal dialogues refers to this point in early education: "What then is the education to be? Perhaps we could hardly find a better one than that which the experience of the past has already discovered, which consists, I believe, in gymnastic for the body, and art for the mind. And shall we not begin with the art, the education of the mind, rather than with the education of the body? Undoubtedly we shall.—Under art or music we shall include narratives, or not?—Yes, we shall.—And of narratives there are two kinds, the true and the false?—Yes. And must we instruct our pupils in both, but in the false narrative first?—I do not understand what you mean," Adeimantus, his interlocutor replies.—"Do you not understand that we begin with children by telling them fables? And these, I suppose', to speak generally, are false, though they may contain some truths; and we employ such fables in the treatment and education of children at an earlier period than gymnastic exercises.—True.—That is what I meant when I said that art or music ought to be taken up before gymnastic.—You are right,—Then you are aware that in every work the beginning is the most important part, especially in dealing with anything young and tender? For that is the time when any impression which one may desire to communicate is most readily stamped and taken—Precisely so.—Shall we then permit our children without scruple to hear any fables composed by any authors indiscriminately and so to receive into their minds opinions generally the reverse of those which, when they are grown up to manhood, we shall think they ought to entertain?"
Aristotle follows his great teacher Plato by laying down the fundamental rule of education: "We should be careful what tales or stories the children hear. For the sports of children are designed to prepare the way for the business of later life." "From an earliest age all that is mean and low should be banished from their sight and hearing. . . . No image or picture representing unseemly action should offend the eyes of the young."
We should counteract the baneful influences of the pathogenic, pestiferous mental microbes which now infest our social air, since the child, not having yet formed the antitoxin of critical judgment and knowledge of good and evil, has not the power of resisting mental infection, and is thus highly susceptible to mental contagion, on account of his extreme suggestibility. The cultivation of credulity, the absence of critical judgment and the lack of recognition of good and evil, with consequent increase of suggestibility make man an easy prey to all kinds of social delusions, mental epidemics, religious crazes, financial manias, patriotic wars, enthusiastic parades, resulting in slaughter and plagues which have been the baleful pests of aggregate humanity in all ages, and more specially in our times when the wave of social suggestibility of the worst type spreads like wild fire throughout the world. As long as the child will be trained rot by love, but by fear, so long will humanity live not by justice, but by force. As long as the child will be ruled by the educator's threat and by the father's rod, so long will mankind be dominated by the policeman's club, by fear of jail, and by panic of invasion by armies and navies.
There are in the United States about half a million insane, while the victims of psychopathic, mental maladies may be counted by millions. Now that the war is over, there will come thousands upon thousands of nervous and mental wrecks, under the name of shell shock or war shock, the unfortunate results of nervous exhaustion and fear shock produced by the war. Even before the war fully half the number of patients treated by the general practitioner were psychopathic in character. After this terrible war the increase of psychopathic cases will be enormous. Insanity can be alleviated,—but much, if not all, of that psychopathic misery known as functional, mental diseases is entirely preventable. For it is the result of our pitiful, wretched, brain-starving, mind-crippling, terrifying and terrorizing system of education.
In my medical work in nervous and mental diseases I have become impressed with the fact that the impulse of self-preservation, accompanied by its satellite, the fear instinct, plays a prominent role in the causation of psychopathic diseases. At the very outbreak of the war I predicted the occurrence of many cases of psychopathic diseases, known under the term of shell-shock or war-shock, which are sure to develop under the strenuous conditions and dangerous as well as poisonous environment full of favorable stimuli for the awakening of the impulse of self-preservation and its associated fear instinct. To quote from my work on "The Causation and Treatment of Psychopathic Diseases" "In the present fearful war of European nations (this was written before United States entered the war) the pressure of invasion by the Teutons and their allies, a war unparalleled in the history of humanity for its extensive brutal destructiveness, a war in which all the inventions of ages are made subservient to the passions of greed, hatred, and ferocity, having one purpose the extermination of man, a war surpassing all battles waged by man, in such a calamitous slaughter of nations, the fear instinct comes to the foreground, claiming its victims, working havoc, among the frenzied, struggling armed masses and terrified, stricken populations."
In my clinical study of numbers of cases under my medical care I have become convinced of the preponderant influence of the impulse of self preservation and fear instinct in early childhood in the causation of psychopathic nervous and mental maladies. Most, in fact we may say all, of functional, nervous, mental diseases have their origin in early childhood. An early, suggestible mental life brought about by intimidation, by a persistent system of inhibitions, by overstimulation of the impulse of self-preservation and its associated fear instinct in early childhood are among the important factors of psychopathic diseases in later life. In my work "The Psychology of Suggestion" I proved by a series of experiments that the conditions of suggestibility are: Fixation of the Attention, Monotony, Limitation of Voluntary Movements, Limitation of the Field of Consciousness, Inhibition. I have shown that these conditions are favorable to a disaggregation of consciousness. I have also pointed out that a disaggregation of consciousness with an inhibition of the controlling, waking consciousness is one of the important conditions in the causation of subconscious states with their abnormal suggestibility. In other words, the inhibition of the personal self, or even the limitation of the personal self, helps the formation of dissociations which constitute the soil of all psychopathic diseases. When the person, on account of a narrow training and a limiting system of education, based on force and fear in early childhood, be-comes narrowed down in his range' of knowledge' and comprehension, when his superstitions and prejudices in mysterious agencies, such as transmission of telepathic "disease and death thoughts" and fears of various sorts of a spiritualistic, or Christian Science beliefs, and other religious faiths of the mystical types are impressed on uncritical and undeveloped minds, the predisposition to mental disaggregation and consequent psychopathic diseases becomes strongly pronounced. With the limitation and inhibition of the critical personal self, with the imitation and narrowness of personal life interests, there goes an increase of the sense of the unknown and the mysterious, often cultivated by religions based on impressive mysteries and superstitions with the baneful consequences of the development of the impulse of self-preservation and the fear instinct,—the cause of psychopathic diseases.
An uncultivated personality with a limited mental horizon, with a narrow range of interests, a personality sensitive to fear inhibitions, is a fit subject to all forms of obsessions. The fear instinct, fostered by mysteries, frights, scares, dread of sickness, dread of the moral mind and its shadows and fear of thought-transmission of deadly mortal ghosts of ideas, entertained by superstitious sects known by the pompous name of Christian Scientists, is, a fundamental factor in the causation of abnormal mental states termed psychopathic. Fear impressed by moral and religious injunctions and duties by means of physical Punishment, or by constant scares of punishment to come in this world or in another world, the enforcement of social taboos with the consequent dread of failure, degradation, and loss of character,—all go towards the cultivation of the impulse of self-preservation and fear instinct which in later life form the soil of functional psychosis with all its baneful effects and morbid symptoms. Thus a psychopathic patient writes in his account: "I dwell on my childish acts, because of religious training, because of the superstitions charged with religious and pseudo-moral emotions."
Perhaps a few concrete cases will bring out more vividly the fact of the pernicious effect of early education by means of force and fear. I have studied for years the many patients who have come under my medical care and treatment A close examination into the history of development of the trouble invariably brings one to the same sources of mental disease: Inhibition of the critical self in early childhood by means of force and fear, the overgrowth of the on critical suggestible subconscious self with an abnormal hypertrophy of the impulse of self-preservation with its allied fear instinct.
As illustrations I give a few extracts from the many cases studied and treated by me:
A patient of mine, a professor in mathematical physics, a man of the highest achievements in this branch of science, writes : "I have always had a great fear of the supernatural when left alone. I am never afraid of robbers when alone at home, or animals when alone in the woods, but I am mortally afraid of the sudden appearance of some mysterious unknown, or of some departed, as, for instance, the ghost of one of my parents. This was always so and is so todav perhaps because I was very much alive to the situation at the time of my mother's death (my age eight) and of my father's death (my age eleven)."
A patient of mine, a physician, suffering from acute religious melancholic depression writes in his notes to me: "It is difficult to place the beginning of my abnormal fear. It certainly originated from doctrines of hell which I heard in my childhood, particularly from a rather ignorant woman who taught Sunday school. My early religious thought was chiefly concerned with the direful eternity of torture that might be awaiting me, if I was not good enough to be saved."
Another patient of mine, a bishop's wife, suffered from insomnia from nightmares, from panophobia, or general fear, dread of the unknown, from clausterophobia, fear of remaining alone, fear of darkness, and numerous other fears and insistent ideas. All these morbid conditions were traced by me to impressions of early childhood. When at the age of five, the patient was suddenly confronted by an insane woman suffering from attacks of maniacal excitement. The child was greatly frightened. Since that time she became obsessed with the fear of insanity. When the patient gave birth to her first child, she was afraid that she and the child would become insane. Many a time she had the feeling that they were already insane. Thus the fear of insanity is traced to an experience of early childhood, an experience which, having become subconscious, has been manifesting itself persistently in the subconscious.
The patient's parents were deeply religious of the good old puritanic type. The child was brought up not only in the fear of God, but also in the fear of the devil. Being sensitive and imaginative, the devils of the Gospel were to her stern realities, all the more so as the family believed in them as Gospel truth, and she was often threatened into good behaviour by interposition of the action of some diabolical agencies which punish little girls for not being good. The patient was brought up on brimstone and pitch from the bottomless pt for sinners and unbelievers. Every Sunday she was taken to church to hear a preacher who used to give her the horrors by his vivid descriptions of the tortures of sinners in the depths of hell. She was in fear and anguish over the unsolved question: "Do little sinners―girls go to hell?" Various states of fear dogged her steps all her life long. Unless specially treated fears acquired in childhood last throughout life.
I call your attention to a short account of a patient of mine, a prominent member of the Christian Science church. Among other troubles the patient was obsessed with a fear that her husband, also a Christian Scientist who also came under my medical care, had committed some heinous crime the character of which she could not fathom. Christian Science could not cure them of that mortal sin, and they came to me for relief. "Even if my husband" she told me "should confess to me the most awful of crimes, I would still suspect him of worse ones." A letter from the patient may best show her state of mind. "There is nothing new to tell you. It is the same old, pitiful story, only varied a little from day to day. I have no rest, not a moment's peace of mind I lie awake for hours at night, some-times the whole night; my days are full of anguish and unrest. . . . I am truly a crushed and heartbroken woman, and would almost be willing to give up the struggle, were it not for my dear little children "who are dependent on me." Now an examination of the case disclosed the fact of training by fear in the early childhood of the patient's life. The patient had in early life a severe religious training,—an intense faith in mysterious agencies was cultivated in her by the family which had been faithful adherents of Christian Science for years. She herself became one of the active members of the church. The patient was specially imbued with the noxious superstitious belief, current among Christian Scientists,—the belief in telepathic influences. She had implicit faith in the transmission of evil influences by thought transference, a sort of mental wireless telegraphy which now forms the delusion not only of Christian Scientists, but also of many unbalanced psychopaths, insane and dementeds in asylums. She is firmly convinced in the presence of telepathic powers of "death-thoughts" sent by some wicked members of the Christian Science Church. She in fact even knows the lady, a Christian Science reader, a lady of unusual telepathic powers, who has been sending to her those evil telepathic influences. Fortunately that malicious lady, the reader of "Science and Health with a Key to Scripture," died, and my patient felt much relieved.
I wish to call your attention to another case investigated and treated by me with the co-operation of Dr. Morton Prince. The patient, a Russian, suffered from epileptiform attacks on the right side of the body. The whole right side was involved in the attack of spasms; the side was anaesthetic and analgesic,—the patient did not respond to touch and pain sensations on that side. The patient left Russia on account of religious persecution. Since childhood he lived in an atmosphere of fear and violence. A close examination revealed the history of the case which can be given here but in a few words. The full account of it was published in a medical journal. When about the age of sixteen the patient attended a ball in his native town. After midnight he was sent out to look for-a ring lost by him on the way to the ball. The young fellow was superstitious in the extreme. His early education was quite neglected,―he could neither write nor read,―he had a firm belief in sprites, spirits, and ghosts. On his way he had to pass a cemetery. He became frightened―it seemed to him that somebody was after him. He fell down, and became unconscious from intense fear. In this unconscious state he was picked up and brought home. His present epileptiform attacks date from that incident. He suffered from major attacks reproducing the accident at the same date and at the same hour when the incident occurred. The attacks, in short, reproduce the original accident as well as the condition of fear, convulsions, struggles, unconsciousness with resulting in anaesthesia on the same side on which he fell in his panic of ghosts coming to attack him from their graves in the cemetery.
Here is another case: A patient of mine, a young lady suffered from all sorts of nervous troubles and mental depression. The history of the case may be given in the following outline: As a child the patient was sensitive and nervous. She was brought up in fear, and was extremely impressionable. She liked to listen with trepidation to stories of spirits, goblins, and ghosts, and was in mortal fear of evil agencies and diabolical influences. She did not fare any better in her sleep, since she suffered from frightful dreams and nightmares, developed in her by the general state of apprehension. The patient passed her childhood in continuous fear of unknown and mysterious influences, surrounding her on all sides. Later on the fears apparently lapsed, but they really did not disappear―they became subconscious. It was these subconscious fears of early childhood that were manifested in the stress and worries of fully developed womanhood as states of anxiety of some mysterious impending evil,―the basis of her nervous condition.
I cite here a few extracts from the rich variety of autobiographical notes, submitted to me by my patients in the course of my investigation and treatment. "The earliest recollection of my fear that I have" writes a patient suffering from a severe mental trouble "goes back to my early childhood. I heard that wicked people would be judged after death and irrevocably sentenced to eternal torture in fire, and the idea raised a feeling of the most intense horror in my mind, lest I should not come up to the necessary standard in that dread day of judgment. I used to resolve to be good, particularly on reflection after going to bed, that I would be better so as to escape. However, the fear was rather vague.
When I got to be about eleven or twelve years old the fear got to be concrete and more constant. Then I feared that some remark I had previously made about God might have been blasphemy against the Holy Ghost which the Bible says is not pardonable in this and the next world. . . . By the time I was sixteen I had become very much demoralized, afraid of facing my fear. I went all to pieces with fear.
Another patient of mine, an engineer of ability, gives the following account: "You will remember I told you that my step-father was a liquor-dealer. Throughout the time he was in business we either lived over the bar-room or else lived in the place where the liquor was sold. My step-father was a heavy drinker, a man of violent nature, and decidedly pugnacious. As a child I have been beaten, terrorized by my step-father, and scared to death by drunken brawls. Many a night have I been dragged out of bed by my mother who would flee with me to neighboring house for safety. Until I was seventeen years old I lived in continuous terror of something going to happen. If my step-father was arrested by the police, our home would be the scene of turmoil. One night he came home all covered with blood as the result of a fight with thugs. Another time he left home with a pistol for some quarreling drunks, and returned shot through the hand. My step-father has been subject to nightmares nearly all his life. He would cry and moan, unable to move, until someone would shake him out of it. He was terribly afraid of them. I remember he would say that he would die in one of the attacks. I used to be left alone with him quite frequently, and I stood in constant fear of his dying. If he fell asleep (as he frequently did in the day-time) I would either wake him or watch his respirations, to see if he was alive. At other times I have been awakened in the night by his cries, and would assist my mother in bringing him to consciousness. It was during one of these attacks that I became aware of my heart palpitating, and whenever he had such a spell, I would be in a state of fear and excitement for some time after. He would have these nightmares nearly every night, and sometimes four or five times in one night. I began to have attacks of dizziness in the streets, and finally, one day, all the symptoms and fears of the attack came on in school. From that time on I have watched my respiration, suffered from dizziness, from depression, and sadness."
In the autobiographic notes of another patient, a physician of high standing in his profession, the account of the history begins with the following significant statement: "I was bred in fear from my childhood. My training and education were essentially religious, of an authoritative and terrorizing character." Other patients preface similarly their autobiographic accounts of the history of their troubles with words no less unmistakable as to the significance which the oppressive fear system of education played in the misery, suffering, and ruin of their life. Thus one patient opos her autobiographic account with a statement which in my experience is fairly characteristic of thousands of other cases, in fact, it may be regarded as typical of all psychopathic afflictions: "I am a married woman of fifty-two. All my life I have been imprisoned in the dungeon-keep of fear. Fear paralyzes me in every effort . . . In childhood everything cowered me . . . I was in agony of fear." . . . She concludes with the following: "In my childhood hell fire was preached . . . I was bred in fear, and self-destruction resulted."
The great Italian physiologist, Mosso, agrees with the dicta of the greatest thinkers on the subject of child education, from Plato and Aristotle to our own times. "Every ugly thing," says Mosso, "told to the child, every shock, every fright given him, will remain like minute splinters in the flesh, to torture him all his life long."
If we wish to have a strong, healthy, happy race of men, we should lay a good foundation in the education of early childhood. We should avoid all means of brutal, slavish training which cripple man's individuality, freedom, and happiness. We should not use violence and fear. We should be careful to remove from the children all that is brutal, ugly, vicious, and fearsome. We should surround our young with the graceful, the true, the beautiful, the good, the kind, the lovely, and the loving.
Permit me again to trespass upon your patience by citing the remarks on education made by the great Stagirite, the master of human thought:
"Education of man should develop the best in man. Happiness is assumed to be the aim men strive after. Happiness, however, is virtuous activity. The active life is the best, both for society and the individual. That society is best in which every man is best, whoever he is, and can act for the best, and live happily (Observe that the modern ideal of training for efficiency of production in quality and quantity is not favored by the great thinker). Happiness is activity, and the actions of the wise and the just (not activity for production of marketable goods) are the realization of what is noble. Not that a life of action must necessarily have a relation to other men, as some persons think, nor are those ideas only to be regarded as practical which are pursued for the sake of practical results, but much more the thoughts and contemplation which are free, independent, and complete in themselves. To man the life according to intellect is the most pleasant, intellect constituting the special nature of man. Such a life is the most happy. The wise man, the man who rules himself, is the happiest man:
"Happiness is self-rule. Man
should be educated not for business, but for leisure. It is peculiarly
disgraceful to have such a poor-education as to manifest excellent qualities in
work, but in the enjoyment of leisure to be no better than a slave. It is not
the nature of free men to be always seeking after the useful. Education and
study should be with a view of the enjoyment of leisure. A state is not a
community of living beings only (not for the sake of business, occupation, and
exchange of products), but it is a community of equals, aiming at the best life
possible. In a good harmonious education Nature, Habit, and Reason must be in
harmony. Now in men Reason and Mind are the end to which nature strives, so that
the education of the citizen should be with a view to that end, namely the
cultivation of Reason and Mind.