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Blending Of Instinct With Experience

( Originally Published 1916 )

THE unfolding of personality may be viewed from three main standpoints. We may speak, as we have been doing, of man's original tendencies, ways in which he is equipped by sheer nature to maintain adjustments to his environment that are essential to self-preservation. And we may see how on this instinctive life as its foundation all experience builds. A second standpoint from which we may view the unfolding of personality is that of the normal course of mental development. Experience itself has its laws. It is as though a " hidden knower " contributed the forms under which knowledge is received. A third standpoint from which it is necessary for completeness to view the growth of human personality is that of the interplay between intelligence and choice, thought and will. By the intelligence with which he chooses and the thoughtfulness of his willing man not only brings himself into touch with a larger and richer environment, but also conceives of progress, and in some measure adapts his environment to his own ideals. This last is the ethical aspect of the unfolding of personality. It views man as at once a co-operating member of the universe and lord of the opportunities it offers him. But this does not form part of the present study.

Here we are to take up the second of the two standpoints, that of mental process as simultaneously a growth of experience and an unfolding of the personal life.

The key-note of the study of mental process from this twofold point of view is struck in a passage in Mr. Edward Carpenter's " Art of Creation." " Why," he asks, " should 270 taps in a second on the drum of the ear call forth the fairy C # from the hidden chambers within i or so many billions on the retina the magical and beautiful colour of blue ? . . . Allowing all we may for the gradual building up of knowledge from outside and its gradual transformation, there remain nevertheless the forms under which we receive this knowledge—from the mere sensations of touch or taste or colour or sound, up through the moral and mental qualities, to such things as the sense of self or of duty, and far beyond —which in a vast and ascending scale the ego, or hidden knower, contributes as its share to the solution of the marvellous problem." There are three things concerned in the process the bodily organisation, the mental phenomena, and the hidden knower. Separable only in thought, they form a unity in every single conscious act or experience.

In this and the three following chapters we are to consider the mental phenomena—the mental process or laws of our experience—not in detail as they would be dealt with in a text-book on psychology pure and simple, but in their broader aspects as indicating lines of growth. And, first, in order to illustrate the blending in our progressive experience of all fresh factors with original instinctive tendencies one or two of the most general forms of instinctive tendency will be selected. For two reasons. In the first place, being general in character they will have many points or contact with our other experience ; and, in the second place, the behaviour to which they lead in association with these experiences will be very varied, depending, as it must, greatly upon the occasion. Such are curiosity; imitation; sympathy.

If instincts were to be strictly defined as specific modes of response to specific forms of stimulation, these would be too general in character to be included. But there is no need for such exactness of definition. Were we to adopt it we should need a name other than "instinctive " for these cases, and the gain would be less than the confusion.

(a) Curiosity is an attitude which the mind, in virtue of its own inmost nature and tendency, assumes towards some-thing which attracts attention but which is only partially comprehended. The exact organ of the body that is brought into activity or attitude of body adopted—for some bodily adjustment is, of course, inevitable—does not affect the main fact that what is mainly present is a spontaneous impulse to know more about the presented object. The body is at the mind's disposal in all such cases. So far as the mental attitude or movement itself is concerned, the mind's first movement towards the outer world would seem of necessity to be one of interrogation, i.e., essentially of curiosity. Judging is acknowledged to be distinctive of the act of knowing ; but before we can know or judge in the presence of the unknown the mind must ask. Curiosity or wanting to know is the mind's " push-off" towards knowledge. In it the " hidden knower " first comes to the fore.

But, in the majority of the instances in which it is present, curiosity has ceased to be a pure and unmixed interrogative. It works with ideas. And, as the impulse is by its very nature strongly charged with desire, the result of this blending of curiosity with experience is seen in the rapid growth of interests in the developing mind. Curiosity may still assert itself at times in its simple and more primitive form; but for the most part it is through the energy it imparts to our acquired interests that it adds to our zest for new experiences. Owing to the ever-animating presence within us of this instinctive tendency, the mind receives nothing passively. In quickened minds—and here the spiritual tragedy of a false education is most apparent in that it actually deadens rather than quickens ;—in quickened minds every touch of interest, whether attaching to fresh knowledge or to a new acquirement of skill, has about it as a fringing consciousness a reference to futurity. In growing minds, curiosity is marked "crescendo." Each new experience brings with it a fresh outlook. Interest means experience with spring in it. This, it may be answered, is but another way of pointing to the mind's essential vitality. True ; and all these elements that we are tracing, curiosity, desire, interest—indeed, the whole rich store of our mental tendencies, instinctive and acquired—are but strands in the thread of development and, so, of destiny, which experience is ever spinning. They have no meaning excepting as naming aspects of the one common tendency, the unfolding of personality.

The skilful teacher, therefore, does not forget that in the mind's quest for new truth of whatever kind, an instinctive element of curiosity is always present, even when largely overlaid by the incitements left by previous trains of thought and experience. Often he will not be content to rely solely upon the energy of acquired interests in the subject-matter of his teaching ;—the younger his pupils the less will he be willing to do so. He knows the value of curiosity as the colleague and ally of interest, and will often make a direct appeal to the learner's curiosity, even in its most primitive form.

(b) The discussion of imitation is made more difficult by the necessity we are under of using the word to cover widely differing attitudes and experiences. Waiving this difficulty for the moment, imitation is certainly one of the most valuable and fruitful methods which the mind adopts in learning life's lessons. The acquisition of many kinds of skill depends largely upon it. It readily cooperates with other sources of energy.

As to the various forms which imitation may assume, the purely instinctive element in all cases is to imitate behaviour actually taking place before us. Traces of this spontaneous tendency to act here and now as others are acting may be present in such cases sometimes spoken of as cases of imitation, as the working from a "copy or the acting out of some remembered behaviour. Yet for clearness' sake we need to notice that there are other than imitative elements in such behaviour as is looked for when we ask a child to " imitate " a copy, or to " imitate" the way in which a piece of work was done the day before, or to "imitate" the example of some historical personage. A "copy" does not appeal to the child's living impulses in the same way that observing another child's—or in a less degree the teacher's—behaviour does. The almost strained attention with which children will often watch another child's effort upon the blackboard is due to something more than the mere desire to see what is being done. Quite often in cases where a lesson has gone well and the invitation to a scholar to work on the blackboard is well-timed, there is in the attention of the others to what he does an inward movement with his movements, a suppressed doing of what he does, checked only by the unwillingness to follow where the others can see he is going wrong. Here the imitative instinct, co-operating with other elements of a sympathetic order,' is undoubtedly present, though in a suppressed form.

[This example gives occasion in passing to note how much the strength of a personality may depend upon the presence of suppressed instincts. The amount of anger a man gives way to, for example, is usually far outweighed by the amount of temper he curbs. Impulsive energies which are kept well below explosion-point—and the stronger they are and the better they are kept down often the greater the potential energy-are none the less felt. They have their effect and receive recognition. They go to the making of a strong personality.]

As to the presence of the imitative instinct in " copying," or in behaving as I saw some one behave yesterday, it is through its combination with other mental tendencies that it is really effectual. If it were proposed to rule out the working from a copy as not being a real case of imitation at all, there would not be much ground to demur. " Copying" a dead thing is so different from imitating a live one. But in the case of my to-day, consciously or unconsciously, adjusting my behaviour to behaviour I observed yesterday, there is an instinctive quality. It is either my openness to suggestion, that is, my conscious or unconscious adoption of a receptive attitude towards the impression I then received, and my conscious or unconscious acceptance of it as somehow suitable to myself. Or, there may have been an even more immediate instinctive tendency to imitate the witnessed behaviour at the time, similar to that just spoken of in the case of the boys watching a comrade working on the blackboard. Had I there and then behaved as the other person behaved, it would, of course, have been a clear case of imitation. As it is, the behaviour is due to a blending of a deferred instinctive tendency with a certain memory of yesterday's observation.

The recognition by teachers of the importance of utilising the imitative tendency in children is so widespread that its value in education may well be dwelt upon in some detail. The method of " learning by doing," which is more and more—though it must be confessed still very gradually—taking its place in school life and work, lends itself readily to the utilising of the imitative impulse. With very young children the teacher's demonstration is often a direct appeal to their simultaneous voluntary imitation. Exercises in building with bricks ; in swinging or holding up the coloured balls ; in trundling the balls—to take illustrations from the Kindergarten gifts : the teaching of action songs : many of the Kindergarten and similar games : afford examples of this direct appeal. Dr. Francis Warner teaches children the forms of letters by asking them to imitate his movements as he traces the letters by a movement of hand and arm in the air. For the utilisation by the teacher of other forms which are less strictly cases of direct imitation, the opportunities are legion ; especially so, when we include the mixed form of imitation depending upon the remembrance of how others did certain things, and the impulse to do them similarly brought in by association. Perhaps the truth may be most crisply stated in the form of an epigram —though not without incurring the dangers incidental thereto : Children tend to copy the teacher (i.e, when the teacher is respected and esteemed) ; they tend to imitate one another. The teacher who wishes to avail himself of the imitative tendencies of his scholars will always remember that they learn better from one another, more easily, and more what they want to know and are really able to learn, than they learn from him. The younger the children, the more this applies. " Imitation," said Miss Dorothea Beale in a paper read before a Child-Study Society, " is the moving spirit of order and discipline in the nursery and infant school. Almost never in a good Kindergarten do you hear a command ; a child goes wrong, and is left to find it out by observing its companions ; most habits of punctuality, order, obedience, are acquired long ere the child can understand that social life would be impossible without them. One great good of school life is that children are helped by the example of other children, instead of having to be specially taught and corrected ; thus much irritation is saved ; the obstinacy which played so large a part in the old schoolrooms has almost disappeared, or has taken a healthier form." What a class-fellow can accomplish the presumption is that others can accomplish with an effort, if not equally well, at least with some hope of success. But it does not follow that the scholars can imitate the teacher. In lessons depending on the scholars' own efforts—and what lessons do not in greater or less degree ?—it is almost always better for the teacher to let one scholar talk over with (a better attitude for one and all than "show "_) the others how he arrived at a right result or conclusion. What, for example, is the ground of the opinion he expresses in a history lesson ? What was the method he followed in solving a problem ? How did he secure accuracy in a drawing ? This is almost always much better than for the teacher to tabulate his own reasons for his own opinions—he may contrive to give all he is wise in wishing to give in this way incidentally ; better than for the teacher to be content with demonstrating his own methods ; or himself making an immaculate copy. Many a boy will spontaneously imitate his peers who would think it mawkish to ape his superiors.

Then, there is the ever-present tendency, already spoken of, to repeat in our own behaviour witnessed actions which have, if only sub-consciously, had an impelling effect at the time to act similarly. The reality of this sub-conscious tendency is beyond question. Amusing evidence of this was furnished at a recent examination in educational psychology. The illustration having been previously brought up by one of the students in class, three or four candidates quoted the experience of having been kicked by excited onlookers at a game of football. For a moment the students were suspected by an examiner of having given each other help. The real explanation was the commonness of the experience in a part of the country where football enthusiasm runs high. The spectators had involuntarily imitated the actions of the players. Under ordinary circumstances the impulse to act as we see others acting is held in check ; but doubt-less it is still there. How much of school life and school success turns upon this wider reach of the imitative impulse it is hardly necessary to state. (We could probably trace a certain instinctive element in voluntary imitation ; but the more clearly instinctive imitative tendencies, displayed in spontaneous imitation, are more to our immediate purpose.) A large part of the good moral tone which it is every earnest teacher's ambition to secure in his class or in his school depends upon the accumulation of similar behaviours carried forward from one day to the next. There may be subtler elements at work such as the personality of the teacher ; the interacting personalities of the scholars ; the easy assimilation of teacher to class and class to teacher ;, the common assimilation of class and teacher to the ideals of the head teacher and to the aims of the school ; playground or playing-field influences ; the traditions of the class and the school. All these things, and many others, count. But with all this wide margin of influences to be allowed for, much still depends upon the steady expectation and maintenance of ways of behaving, not merely because the teacher prescribes them, but because through their spontaneous adoption by some and the spontaneous imitation of others they set in and become the class or school custom. True, as Thring, the great headmaster of Uppingham, said, there is always a certain tendency to "donkey-worship" in a large school. And imitation may to this extent work against a good class-spirit or a good school-spirit. The teacher's tact, indeed, is nowhere better displayed than by his skill in making the right scholars the true leaders and so creating the moral tone which he desires. That there is a wrong; and tactless way of endeavouring to do this is seen by observing the temptation into which inexperienced teachers of young children sometimes fall when they say : "Look At So-and-So ; see how well he behaves." The effect is to make little So-and-So both uncomfortable and unpopular ; without in any degree making him the leader which the others imitate. The marking out of the right leaders depends upon an unspoken alliance between them and the teacher ; none the less conscious and cordial on that account. And the more hopeful and encouraging expressions, spoken .ever so casually, almost as if by accident, must be mainly reserved for the less promising portion of the class. There will, of course, be times when all will realise the magnanimity of a word of generous praise bestowed on the really better fellows. But there is no real analysis of tact. It is personality meeting personality and for this there is no law.

More especially is imitation seen to be one of the factors making for success in education—whether by helping to build up a healthy public opinion or as a means of intellectual progress—when it works in combination with other factors. We imitate to best advantage when the imitative impulse follows upon and supplements impulses due to our own individual effort and experience. The boy learning to hold his bat on the village green cannot learn much as yet by trying to imitate a leading county batsman.. The child commencing the pianoforte may be thrilled by the music of a great performer, but the days when the master-player can be imitated are still far ahead. To the boy beginning Latin composition with "Balbus and I were lifting up our hands" the style of Cicero, however enthusiastically rendered by his teacher, is an impossible infection.

Imitation is but a typical case. Our instinctive tendencies take no pride in maintaining themselves in rude independence of other sources of energy and acquired forms of capacity. Indeed, the higher education goes, the more do the impulses, instinctive and acquired, which guide our behaviour and animate our whole life enrich each other by mutual reinforcement. By sheer nature, i.e., without education in the form of expressly directed experience, man would grow up into something higher than the animal. But when the child's growing intelligence is met with educative influences, the result is unspeakably higher. There is not a little truth in the repartee of the distinguished educationist, the late Dr. W. T. Harris, to Rousseau's suggestion, " Let man alone "; that, " If man had let him-self alone, he would have remained the monkey that he was." Or, to state the same thing somewhat differently, or Rousseau's " three educators "—Nature, men, and things—Nature and things are not true educators ; at least, not in the sense in which education has just been defined. Education is essentially a human process, the work of men with and for each other, and especially with and for the young. Its two factors are, first, men, human personalities with their direct influence and power of appeal ; and, secondly, Nature and things as interpreted by men. Education is expressly directed experience. It involves guidance and direct instruction at the hands of human teachers. The results from the spontaneous play of mother-wit in the world of Nature and things would certainly add up to something—but that something would not be an educated person.

(c) Another example of an instinctive tendency which blends freely with experience in a variety of forms is that of sympathy.

If the imitative impulse is to do as others do, the sympathetic impulse is to feel as others feel, almost to be for the moment as others are. But to feel as others feel, according to the now generally accepted theory of what constitutes an emotional state, is only possible through the assuming of a similar nervous,or nervo-muscular, disposition.

In purely instinctive sympathy this expressive attitude or tendency will be wholly spontaneous. There is a physical, as well as a conscious or mental, identification of ourselves with the condition of the person to whom our sympathy is being given. In true sympathy, therefore, there can be nothing of that somewhat unsocial satisfaction of not being in the same plight which at times enters into pity. It is more truly a coming alongside, a direct fellowship in the suffering or the joy. This is not, again, quite the same sort of coining alongside, the mere drawing near for nearness' sake, which is a characteristic feature of the affectionate instinct ; but the spontaneous assimilation of one's own inner mood, and with it of one's bodily disposition, to that of the person with whom we sympathise. To be so constituted as to feel a pain in my brother's side, as Rousseau has put it, or to feel the lash of the slave-master on one's own back, as Abraham Lincoln expressed it in one of his great debates, and to be equally ready to enter into the joys of others, is to have the sympathetic temperament. This is neither pity nor affection. It is co-feeling, the experiencing with another his experience, the being as he is for the time. We have this constraining tendency because we are by nature " members one of another." We do not acquire it : though, of course, we may do much to foster it or the reverse in ourselves and others. It is one of the corner-stones of our social existence. Man is in virtue of it a nobler being as a "political animal," in the broad sense in which Aristotle used the word " political," than he could be if indifference to the experiences of others were possible to him.

As to the variety of the forms in which in combination with other elements it may be found in human experience, sympathy resembles imitation in the one respect that it seems to betoken a tendency of organism to respond to organism: in imitation a responding to the behaviour of another and being impelled to behave similarly ; in sympathy a responding to the feelings of another and being drawn into feeling similarly. This quality of generality causes the forms in which they may mingle with effects of experience to be almost as varied as experience itself.

In school life, as examples already discussed sufficiently testify, the instinct of sympathy will often be the yoke-fellow of the imitative impulse ; and, just as the imitative impulse in one or other of its manifestations is the root-principle of a good school tradition, sympathy is probably the root-principle of esprit-de-corps. When a class is before us it is impossible to cozen ourselves into thinking that we can ever select a scholar for individual treatment. Almost everything acquires a public reference through the operation of sympathy. A generous attitude to one boy's endeavour awakens happy responses all round. The teacher who knows not so much how to question as how to accept answers and suggestions, knows how to win his class to him-self and to effort in work even through his treatment of individuals. The teacher, on the other hand, who howls at one boy that he is a duffer or in worse ways than that loses patience with him, has not thereby encouraged the rest. No action of ours in class is of private interpretation: nor does it receive private interpretation. If a boy gives an answer that is half-right and half-wrong, and if we accept the right half both on the principle of economy in teaching and out of ordinary good-nature, we have probably put the whole class into the humour to try. Whatever it may be out-side, sarcasm in school may easily bear Carlyle's description of it as the a language of the devil." Against whomsoever of their number it is directed, it will not win the boys to us or make them keen in working with us. The teacher who accepts the right half of a half-right answer, provided it represents an honest effort on the scholar's part, and who is more apt to punish with an apology to himself for having to do so than with any suspicion of zest, knows how to convert the sympathy which inevitably holds between class-mates into his ally. The teacher, on the other hand, who habitually emphasises mistakes and reprimands with a personal sting, is in danger of turning this subtle force against himself. The class-teacher is never dealing with individuals. He is the captain of a team. He deals with individuals largely through their team-consciousness.

(d) The growth of habit is another illustration of the way in which our instinctive tendencies remain with us as elements entering into combination with other factors in the continuous development of our personality. Habits may, of course, be formed either unconsciously or deliberately and with effort. We saw in connection with the imitative impulse how forms of behaviour may arise spontaneously and often unconsciously. By repetition such forms of behaviour may become habits. It is in this way that a child acquires some of the tricks and mannerisms of his parents. The same applies largely to the accumulation of similar behaviours in class or school, spoken of under imitation.

Sometimes, as in the case of imitation, the carrying out of an impulse which becomes the basis of a habit, is delayed. We wait, not necessarily consciously, for the occasion that gives an opportunity for the impulse to take effect. For example, I observe other men carrying their umbrellas by hooking the curved handles over their arm. It is only in the faintest degree, if at all, that I am aware of the impulse to imitate them. The chances are that the action strikes me at first as affected and peculiar. Yet after a while I find myself carrying my umbrella in this fashion ; and (alternating rarely perhaps with an earlier-formed habit of using the umbrella as a walking-stick) I find the practice to be settling down into a habit. Even the kind of handle I look for in purchasing a new umbrella has undergone complete change,-though here the force of suggestion, combined with the limiting of the range of choice for which the manufacturers are responsible, probably cooperates.

Large as is the space occupied by habit in our experience, it would not be possible to discover any habit which has not some natural tendency as its central strand or core, from which it derives much of its energy and of its direction. We do not—probably cannot—form habits which are wholly against the grain. Just as in rope-making, the twisting and compounding which give the rope its strength would fail of their effect if there were nothing to give it direction—we should have gnarls and tangles and weak points to such an extent as to have no rope at all—so (though the analogy will not bear much straining) there must be the play of natural tendency in the making of habits. It is this which maintains the direction and secures the compounding of the various strands. As the rope-maker—one is thinking of the old rope-walks still to be found in several parts of the country—gives the rope its direction, contributes his strength to the inweaving of the threads, and so makes the rope ; so we may be said to make our own habits, in the sense that some natural bias of ours so far gives our behaviour direction and energy that apart from it the compounding of tendencies and the forming of habits would never take place.

The habits which we ourselves consciously form or which we seek deliberately to foster in others are those of which the psychology is most familiar. The oft-quoted rules of a strong initiative ; no exceptions ; constant practice ; and a little supererogation ; are not likely to be forgotten. But a no less important rule both of economy and of success in the deliberate forming of habits is to follow whenever possible the already prepared paths. The outstanding example of this, according to certain observers already quoted, is the cat, who, it is said, cannot be got to learn tricks or take up habits that are contrary to its nature.

This may be a slightly exaggerated statement in order to point the contrast between the conservatism of the cat and the greater docility of the dog. But no extreme example is needed to give point to the rule that in the conscious forming of habits we do well to keep the path, wherever practicable, of instinctive tendency. This is the real psychology of an experience, which at one time or other forces itself upon us all : "I can be led, but I cannot be driven." When we first discover this, we fancy we have come upon some trait that is peculiarly our own,—so intimate is its association with our growing consciousness of personality. In reality, it is the universal law. And, obviously, it is the wisdom of the educator, who is par excellence the former of the habits of others, to follow the line of least resistance. Here is the value of child-study to the teacher. It gives him knowledge of the native tendencies that are at his disposal. It helps him to understand what alliances can be set up between his aims and ideals and the instinctive and nascent tendencies in the scholars before him, be they six, eleven, fourteen, or eighteen years of age. Habits after all are of the individual's own growing. Every man has his own habits. They spring from the soil. Grafting may be possible upon a kindred stock ; transplanting never. That is to say, we do not plant in ourselves or in others the roots of habit. Habits grow from roots, the native tendencies or "root-tendencies," that are already there.

Habits are always in the making ; if for no other reason, because we ourselves are always in the making. It is true of us all, but particularly and self-evidently true of the young, that there are root-tendencies which have not yet reached the surface. There is the nascent, that which we are becoming or are on the point of becoming, in us all ; there is also the latent, that which to all appearance we have in no way begun to be. Some one has said: "Our hearts unless they are stirred are like tombs in which the Gods lie buried." And there is always something of the Unknowable Energy in us which has not yet stirred sufficiently to shows signs of its life above the surface. Habits thus must always be in the making. Either to meet new out-ward conditions, or to express a newly developing inner life, our behaviour must needs change. "Failure," as it has been penetratingly said, would be " to form habits." There could hardly be a severer indictment than to speak of man as a "bundle of habits." To regard a man's habits as other than in the making—however useful for present purposes our habits may be—is to misconstrue the process of human development. Not only may habits be modified either to meet new conditions or because of newly manifested or newly directed native tendencies, but one habit may actually be got to replace another. Good habits may drive out bad, and—unfortunately—bad habits may drive out good.

To quote a striking experiment : There is in Freeville, at the north-west corner of New York State, and a few miles from Cornell University, a reform settlement which goes by the name of the George Junior Republic. Some of the worst and most neglected of city arab children and youths (both boys and girls) are taken in as members of the "junior republic," and as such they live out in community fashion the conditions of ordinary free social life. The Junior Republic, bearing the name of Mr. W. R. George, its founder, exists to give such youths and girls a chance. It gives them a new environment ; it gives the occasion for hitherto latent impulses to reveal themselves. The older boys and girls work, the younger ones go to school. There is, in ways too intricate to be described here, a reproduction of the conditions of the ordinary industrial and civic life of the outside world. It is, in intention and in fact, a junior republic. There are a junior Republic currency; law courts in which the citizens themselves plead and judge ; prisons; prison-gangs and warders—a remarkable fact being that the percentage of Junior Republic criminals, as compared with the total number in residence, is practically identical with the percentage of criminals in the population of the United States as a whole. How does this result come about ? There is no creation of the good nor thought of such. No one could interfere less with the actual incidents of the republic life than does Mr. George himself. He lives there ; is beloved as he deserves to be. But he would not think of intervening excepting as a fellow-citizen in any of the republic's affairs. If there is a breach of the law, the Junior Republic police deal with it, not he. Mr. George does not start with the idea that the good impulses need to be created ; to be somehow wrought in from without. He believes in the store of undiscovered good in every nature ; in the presence of true human instincts everywhere ; and that from these alone can a new beginning be made and new habits formed. In describing the process as he observes it, he said : " If a boy is lazy when he comes, before long he is going to be industrious, even if he is not naturally so inclined; and even though he may have bad ancestors, generations of the pauper class. Habit comes to the rescue ; and he gradually acquires habits of hard work."

This example on a large scale of the growth of good habits in place of bad, yielding so high a percentage of successes, forcibly illustrates the truth that our habits are always in the making. The change in a great proportion of cases has proved to be a radical one. What, then, is the process ? A reformed youth is one who has built up a new set of courses of behaviour around a new centre. But the new centre is as radically and essentially a part of him as was the old one. Reformation is not a process of leaving behind instinctive tendencies and assuming tendencies acquired ab extra, as at the suggestion or compulsion of another. Nor is any form of education. We are always ourselves. Life always " develops from within." Criminal tendencies may be perverted instincts ; but our instincts are not themselves perversions of our nature ; they are part of it.

If, then, we wish to build up a new habit in ourselves or in others, our first reliance must be upon such instinctive tendencies as will lead in the same direction. The range of our native capacity is such that it can always provide us with a fresh start. An almost unlimited number of alter-natives or variations in actual personality is potentially ours. By change of environment, and still more by a change of attitude, we may discover fresh strength-centres within our-selves and build around them a network of new habits. The failure of many "reforms" to be permanent, the lack of staying power in many of the "converts" during a revival, is easily accounted for by the fact that the "reform" or "conversion " has been due to some external shock or pleading. The impulsion has been from without, not from within.

Enough has been said to bring into view the fact that habit receives its push-off at the hands of instinct. Every successful moral educator both knows this and adjusts his methods to it. He studies his scholars ; and fits his methods to them. But the growth of habit is none the less due to a compounding of tendencies. It does not spring up whole and sole out of the roots of instinct. Topsy's "spec's I growed " would be a very imperfect piece of natural history if the reference were only to a cultivated flower, still more if the reference is to an educated child, or to a consciously acquired or imparted habit. The whole meaning of education lies in its being a planning of some at least of the experiences through which the child shall pass. All that we are saying is that in our wisest planning we take into account nature's own courses in the child, and aim of new developments as far as possible by making use of existing, though perhaps latent, native tendencies.

(e) We might go through the whole round of our mental experience in illustrating the truth that the unfolding of personality, viewed as a mental process, consists of a blending of the native and the acquired. The acquirement of speech may be taken as typical. Nothing better illustrates the blending of instinctive tendency with the results of individual experience than the child's acquisition of language. (i.) The babbling of the infant is a wholly instinctive use of the organs concerned in speech. (ii.) Imitation soon enters in and leads to the production of sounds which have a meaning. (iii.) The child's imitative effort is invited, and every partial success encouraged. Education, as guided experience, is already coming to his aid. (iv.) Assisting the development, and as yet practically independent of the intellectual constructive tendencies, is the ever-operative instinctive tendency to give outward expression to inner feeling. Amongst the various modes of such expression, expressive sounds very soon have a place. (v.) The early successes in fitting together sounds and meanings are momentous. The mother's nod and smile—and still more the proofs in the behaviour of others that the young child's utterances are understood—bring in palpable reasons for cementing the successful alliance. From this time forward the child's speech becomes the greatest indicator of his mental development. He shows by it, as he can in no other way, the number of meanings he comprehends, and a power of more or less exact adjustment in the expression of meanings. Henceforward there is a line of direct progress between the power the child has now acquired and the highest flights of oratory and poetry or the subtlest discriminations of philosophy. Impulse and education combine to produce the result.

The course of the child's acquisition of language also illustrates the further fact (implied in all that has been so far said and to be more fully brought out in the chapter following) that an acquired capacity not only is a sign that a certain stage of development has been reached, but becomes an actively co-operating factor in further development.

Observations of the use and progressive acquirement of language by children, continuative of that proposed at the end of the fourth chapter, would serve to test and to amplify these points. A valuable piece of work of this kind is to be found in the American Journal of Psychology by Mr. Frederick Tracy.' A careful examination of the ,vocabularies of twenty-one children (ages ranging from 9 months to 21 years, mostly from 19 months to 28 months) showed an average use of 20 verbs to 60 nouns, whereas the English language is estimated to contain but i i verbs to every 6o nouns. Mr. Tracy regards this fact as sup-porting the view that the acquisition of language in the individual and in the race proceeds by similar stages and along similar lines. " Max Muller says that the primitive Sanscrit roots of the Indo-Germanic languages all represent actions and not objects. Educationally, it goes to confirm the more and more widely accepted principle that education proceeds most naturally (and, therefore, most easily and rapidly) along the lines of motor activity."

(f) One or two examples of the acquisition of skill, which is partly a question of habit and partly of adaptability or of alertness and adequacy of intelligence, will conclude the present chapter.

If it is not too direct a reference, the acquisition of skill in teaching well illustrates the blending of native capacity with the fruits of experience. The uniformity with which children "play at school "—a union of imitative and teaching instincts ; the pleasure every one has in giving information even in the ordinary course of conversation ; go to show that the teaching impulse is in some measure born with us. We seem spontaneously to recognise that one of the uses and responsibilities, as well as one of the pleasures, of being possessors of intelligence is that we should share our knowledge with others. Yet though the impulse is born with us, and some are even " born teachers," experience gives us our art.

The great artist, again, has always a rich original endow-ment, but his greatness by common testimony depends yet more upon his "infinite capacity for taking pains." He is always in some way or other a performer. If he is born with a fine ear for music, he has to school his powers of touch or of voice and become a great executant before he is a great musician. The painter has an open eye for the beautiful, but he can only produce great work after assiduous practice with brush and palette. The familiar answer of the ancient orator when asked the secret of eloquence was "Actio! Actio!"

There is no putting forth of power in any direction which is not a resultant from the two cooperating influences—native endowment and acquired ability. The more these are brought into line the greater the power evinced ; and the freer and more natural the progress.


1. "Springs of conduct are the instincts given by nature and the ideas given by education " (Thorndike).

2. The child's (and our) methods of learning are partly spontaneous in character, partly acquired. It is becoming customary to note three such methods : the method of trial and success (" hit or miss") ; that of imitation ; and the method of learning by the use of ideas. Examples of each of these can easily be obtained by watching children care-fully in school and elsewhere. The behaviour of younger children usually gives the observer simpler and, therefore, clearer cases. But the three methods are always liable to overlap.

3. All cases of the combining of elements in the up building of experience are examples of the selective working of the mind. Attention itself, without which there would be no elements to combine, is selective; and selection is present no less in every act of mental combining or blending. Apperception is selective. Memory is selective. Imagination is selective. Judging and Reasoning are selective. The building together or blending of ideas and experiences in the mind to form our knowledge follows, however, more than one path. The selective principle in apperception is the identifying of certain portions of a new experience with some previous experience. The selective principle in memory is that of contiguity. Imagination selects under a practical or theoretical or artistic impulse with the view to some result. Judgment and reasoning take from a wide possible field very definite data and put them together in the assertions which they enable us to make.

There are certain typical forms of arrangement of the materials entering into our knowledge-structures on these lines of selectivity. (a) The purely associative principle of arrangement is that of contiguity. The simplest form of knowledge-structure is constituted by the holding together mentally or in memory elements of experience which actually occurred together. (b) Another form of knowledge-structure is due to the mind's co-ordinating tendency. Classification, the forming of general ideas, naming (use of group-names, " common nouns "), are all cases of coordination. The little child spontaneously picks out beads from beans, and puts them into separate heaps ; or blue beads from red beads. Quite as spontaneously he wants to know the names " bead," "bean," " blue," "red." When he asks " What is it ?" he is usually content if we give him the name. He is in this empirical fashion working his way towards general ideas. (c) - A third form of arrangement into which knowledge tends naturally to fall is the progressive. Counting is progressive : so is the musical scale ; so are ordinary arrangements of cricket averages, or more serious tabulations of measurements, or results of scientific experiments ; index numbers ; and graphs. The tendency to arrange progressively or in series leads to one type of knowledge-structure. (d) Rhythmical arrangements fit in also with an evidently native mental tendency. Many of our acquired movements are rhythmical. Poetry and melody appeal to the tendency to build mental elements together in this way ; and many decorative forms practically exemplify the same tendency. (e) Apperceptive grouping differs but slightly from the co-ordinating tendency : indeed, it might be said to include it. But in apperceiving in the higher sense we not only enrich the circle by adding new members to the group ; but we intensively enrich the group by the new insight into qualities and the inclusion thus of a wider range of qualities. (f) Under apperception in this larger sense we might certainly include some of the mind's thought-constructions, but it may be less confusing to regard these as a separate type. Judging, i.e., mental assertion with a more or less clear consciousness of the grounds for making it, is the characteristic thought-activity. As a form of knowledge it consists in a grouping of possibly otherwise separated elements. If a child says this bead is blue, he is only analysing the whole percept, that of the blue bead which is before him. But if he says, "The best bananas come from Jamaica," he is putting together elements which apart from the actual mental assertion (made on, to him, adequate grounds) would never have fused or been part of one whole or experience (or formed a unit of knowledge). Reasoning is a complex process of arriving at a judgment.

5. A valuable little book for further reading is "The School and the Child" (papers by John Dewey, edited with Introduction by J. J. Findlay). Reference might also be made to James's "Talk to Teachers on Psychology"; Thorndike's "Notes on Child Study " ; Kirkpatrick's "Fundamentals of Child Study"; and to Drummond's "Introduction to Child Study"; John Dewey's "The School and Society "; Dr. Sophie Bryant's "Teaching of Morality."

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