Freeman

ARTICLE

Education for Privacy

APRIL 01, 1971 by MARTEN TEN HOOR

Filed Under : Education, Socialism, Communism

Marten ten Hoor was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama when this ar­ticle was first published in The American Scholar, Winter, 1953-54.

In a view of the hundreds of con­ferences which have been held on liberal education, it would seem to be impossible to say anything new on the subject. Since there seems to be nothing new to say, one must, in order to be original, be contrary, eccentric, or partisan. I have chosen to be partisan. The proposition to be defended is, frankly, a half-truth. If it can be established, there will be some cause for satisfaction; for the es­tablishment of a half-truth is not a bad average in this complex and confused world. There is the justi­fication, moreover, that the other, and possibly the better, half has in our day had practically all of the attention.

Stated concretely, the proposi­tion is this: Never in the history of the world have there been so many people occupied with the im­provement of so few. To sharpen the point by a specific example: Never have there been so many people making a good living by showing the other fellow how to make a better one. If you are skep­tical, I recommend that you try this exercise—add up, as of the current date, the social workers, planners, and reformers; the col­lege presidents, deans, and profes­sors; the editors of magazines, journals, and newspapers (not for­getting college newspapers); al­most everybody in Washington, D. C., during recent years; and the tens of thousands of miscel­laneous social-minded folks who attend conferences, workshops, and institutes organized for the im­provement of the human race. Sub­tract that figure from the total population of this country, and compare this figure with a corresponding figure for, say, the year 1900. You will then see what I mean when I say that this is the era of undiscriminating allegiance to good causes. To come nearer home, compute the sum of all col­lege and university presidents, deans, and professors who have in the last five years attended meet­ings devoted to the improvement of education. Compare that figure with the number of those who re­mained on the campus working, and you will find proof even in academia.

What Is an Expert?

As further evidence, and as a striking symptom, there is the re­cent popularity of educational sur­veys. Most states and many insti­tutions have experienced several. I have lived through eleven, with­out noticeable improvement in my­self or my neighbors. Note the procedure and the technique, for there you will find the moral. The surveyors are always from an­other state or another institution. This is in accordance with the well-known principle that an ex­pert is an ordinary person who is away from home. These outsiders are brought in because of their objectivity, objectivity being the capacity for discovering faults abroad which you cannot recog­nize at home. To be a good educa­tional surveyor—or any kind of social analyst, for that matter—you must have a sharp eye for for­eign motes but a dull one for do­mestic beams. You must be a con­tented extrovert, so that, after diagnosing the faults of others, you can continue to live in perfect comfort with your own.

Too Few Followers

I must confess that I view all this indiscriminate altruism with a jaundiced eye. It does seem to me that these days there are too many leaders and too few follow­ers; too many preachers and too few sinners—self-conscious sin­ners, that is. If this were an illus­trated article, I would insert at this point a wonderful cartoon I saw not long ago. A little boy was asking an obviously astounded and embarrassed father, "But if we’re here to help others, what are the others here for?" Nobody has time these days to improve him­self, so busy is he with attempts to improve his neighbor. There is something wrong with that equa­tion. It seems to me that it is time to try to balance it. I suggest that this can be done by shifting some weight from one side to the other, by shifting the emphasis from so­cial improvement to self-improve­ment. I suggest that over the door of every academic cubicle there should hang the sign which Thor­eau had over the door of his hut: "My destiny mended here, not yours." In short, I propose to make a plea for education for pri­vacy.

How to Feel Virtuous

Before undertaking to identify some of the elements of this type of education, I should like to offer some justification of my skepti­cism concerning the present em­phasis on social-mindedness in ed­ucation. To begin with, it is so easy to assume that your neigh­bor is much worse off than your­self. The universality of this tend­ency is undoubtedly accounted for psychologically by its attractive by-products. The assumption pro­duces a feeling of comfort. If there is some slight suspicion that all is not well within, it is compensating to concentrate on the plight of one’s neighbor. Since attention to him is distracting, it keeps the in­dividual from worrying about himself. To do something about a neighbor’s ignorance also makes one feel virtuous. This absorbing concern for the improvement of one’s neighbor is undoubtedly a product of civilization. It is doubt­ful if primitive man worried much about it. The cannibal, in fact, represents the other extreme: he uses his neighbor solely for his own improvement.

In the second place, I doubt if the reformer always has the wis­dom necessary to direct the lives of so many people—but this is certainly assumed. How many peo­ple are there who have demon­strated the capacity to prescribe for others? If an individual makes a mistake in trying to improve himself, this is not so serious; but consider the consequences if he has induced all his neighbors to do the same thing. History is filled with examples of self-con­fident leaders who led their fol­lowers straight to a common ca­tastrophe. The fact is that we still know so little about human per­sonality in the concrete. To be sure, there are excellent textbook pictures, with revealing analytical tables and graphs. But this is per­sonality in the abstract. Any phy­sician will tell you that he rarely finds a textbook picture in a pa­tient. Not only is every human be­ing a complex with variations, but there are the environment in which that complex functions and the accidental circumstances which confuse the vision and disrupt life.

Nor has the reformer too much reason for assuming that he has discerned the good life for his neighbors. Let us take as a fa­miliar example the characteristic projection by parents into the lives of their children. This is some­thing we can readily understand and, because it is suffused with parental affection, forgive. But how many parents are there who realize that each child is to some extent a new complex of elements and who can bring themselves to substitute that confounding re­ality for the fond subjective crea­tion? Too often the recommenda­tion of a way of life is nothing more than the advocacy of a per­sonal preference.

From subjectivism in this sense of the term there is no complete escape. Even leadership is person­alized in an individual. Hitler was an individual: he spun his fantas­tic and criminal notions out of his own warped private personality. It is, therefore, terribly important that everything shall be right in the reformer before he undertakes to reform others. "Nobody," says a character in Norman Douglas’ South Wind, "has the right to call himself well disposed towards so­ciety until he has grasped the ele­mentary fact that the only way to improve society is to improve one­self." And may I suggest in this connection that a major in the so­cial sciences does not automati­cally qualify a student for social leadership?

Selfish Unselfishness

Further reason for doubt is to be found in the characteristic re­actions of the hyper social-minded. They become so indignant when people resist their ministrations.

They are so determinedly selfish in their unselfishness. Ideas, par­ticularly ideas designed for the improvement of others, so quickly become inflated. In extreme cases they devour themselves. How an­tagonistic even educators become over professional differences as to how the ignorant should be ren­dered less so! Note the bitterness between rival reform groups. Let us not forget that human beings have killed one another in the mass even on the authority of their religions. Note how political leaders fall out, quarrel, conspire, injure one another in their unsel­fish efforts to save the country. In the absence of sophistication and modesty, reform notions grow into delusions; their advocates become more and more autocratic; leadership becomes pathological; the desire to help one’s fellow men is transformed into fanaticism and tyranny—and societies be­come authoritarian.

Everybody Is an Individual

Here lies the explanation of the tendency of hyper social-minded­ness to suppress individualism and to produce too much uniformity. There are good reasons for doubt­ing the wisdom of this lack of in­terest in the individual as a unique personality. There is, to begin with, the obvious and inescapable fact that everybody is an individual. The higher the scale of life, the more individuals differ and the greater their potentialities for dif­fering. Society must make provi­sion for individual differences.

Authoritarianisms of the type of national socialism and com­munism are primitivistic; for they propose to turn back the course of social change and to establish so­cieties in which individuals shall have a status more closely resem­bling that of ants, bees, or even of atoms or electrons than of hu­man personalities. They have for­gotten, or propose to ignore, the incontrovertible fact that the great works of art, literature, music, philosophy, religion, and science—that is, the world’s great mani­festations of excellence and leader­ship—were the products of in­tensely individual persons. Indeed, some of the world’s great geniuses have been self-centered, unsocial and iconoclastic, with little or no interest in the improvement of their fellow men.

But society can well afford that. A regimented society will not only suppress and possibly ultimately breed out these "exaggerated" in­dividuals, but will generally dis­courage the manifestations of the adventurous and original spirit. Government and education de­signed to do this will bring about a tragic cultural impoverishment in human life; for individual dif­ferences enrich life, they stimu­late the intelligence and the imagi­nation, and they invite compari­son and criticism. They keep the individual alive as an individual, and not merely as a bearer of the racial genius or a servant of the state.

Some Laws Necessary

It is true that modern life re­quires a certain amount of regi­mentation. Individuals obviously cannot be permitted to run amuck. At least the great majority of persons must adapt themselves to other persons. Mechanical contriv­ances, such as traffic lights, must replace individual judgment; laws are to some extent substitutes for individual choice. But let us not forget that it is not the basic pur­pose of these substitutes to repress individuality, but rather to make possible a more general and richer realization of individuality. It is not the purpose of social organiza­tion to reduce man to the subhu­man, but to create more favorable opportunities for the realization of what is uniquely human.

The need of complex societies for a high degree of organization is one reason why so much atten­tion is focused on the improvement of the other fellow. Especially in a democracy, where everyone is more or less free to advocate schemes for the improvement of society, lively and self-confident minds are inclined to expend their intellectual and emotional poten­tial on reform movements. The at­tention of the reformer is conse­quently drawn away from contem­plation of the state of his own soul. Since he is so happily exer­cised in improving others, the habit of self-examination gradu­ally atrophies. How then can he be sure that he is the right person to prescribe for his neighbors? Should he not stop now and then to take an inventory of his re­sources? Does he in fact have these resources? It is because I have serious doubts of this sort, and because of the increasing neg­lect in education of attention to the accumulation of these re­sources, that I feel it time to make a plea for education for privacy.

A Plea for Privacy

What now are the essential ele­ments of this education for pri­vacy? In speaking of elements it is, of course, implied that the ideal construct of these elements con­stitutes an organized whole, a personality. It is this ideal at which we aim, though we know full well that in any concrete in­dividual, no matter how well edu­cated after the formula which we shall propose, one or the other de­sirable characteristic is certain to be under- or over-emphasized.

The first requirement, clearly, is to learn how to think—not out loud or in print, but privately. The thinker himself, not his neighbor, is to be the beneficiary. To think does not mean to spend hours in idle daydreaming or in vagrant imaginings, or to make occasional impulsive sallies at ideas which happen to appear before the atten­tion. The reference is certainly not to the semi-somnolent and comfortable ruminations which go on in the wandering mind of an inattentive student in the class­room. What is meant is systematic reflection, the constant purpose of which is to bring order out of the multiplicity and variety of things in which the human being is im­mersed.

Experience Without Understanding

To be sure, many people go through life with their senses alert, observing and savoring in generous measure the richness of the world about them. But what they experience they retain only in the form of materials for recol­lection. The mind gradually ac­cumulates a rich inventory of goods, which can be brought out on display when there is social op­portunity for it. But the relation­ship of these resources in the mind is one of mere contiguity, like that of goods in a department store. Experience has not resulted in an over-all understanding because it has not been systematically thought about. Such individuals

… see all sights from pole to pole,

And glance, and nod, and bustle by,

And never once possess (their) soul

Before (they) die.

To possess one’s soul in an intel­lectual sense means to have found some answer, or partial answer, to the questions: What is the na­ture of this world in which I find myself, what is my place in it, and what must be my attitude toward it? The problem is one of intellectual and spiritual orienta­tion.

A Disorganized Mind

The benefits of such intellectual and spiritual adaption have been extolled by the wise men of all ages and all countries. A "view of life" prepares us for what life brings us, for what happens to us in our physical environment, and most important of all, for what people turn out to be and for what they do. To be spiritually and in­tellectually lost in the world, on the contrary, is to be unarmed and helpless.

A disorganized mind is unpre­pared for reality and easily frus­trated. The fate that awaits the individual so afflicted is to be al­ways a stranger and a wanderer in the world. The "lost soul" of literature, the ultimate in tragic creation, suffers from this great spiritual illness.

It may be unfortunate, but it is a fact that the sharper and livelier the intelligence and the more sen­sitive the spirit, the more serious the danger of disorientation. The simple-minded find life simple. Plants find themselves easy to live with, no doubt; for it cannot be difficult to vegetate successfully. [t is not likely that the cow’s ru­minations are philosophical.

Man, for better or worse, is a rational animal. The more he thinks, the greater the need of or­ganization among his ideas. The more subjects a student studies in college, the more extensive the po­tential disorder of his mind. It is not surprising that the scholarly mind, lost in a Babel of learning, seeks escape into a clearly defined specialty, and the practical mind, as soon as its owner has permis­sion, into the comforts of a busi­ness, a profession, or domesticity. To be sure, we must integrate the curriculum. But what good is this if the professor’s mind remains perched on its gaunt pinnacle or secluded in the laboratory?

The systematic way to the at­tainment of the organization of ideas is through philosophy and religion. It is true that the great intellectual constructions of the metaphysicians are not available to all men, and that even to the initiated they sometimes offer but poor comfort. Moreover, all of us have known individuals of great simplicity and humbleness of mind, quite untutored in dialectic, who somehow and in the simplest terms have securely located them­selves in the cosmos.

Especially in the realm of reli­gious experience do we find ex­amples of this. The spirit seems to have found peace in terms of some all-embracing conviction or great renunciation. But this is not often possible for the inquisitive and analytical mind.

Need for Philosophy

To cast all burdens upon the Lord in one grand resolve some­times implies ignorance of the nature of those burdens. There is only consciousness of their op­pressive weight, but no under­standing of their nature or causes. To be sure, the critical intelligence may also come ultimately to make this renunciation; but it will not feel justified in doing so until it has reflected upon causes and re­lationships and seen the problem of human trouble and sorrow whole. The solution must be a con­quest, not an escape.

For this, the mind certainly needs philosophy, sacred or secu­lar. No learned profession, how­ever, can offer the inquiring mind an official formula which every man need only apply in order to be permanently on understanding terms with the world. To be sure, there are systems of metaphysics, sacred and secular, from which the troubled spirit can choose a ready-made synthesis. But this does not make the chosen system of ideas an integral part of the inner per­sonality. Intellectual orientation to the world must be something more than an acquisition; it must be an organic growth. The student should by all means seek out the great religious and philosophical thinkers, study their systems, and add their insights to his own. But in the last analysis he must work out his own solution, for such a solution must be the end product of his own reflection in the con­text of his own experience. Only through the alchemy of private re­flection do philosophical ideas be­come private resources. Only then will they be available in time of crisis. When the normal course of existence is interrupted by con­flict and frustration, it is a bit late to begin developing fundamental guiding ideas; that is the time to apply them.

Admiral Byrd Alone

A dramatic example of the sav­ing grace of such resources is re­lated by Admiral Byrd in his book on his expedition to the South Pole, entitled Alone. He had been left behind by the expedition in a dugout located several feet below the surface of the icecap. From this he periodically emerged through a vertical tunnel to make scientific observations. It hap­pened that the heater in his sub­terranean shelter developed a leak of which he was not aware. Before he realized it, he had been dan­gerously poisoned, and he became seriously ill.

During his convalescence he found himself struggling to over­come not only the physical damage done to his body, but also a deep spiritual depression, an obstinate conviction of the meaninglessness of life, which threatened to over­whelm him. There was no physi­cian or psychoanalyst or cleric available. His fellow-explorers would not return for months. He was absolutely alone. He had to guide himself out of this slough of despair. This he did, after many agonizing days, by steady think­ing, by "digging down into" his intellectual resources. And it was then, to use his own homely but vivid phrase, that he "uncovered the pay-dirt of philosophy." He did not then collect the materials of his readjustment; he used them to recover his sanity. In this cri­sis, what would he have done with­out these resources?

But periods of crisis are not the only time when man needs an or­derly mind. If a ship is to hold its course, it needs a steady helm in good weather as well as in bad. I hasten to remark that this figure of speech has serious limitations, for a navigator has his chart pre­pared when he begins his voyage. Man, on the contrary, is faced with the problem of making a chart as he goes along. As a matter of fact, the plan of life is, for every man to some extent, an unconscious precipitate of his experience. We are not completely free agents; compulsion and fate, in the form of the physical world, our fellow men and social institutions, push the individual this way and that. What happens to him and what he becomes are clearly the result of a complex of inner and outer com­pulsions, over many of which he has no control.

The Greek Chorus

We are not here primarily con­cerned with action, however, but with interpretation. In philosophi­cal reflection, the individual to some extent plays the part of the Greek chorus. He observes him­self as actor in a cosmic setting. If he does so systematically, he will gradually discern not only his own role, but the direction of the whole drama. Only when he under­stands the meaning of the play can he orient himself in it. Such an understanding, vague and in­complete though it may be, will enable him to achieve his own view of life. If he is so fortunate as to see (what seems to him) the truth and to see it whole, he will thence­forth have a vision of the future as well as an understanding of the present and the past. If a rational man does not do that, why should he consider himself the crown of creation? If he does accomplish this, he can exult with the poet Dyer:

My mind to me a kingdom is;

Such present joys therein I find

As far exceeds all earthly bliss.

 

Look, what I lack my mind supplies.

Lo, thus I triumph like a king,

Content with that my mind doth bring.

The Uneasy Conscience

In education for privacy, how­ever, more is involved than philo­sophical orientation to the cosmos. There is equally urgent need for education in the establishment and maintenance of moral harmony. From the days of primitive re­ligion, through Greek tragedy, the Christian epic of sin and salvation, and modern psychology, Freudian and non-Freudian, to contempo­rary existentialism, there runs the theme of the uneasy conscience. The dramatic specter of moral guilt is the principal character in many of the greatest creations of literary genius.

No matter what the learned ex­planation, the psychological state is one of inner moral disharmony. Though it may have outer causes, it is a private affliction and must be cured privately. In moments of despair or periods of cynicism we may doubt the existence or dis­cernibility of moral meaning in the universe; but such a conclu­sion does not relieve the individ­ual of the necessity for solving his personal moral problem. Even complete moral negativism, if not itself a moral philosophy, leaves the individual no recourse but to establish a private moral order in his life of action and reflection.

Moral Resources

Here again, the more sensitive the individual, the greater the potentiality for disorganization. It is the sensitive who are the most deeply wounded by moral indif­ference, disorder, and brutality. The predisposing causes of moral disorganization may be in the peo­ple and the things we love, in the institutions which demand that we conform to their customs and ta­boos, in the great world which so often mocks our need for moral significance and order. But a vi­sion of the good life, the spirit must have; for devoid of it, the imagination is without moral perspective, conduct without guiding principles, and action without trustworthy habits.

For an individual so unpre­pared for life, confusion will efface meaning and create frustration, with the onset in the case of the unusually sensitive spirit of patho­logical disturbances which may for a period or for a lifetime destroy happiness. Education for privacy must therefore include the educa­tion of the moral personality, the gradual acquisition by the self of moral resources. Here, too, there are available to the student in generous measure the works of the great philosophical and re­ligious thinkers; for probably no one of the persistent problems of life has had more of their system­atic and concentrated attention. It is relevant here to note that the previously discussed philosophical orientation to the world is some­times the foundation for moral orientation.

Emotional Stability

A third requirement in the edu­cation of the personality is the development of emotional stabil­ity. Of all the immediate causes of unhappiness, emotional dis­order is unquestionably the most serious and the most common. Currently there is a feeling that under the pressures of modern life its incidence is steadily increas­ing. Unfortunately, emotions are the component of the personality about which we know the least, as modern science has come to real­ize. Our ignorance is largely a consequence of the fact that tradi­tionally the emotions have been considered to be effects rather than causes.

Preoccupation with the flatter­ing conviction that man is a ra­tional animal has been attended with the assumption that there­fore our emotions are under the domination of the reason. This assumption has been one of the basic tenets of formal education, though puzzled parents and self-conscious adults no doubt have all along had their suspicions. In our day, educators are being enlight­ened by psychology and the medi­cal sciences on the subject of the devastating power of the emo­tions. Moreover, the modern con­ception of the integrated person­ality has redirected our approach to this subject, so that now we hypothesize and investigate in terms of interrelations and inter­actions. The simple classical vision of the reason enthroned in the psyche, making judgments, issu­ing commands, and directing the conscious life of the individual, is difficult to maintain in the face of the past record and the current spectacle of human behavior.

Let us grant that the contemporary individual lives in an age in which, as Goethe put it, "hu­manity twists and turns like a person on a sickbed trying to find a comfortable position." To offset this, however, he has the advan­tage of a better understanding of the compulsive and disruptive power of the emotions. He is aware of their insidious tendency to direct his thinking and affect his judgment. He knows that they feed on themselves and that, if they are of the destructive kind, they can bring him to the verge of despair. He knows that they can completely disorient him, isolating him from the friendship and sympathy of his fellow men, and estranging him from the beauty and utility of the world. He must learn that there is little he can do to remove the external causes, the irritants in his social and physical environment. In order to maintain or restore emotional stability within himself, he must learn to control the effects of these irri­tants on himself. Education of the emotions is education in self-con­trol, in equanimity and serenity.

Live with Yourself

To these three objectives of edu­cation for privacy—the attain­ment of a philosophical point of view, a steady vision of the good life, and serenity of spirit—I should like to add one more: the individual should be able to live entertainingly with himself. He should accumulate resources on which he can draw when he is at leisure. The universal symptom of the absence of such resources is the homely but hapless state of boredom. It is an anomalous con­dition of the spirit, a state of in­difference lying between pain and pleasure. Neither the mind nor the hands can find anything interest­ing to do. In contrast with the other troubles of the spirit which have been mentioned, there is little excuse for this great emptiness. For there is a marvelous cure for boredom, universally available, readily tapped, and virtually in­exhaustible: the fine arts.

This claim hardly needs defense. Nor is it necessary to enumerate the arts and to identify their re­spective potentialities for beguil­ing the mind and the heart. For illustrative purposes, however, let us consider one form of art enjoy­ment which is available to virtu­ally every normal human being, young or old, learned or simple, saint or sinner—reading. Its great virtue for education for privacy is that it is a strictly private ex­perience. No other human being is necessary to the reader at the moment of reading. He can take his book with him to the jungle or the desert, on the ocean, or the mountaintop. He can select his company at will, and rid himself of it by a turn of the hand. It is potentially an inexhaustible re­source: all ages of history; all countries; all varieties of human beings, and even of animals and plants and physical things; the entire range of human thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears, con­quests and failures, victories and defeats; the real and the ideal—all are available at the turn of a page for the reader’s contempla­tion and understanding.

The Arts

When we measure the impov­erishment of him to whom this world is literally and figuratively a closed book, whose ear is deaf to music and whose eye blind to the glories of painting and sculp­ture, we come to realize the re­sponsibility of liberal education for instruction in the arts. I say instruction purposely, because I believe that the presentation of opportunities for enjoyment and training in appreciation are not enough: there should also be in­struction and encouragement in the production of art. As even the bungling amateur knows, there is no greater source of pleasure than creative activity.

The training of the most modest talent is an enrichment of a per­sonality and develops another pri­vate resource for leisure hours.

Even the unsuccessful attempt to create art, moreover, clarifies the understanding of art. To be sure, just as it is not necessary to trou­ble our friends with our thoughts, so it is not necessary to bore our friends with our productions. It is, after all, not the improvement of the neighbor but the improve­ment of oneself that is the immedi­ate object of education for pri­vacy.

An understanding of the world, a vision of the good life, serenity of spirit, appreciation and prac­tice of the fine arts—these, then, are the elements of the integrated personality, the development of which is the immediate object of liberal education. These are the resources which are accumulated in the course of education for pri­vacy. Why, now, is it so important for every individual to possess these resources? In the first place, simply because he is going to need them. We never know when we are going to lose our external re­sources, our public possessions.

Without private resources the individual has nothing to turn to when disappointment, frustration, or misfortune become his lot. In the great depression which is still vivid in our memories, there were many individuals who possessed only external resources. When they lost these, life was over for them. They could not go on living with themselves because of their intellectual, moral, emotional, and artistic poverty. He who possessed these resources, however, could ex­claim with Thoreau: "Oh, how I laugh when I think of my vague, indefinite riches! No run on the bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment."

Resources of the spirit are like savings: they must be accumu­lated before they are needed. When they are needed, there is no substitute for them. Sooner or later, the individual faces the world alone, and that moment may overwhelm him if he has no re­sources within himself.

Distraction helps but little and betrays us when we least expect it. We can escape our physical en­vironment and our neighbors, but we cannot escape ourselves. Every­one with any maturity of experi­ence and self-knowledge knows that the loneliest moments are sometimes experienced in the midst of the greatest crowds and the most elaborate entertainments. "The man at war with himself is at war, though he sits in a garden surrounded by flowers and singing birds," says the novelist Cloete in Congo Song.

The Psychopathic Leader

And now, in conclusion, I wish again to pay my respects to the other half-truth, the improve­ment of others, which was so cav­alierly dismissed in the beginning of this essay. That objective, to­gether with the other objective, self-improvement, compose the whole truth, which is the grand objective of liberal education. Ed­ucation for privacy and education for public service constitute education of the whole personality. He who is not educated for privacy is hardly fit to educate others. The blind cannot lead the blind. The man who is not at peace with him­self cannot be trusted to lead his fellow men in the ways of peace.

The unbalanced leader is cer­tain to unbalance the society in which he functions. Even the lead­er who is intent on the side of the good but who is a fanatic will stimulate fanaticism in his fol­lowers, arouse dogmatism and big­otry, and induce oppression and cruelty. When he is on the side of evil, he will lead his followers into such excesses and wickedness as will shame all humanity, and which even the innocent will wish to forget as soon as possible. Social pathology must in the last analysis be focused on the sickness of the individuals who compose the so­ciety. It is pure imagination, if not nonsense, to ascribe the ignor­ance, unbalance, and wickedness of a collection of human beings to a mysterious social entity such as the group mind or the social organism. We might as well divorce the concept of an epidemic from the notion of the individuals who are ill, or ascribe hunger to a so­cietal stomach. People mislead one another exactly as they infect one another. The psychopathic leader is potentially as dangerous as the carrier of an infectious disease.

The Safe Leader

The safe leader, in terms of the elements of education for privacy, is one who understands his place in the world and can thus envisage the place of his fellow men; who can morally respect himself and can thus be respected by others; who has learned to control his emotions and can thus be trusted to exert control over others; who has learned to live in peace and contentment with himself and can thus with propriety urge others to do likewise.

We are living in a world and in a time when powerful leaders with millions of fanatical followers are committed to the forcible regimen­tation of their fellow men, accord­ing to formulas which have no initial authority but that of their own private dogmatism. They not only refuse to recognize the right of private thought and personal conscience to be considered in the management of public affairs, but they have abolished the con­cept of the individual as a private personality and have reduced him to the level of the bee in the hive. To restore the individual to his former dignity as a human being is the urgent need of the day. This, in my opinion, should be the special objective of contemporary education.

But liberal education must so educate the individual that he is manifestly worthy of having his dignity recognized. If he wishes to lead his fellows, he must first learn to lead himself. Without education for privacy he will neither merit leadership nor learn to recognize it in others. He will strive in vain for happiness and success in private or public life until he has achieved understand­ing, goodness, serenity, and con­tentment within himself. That, according to my exegesis, is in this connection the meaning of the Biblical text: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" It is surely what Thomas Hardy meant when he wrote:

He who is with himself dissatisfied,

Though all the world find satisfaction in him,

Is like a rainbow-coloured bird gone blind,

That gives delight it shares not.

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December 2014

Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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