I think that the primary goal of life is to find happiness, which means to find interest. Education should be a preparation for life. Our culture has not been very successful. Our education, politics and economics lead to war. Our medicines have not done away with diseases. Our religion has not abolished corruption and theft. The advances of the age are advances toward robotics, toward radio and television and toward electronics and jet planes. There is a menace of new world wars because the world’s social conscience is still primitive.
If we feel like questioning today, we can pose a few questions. Why does man seem to have many more diseases than animals have? Why does man hit and kill in wars? Why does cancer increase? Why does man think but not feel? Why are there so many suicides? Why is there racial discrimination? Why, a thousand whys about our vaunted state of technological progress?
I ask these questions because I am a teacher, the one who deals with the young. I ask these questions because those so often asked by teachers are the unimportant ones, the ones about school subjects. I ask what good can come out of discussions about American or ancient history. These subjects do not matter a lot compared to the larger question of life’s natural accomplishment, of man’s inner happiness.
When I lecture students at teacher training universities, I am often shocked at the childishness of these youths full of useless knowledge. They know a lot in history, literature and sciences, but in their view of life many of them are still children because they have been taught to know, but have not been permitted to feel. These students are friendly, pleasant, but something is missing in them which is the emotional factor, the power to subordinate thinking to feel. Their textbooks do not deal with human character, or with love, or with freedom, or with self determination. This is how our system works. Its target is book learning, that is to...