“To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”
For ages education has had to do chiefly with the memory. This faculty has been taxed to the utmost, while the other mental powers have not been correspondingly developed. Students have spent their time in laboriously crowding the mind with knowledge, very little of which could be utilized. The mind thus burdened with that which it cannot digest and assimilate is weakened; it becomes incapable of vigorous, self-reliant effort, and is content to depend on the judgment and perception of others.
Seeing the evils of this method, some have gone to another extreme. In their view, man needs only to develop that which is within him. Such education leads the student to self-sufficiency, thus cutting him off from the source of true knowledge and power.
The education that consists in the training of the memory, tending to discourage independent thought, has a moral bearing which is too little appreciated. As the student sacrifices the power to reason and judge for himself, he becomes incapable of discriminating between truth and error, and falls an easy prey to deception. He is easily led to follow tradition and custom.
It is a fact widely ignored, though never without