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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about Cambridge Essays on Education.

To-morrow is the day of opportunity.  To-day is the day of preparation.  Yesterday’s ideals have become the practical politics of the present hour.  Our countrymen recognise now as they have never done before that the problem of national reconstruction is in the main a problem of national education:  “the future welfare of the nation,” to use Mr Fisher’s words, “depends upon its schools.”  Men make light now of the extra millions which a few years ago seemed to bar the way of progress.  At the same time the discipline of the last three years has hammered into us a new consciousness of national solidarity and social obligation.  As the whole energies of a united people are at this moment concentrated on the duty of destruction which is laid upon us, so after the war with no less urgency and no less oneness of heart the whole energies of a united nation must be concentrated on the upbuilding of life.  That upbuilding is to be economic as well as spiritual, but those who think out most deeply the need of the economic situation, are most surely convinced that the problems of industry and commerce are at the bottom human problems and cannot find solution without a new sense of “co-operation and brotherliness[1].”

Such is the need and such the task.  England is looking to her schools as she never did before.  The aim of her education must be both high and wide, higher than lucre, wider than the nation.  And the aim of our education cannot be fulfilled until the education of other peoples is infused with the same spirit.  Education, like finance, must be planned on international lines by international consensus with a view to world peace.  Only so can it fulfil the ultimate end which already looms on the horizon,

    Becoming when the time has birth
    A lever to uplift the earth
  And roll it on another course.

[Footnote 1:  Mr Angus Watson in Eclipse or Empire, p. 88.]

II

THE TRAINING OF THE REASON

By W. R. Inge

Dean of St Paul’s

The ideal object of education is that we should learn all that it concerns us to know, in order that thereby we may become all that it concerns us to be.  In other words, the aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values.  Values are facts apprehended in their relation to each other, and to ourselves.  The wise man is he who knows the relative values of things.  In this knowledge, and in the use made of it, is summed up the whole conduct of life.  What are the things which are best worth winning for their own sakes, and what price must I pay to win them?  And what are the things which, since I cannot have everything, I must be content to let go?  How can I best choose among the various subjects of human interest, and the various objects of human endeavour, so that my activities may help and not hinder each other, and that my life may have a unity, or at least a centre round which my subordinate activities may be grouped.  These are the chief questions which a man would ask, who desired to plan his life on rational principles, and whom circumstances allowed to choose his occupation.  He would desire to know himself, and to know the world, in order to give and receive the best value for his sojourn in it.

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