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tual aid and work in common was the normal and recognized method of progress.
b. Moral Education
The problem of moral education is exactly analagous to the problems we have just been discussing in connection with logic and the teaching of mathematics. Do we want to produce individuals subject to the constraint of tradition and the outlook of previous generations? If we do, then the authority of the teacher and possibly lessons in ‘morality', together with a system of combined rewards and punishments to reinforce this morality of obedience, will be sufficient. But do we not rather wish to produce both free consciences and individuals who respect the liberties of others? In that case it is quite clear that neither the authority of the teacher nor the best lessons in morality that he can give will suffice to engender those living relations which are at the same time both independent and reciprocal. Only social life amongst the pupils themselves, i.e. self-government, encouraged as far as possible and forming a parallel to the intellectual work in common, can hope to lead to that double development of personality, master of itself and yet imbued with respect for the personality of others.
Many educational experiments have revealed the practical results of self-government where it is not introduced as an artificial system imposed from above and in consequence a contradiction in itself, but corresponds to the spirit of the school as a whole. At the same time psychological investigation has established the respective influence of authoritative and reciprocal relationships between adults and children and amongst the children themselves. Already far advanced before the last war, these educational and psychological experiments found a valuable sphere of operations in the tragic circumstances which produced the numerous 'children's towns' in the wake of the war itself, and their results have been very encouraging. It is perhaps from these little societies of children brought together by their common sufferings that we have obtained our soundest reasons for hoping that a better future may be ahead of mankind, because they have shown us that a renewal of the human being is possible in an atmosphere of love and liberty, i.e. not one of authority and obedience, but of responsibilities freely assumed.
We have already seen that the two correlative aspects of personality are independence and reciprocity. Unlike the individual who has not yet achieved the stage of personality and who characteristically ignores all rules and centres on himself all the relations which attach him to his physical and social environment, the personality is the individual who see himself in his true perspective in relation to others, i.e. he takes his place in a system of reciprocal relationships involving simultaneously an independent discipline and a fundamental decentralization of his own activity. The two essential problems of moral education are thus to facilitate this decentralization and to establish this discipline. But what means, provided either by the psychological nature of the child or by the relationships already established between the child and the various persons who play a rôle in his environment, are at the disposal of the teacher to enable him to achieve this double aim ?
Three kinds of sentiments or emotional tendencies of importance to the moral life are present from the beginning in the mental constitution of the child. First of all there is the need to love, and it plays an essential rôle and develops in a variety of forms from the cradle to adolescence. Secondly there is the feeling of fear of anything which is bigger and stronger than himself, a feeling which plays no small rôle in habits of obedience and conformism exploited in varying degrees by various systems of moral education. And thirdly there is a composite feeling composed simultaneously of love and fear; this is the feeling of respect, whose exceptional importance in the development or exercise of the moral conscience is stressed by all moralists. Some moralists regard respect as a secondary emotional state unique of its kind. Unlike love or fear, it does not attach itself to other individuals, but directly to the values or the moral laws incarnate in these individuals. To respect a person, according to Kant, amounts to a respect for the moral law within him, or, according to Durkheim, for the discipline he represents and exercises. According to other authors, respect, whilst it may subsequently take on higher forms, is first of all, like the two other feelings, a sentiment from the individual and takes its rise from that mixture of love and fear that the infant feels for his parents and for the adult in general (before the advent of conflict and disillusion affects the original attitude).
The relationships between the infant and the various persons
of his environment play a fundamental rôle in the development of moral sentiments according to whether the one or the other of the three kinds of emotional tendencies we have just mentioned is uppermost in them. It is, in fact, essential to realize that whilst the child has within himself all the elements necessary for the development of a moral conscience or 'practical reason', just as for the development of the intellectual conscience, or simply ‘reason', neither the one nor the other are given, already formed quantities at the beginning of mental development, and they both develop in close connection with their social environment. Thus the relations of the child with the individuals on whom it is dependent are, properly speaking, formative, and they do not confine themselves, as is generally believed, to exercising an influence, more or less profound, but, as it were, accidental, in relation to the development of elementary moral reality.
One of the first types of relationship is that which produces a feeling of obligation and with it the first duties accepted by the child and felt as obligations. What is the origin of that striking, and on reflection surprising, phenomenon we now encounter? The baby, though hardly able to utter a few words, and at an age when all actions are spontaneous and in play, accepts orders and feels himself under an obligation to obey them (whether he actually does so or, in disobeying them, feels a sense of guilt and embarrassment towards the adult). It has been shown that when two conditions are present together the feeling of duty will arise. The first is that the child should receive orders from some one (don't go into the street; don't tell lies, etc). But why does the child accept such orders instead of ignoring them (as he can do so cunningly when someone is telling him stories which bore him) ? His acceptance is not brought about merely by the imposition of a stronger will. Fear alone does not compel, but produces obedience which is purely external and, incidentally, of an interested nature (the order is obeyed in order to avoid punishment, etc). The fact that there is an internal acceptance, and therefore feeling of obligation, remains to be explained. It is at this point that the second condition comes into play and connects up with one of the three things enumerated above in connection with the
P. Bovet, Les conditions de l'Obligation de Conscience, Année psychologique, 1912.
spontaneous tendencies of the child. The order is not accepted freely and does not produce a feeling of obligation unless it comes from a person who is respected, i.e. a person who is loved and feared simultaneously, and not merely one or the other of these emotional states. Thus a child will not feel itself obliged to obey an order given by a brother whom it loves but does not fear, or of a stranger, whom it merely fears, whereas the orders of a mother or a father will be accepted as an obligation, and the obligation will still be felt even if the order is, in fact, disobeyed. This first type of relation, which is certainly the initial factor in the formation of moral sentiments, may well remain operative throughout the whole period of infancy and prevail over all others according, to the type of moral education adopted.
But although we realize at once the importance of this first form of moral relation we also realize its inadequacy from the point of view with which we are dealing here. This respect of the child for the adult is the source of obedience and submission and it remains essentially unilateral, because although the adult may respect the child he does not do so in the same way (he does not feel himself in any way obliged by the orders of the child). In so far as it is unilateral this initial form of respect is thus above all a heteronomous factor. As he grows up the child soon discovers that the adult himself is subject to influences outside himself, and sooner or later the law is regarded as superior to the respected person. And further, one day the child realizes the multiplicity of orders, some of them contradictory, which he receives, and he is thus compelled to make a choice and establish priorities. But without a source of morality apart from unilateral respect alone, the latter will remain what it was in the first place, an instrument of submission to ready-made orders and to rules whose origin remains external to the subject which accepts them.
At the other extreme of those relations between individuals which form moral values is the feeling of mutual respect. 1 Arising between equals and containing no element of authority, mutual respect is still composed of love and fear, but the latter is merely the fear of losing the respect of the other. Thus it replaces the external heteronomous pressure characteristic of unilateral respect by the independence necessary to its own existence and recog
1 Piaget, Le Jugement Moral chez L'Enfant, Alcan.
nizable by the fact that the individuals who feel themselves obliged by it themselves take part in setting up the rules which oblige them. Thus mutual respect is also a source of obligations, but it engenders a new type of obligation which, properly speaking, does not impose ready-made rules but only the method by which they are made. Now that method is nothing but reciprocity, not in the sense of an exact balance of good and evil, but as a mutual coordination of opinions and actions.
Now what are the effects of these two forms of respect, unilateral and mutual, from the double standpoint of the decentralization of the ego and the constitution of an independent discipline which we have postulated as necessary for the education of moral personality? We shall recognize them without difficulty in exact parallel to what we have already discovered earlier on concerning the education of the intellectual personality. In fact, education founded on authority and merely unilateral respect has the same disadvantages from the moral as from the intellectual viewpoint. Instead of leading the individual to develop the rules and discipline he is to recognize, or to co-operate in that development, it imposes a system of ready-made and immediately categoric imperatives. Now just as there exists a sort of contradiction in adhering to an exterior intellectual truth without having first re-discovered and verified it, we can ask ourselves in the same way whether there is not a certain moral inconsistency in recognizing an obligation without having discovered its validity independently.
There is a great deal of psychological evidence on the point arrived at by greatly differing methods; studies of the behaviour of children at first subjected to authoritarian methods, or placed in self-governing communities, then changed from one to the other and having to adapt themselves to new conditions; 1 investigations into the development of moral judgement in children; the analysis of emotional conflicts between parents and children, and of the unconscious persistence of parental authority, etc. Now the results of these various investigations are seen to conform: discipline imposed from without either stifles the moral personality or thwarts rather than favours its development. It produces a sort of compromise between an external layer of duties or conformist behaviour and an ego still centred on itself because no
Cf. the work of the Lewin school (Lippit, etc).