G. Stanley (Granville Stanley) Hall.

Morale, the supreme standard of life and conduct online

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(d) Religion is cryingly in need of a new dispen-
sation. Countless clergymen at the front have seen
the limitations of the old creeds and of even certain
forms of service, and have found new ideals and pos-
tulated reforms of a far-reaching nature. The school,
which hitherto had dealt with this problem in the
rather cheap though in its time very effective method
of secularization, must now find some way of bring-



ing back the religious spirit into our system of public
as well as private education. The abatement of sects
and their intolerance, and more mutual understand-
ing and comradeship, which the war has stimulated,
must now find other expressions of the very essence
of religion, which is love and service of God and man,
so that the school, which everywhere began as an out-
growth of the religious sentiment, shall be able to
utilize it again. Whatever cultivated adults may
think of religion, its formulations of transcendentali-
ties will forever be of the greatest value to growing
minds, and that we have no widespread and strong
effort to bring in the new dispensation that is pos-
sible here, and which France has seemed well on the
way to realizing even before the war, shows that we
have not risen to one of the very highest of all the de-
mands of the new morale.

The medical and legal professions have an ethical
code which, if too flagrantly violated, may lead to de-
barring from practice or at least from the association.
These are meant to keep up morale, and the Hippo-
cratic oath appeals more to the sense of honor than
to that of duty. Indeed the maintenance of stand-
ards for all degrees, even those that are honorary, is
a matter of morale for institutions conferring them.
The moral tone of the higher institutions of learning,
and even of secret college fraternities, differs very
greatly, as is seen in the licet and non licet sentiment
of student graduate opinion. In southern colleges
the appeal to honor, even in such matters as cheating



at examinations, lias proved more effective than in
northern institutions, due to the old cavalier chivalry
which can do what the vestiges of the Puritan con-
science in the North and East cannot do. Each in-
stitution tends to develop a spirit peculiar to itself,
something too intangible to be accessible to any aca-
demic survey, and rarely defined but very effective,
e. g., in the loyalty of the alumni.

Research, too, has its own morale, which requires
full acknowledgment of the work of others, whether
rivals, assistants, or even students, and a gentlemanly
tone of criticism. The professor who is also an in-
vestigator and who would train others to advance
the boundaries of knowledge, should have no reserva-
tions from his advanced fellows and should not make
them merely ancillary to his own work, as has been
so common in German universities. He must nurse
them along and realize that to-day the higher educa-
tion is complete for no one until his mind has been
set into independent activity and he has striven with
all his might to contribute something, trivial though
it be, to the sum of human knowledge. In some topic,
whatever it may be, he must feel that he is a master
and an authority, that he can really teach anyone,
and this will make him more docile to the contribu-
tions of others in our modern expert-ruled world. One
experience of submitting a new thesis to the consensus
of the competent often marks the end of apprentice-
ship and the beginning of mastership. It is a kind of
royal accolade. It is like the first taste of blood to



a young tiger. It is the acme of democracy, at once
the culmination and the palladium of individuality,
and makes the student a citizen in the world of sa-

Faculties, too, must be democratized at the ex-
pense, whenever necessary, of the power of presidents
and deans. Their members should control all inter-
nal affairs that pertain to how and what to teach,
standards, degrees, etc., and academic freedom should
be limited only by the present and prospective service
of the institution to the community.

As to control, every school-board must be kept as
pure from every suspicion of party politics as from
jobbery and corruption. The superintendent must be
given complete authority in every item of methods
and internal organization, the planning of buildings,
the engagement and even discharge of teachers, etc.
In all these things he must be an expert recognized
and trusted as such. Boards should be small and
elected by the people at large instead of by wards. All
public academic control must also be non-sectarian
but approved, and even denominational institutions
may share in the public funds. In the old Eastern
endowed and also in the state colleges and universi-
ties the body of alumni should be represented on the
Board, and current methods of "drives" for funds,
which now sometimes almost amount to extortion and
hold-ups, should be mitigated, and executives should
be relieved of the duty of excessive beggary and be
able to wear their hats on their heads, and not be


obliged to stand in the market place with them in
their hands. Trustees should never meddle with in-
ternal matters, even of organization, any more than
presidents should invade departments, and the teach-
ing staff should have trustee representation. Trav-
eling agents and drummers of students, too flagrant
advertising, and. competitive bidding and over-bid-
dings for Fellows are not compatible with the highest
morale or with academic dignity or self-respect. Bach-
elors seeking higher degrees should not sell them-
selves to the highest bidder but should be sympa-
thetically encouraged to weigh and compare not only
the merit of each institution and its general fitness
to supply what they need, but to evaluate the reputa-
tion of individual professors, which should count for
so much but in fact counts for so little in such

All knowledge whatever originated in practical
needs. It grew only because and so far as it was use-
ful. This the history of each science and of culture
in general abundantly shows, and so does the logic
of psychogenesis. Helmholtz said in substance that
all of our real knowledge of any object, e. g., a chair,
if analyzed, consists of nothing whatever but an
ensemble of actual or posssible uses of it, and Kant
made such basal concepts and postulates as even
those of God, freedom, and soul undemonstrable by
themselves but superior to the categories of pure rea-
son because they work so well, for working well is the
supreme test not only of all hypotheses but of all



ideas. Accepting this pragmatism, all tliat we call
pure or abstract knowledge only seems so to us be-
cause the services it was evolved to perform are no
longer needed or better done otherwise, that is, be-
cause we have forgotten the history of culture.

All these branches of learning that have no prac*
tical application now once had or they would never
have arisen. Without this they are vestigial. All
their so-called liberal culture value, which is often
very great, is simply recapitulatory, giving the stu-
dent a larger repertory of the successive mental at-
titudes of the soul as the individual rushes up the
phyletic ladder which the race has so slowly and la-
boriously climbed. It also helps to knit the manifold
constellations that compose the soul of the individual
into a unity against all the dissociative tendencies of
modern life.

But always and everywhere all knowledge that is
useless is dead, and hence all educational institu-
tions and methods, indispensable as they are, must be
a little falsetto and unreal compared with the teach-
ings of the great school of lifo, success in which is the
supreme test as well as the origin of all intellectual
content and values. Mere learning, especially when
cloistered with a minimum of usefulness, may be-
come a psychological monstrosity and be evolved at
the expense of service and bring progressive paraly-
sis of social efficiency. Kennen, kdnnen, thun, Char-
akter are the four stages of true wisdom.

Now it is in this field of conduct that this dispro-



portion between knowing and doing is greatest. None
of us lives up to our knowledge even in such matters
as diet, regimen, sex, and personal hygiene generally.
The same is true in individual, social, civic, and re-
ligious life. In these domains dead knowledge most
abounds, and if all lived up to their highest insights
and realized all the good intentions they feel instead
of letting them pave hell, the world would take a great
step forward in the pathway of regeneration. It is
true everywhere but most of all here that as under
the principles of the new charity, which has become
a science as well as a virtue, we have no right to give
doles to beggars unless we can rely upon some agency
that sees to it that our gift does the recipient good
and not harm, so we have no right to impart knowl-
edge unless we have some effective method of assur-
ance that the learning we teach will seep down into
the heart and touch disposition, and predispose those
who acquire it to use its power for good rather than
for evil. The ancient sophists taught that knowing
virtue was halfway to its achievement, and that to sin
knowingly was better than to sin ignorantly. Chris-
tianity teaches exactly the reverse. Thus in a sense
it is a dangerous thing to study ethics and to try to
teach virtue, which so many men of ancient Greece
thought could not be done because the contrast be-
tween the high ideals of a conscience thus enlight-
ened and daily life is all the greater. This danger
was well illustrated in the report of the French Com-
mission on the teaching of civics and morals in the



upper grades of the Lycee, wherein it was set forth
that the best class work in the study of the texts on
this subject and also the best theses in this field were
by no means the work of the best but often of the
worst boys. If we only had a means of reducing back
to primeval ignorance those who make a bad use of
knowledge, society would be vastly benefited. This
is uniquely true also in all those fields of intellection
where questions of right and wrong are involved. If
we teach the young to prove that honesty is the best
policy, we may by the very process of so doing invite
the casuistry that would disprove it, and so of all the
virtues, for to sophisticate is to weaken them. Know-
ing may not only come to vicariate for duty but may
atrophy the will. Thus it is that by what seems a
strange paradox it is precisely in the domain of
morals that morale is prone to sink lowest, if not to
pass over into its opposite.

We are proud to call ours a Christian civilization
and age, but do we imitate Christ or do we not rather
vicariate for so doing by the method of overdetermi-
nation or stressing creeds, rites, and orthodoxies
chiefly of intellectual origin? Jesus was the world's
model of self-abnegation, pure, obedient to the Great
Father, and He regarded riches and honors as vanity.
If He came again, would He deem the church Chris-
tian or more like the Pharisees of His day? Have we
lost some of the flavor of sincerity and real convic-
tion here? So, too, we profess democracy, but do we
believe, practice, or have we merely begun to realize



it? In our educational system we have gone far, but
are we nearing the true goal of man's perfection ? We
now know much of eugenics but practice its laws only
on our flocks and crops. We are taught thrift and
economy but are the most wasteful of all nations and
most regardless of our natural resources.

Now, morale consists in acting up to our best
knowledge, and the loss of it is marked by the accu-
mulation of dead knowledge not cast into conduct
forms or wrought into habit. It is just here that we
find at least one bright spot in the somber horizon,
viz., physical culture, not so much as it is as it seems
beginning to be and may sometime become if more of
its leaders have more vision. The muscles are the or-
gans of the will, and if they are developed and kept
at concert pitch, nothing could probably do quite so
much to narrow the wide and deep chasm between
our noetic and our conative faculties. The old Turn-
ers said that this muscle culture made them frisch,
frei, frohlich, and fromm. We would not merely cul-
tivate the therapeutic athletics that finds weak parts
and functions, and devises and prescribes methods
and apparatus to strengthen them. Nor was Jahn's
idea of making the body able to do everything pos-
sible for it as a machine sufficient. Nor is the more
frenzied training to win special victories on the dia-
mond, gridiron, or in the ring sufficient. We need
a universal compulsory body cult, with examinations,
to counteract the physical degeneration produced by
urban and sedentary life and the ever greater special-



ization of our industries, which, has now been so
startlingly revealed to us by the percentage of unfit-
ness among the draftees. Modern life overworks the
smaller accessory muscles and tends to neglect the
older and more massive ones that move the trunk and

Now, action is the language of complete men, and
no culture is finally acquired that does not pass over
and become set in conduct and habits, for doing is the
best method and organ of knowing. The deeper the
stratum of motor mechanization in which we embody
our good impulses and precepts, the more complete
and secure is their acquisition. Thus the better
the quality of muscle, the more effective the will,
for motor habits pre-form not only character and
conduct but belief itself. Virtue is chiefly a matter
not of knowledge but of practice. It is an art vastly
more than a science, skill more than ideas. Even the
purest thought is only action more or less repressed,
just as all aesthetic enjoyment springs from and can
be genetically reduced back to service, because all of
what we call beauty is simply what once was use. All
culture that stops in the first and most superficial,
i. e. } the noetic stage, is not only useless but danger-
ous, and the conflicts it engenders are a serious drain
upon morale.

Now physical education and hygiene have cultural
possibilities which our colleges and universities, ow-
ing to their deplorably low morale, have never begun
to appreciate. Faculties and athletic committees



have to profess and cultivate a falsetto enthusiasm
for it while secretly though perhaps unconsciously
fearing it (a fear unheard of in any other author-
ized field of academic life), or they are at least jeal-
ous of the enthusiasm often manifested for a popular
and successful coach. Perhaps there never was a
professor who dabbled with athletic rules or rooted
with the undergraduates at an interscholastic game
who would not almost mortgage his soul if he knew
how to generate in his own department a hundredth
part of the zest and enthusiasm that goes into these
great conflicts. Could this entire energy be turned
upon the work of the classroom, library, seminary,
and study, we should have nothing less than an aca-
demic revival. But most academic (ions are pitifully
timid of routine and tradition, and their meetings
are so tedious and dreary as to suggest Pope's
"Dunciad" or Dickens' "Circumlocution Office."
Nothing worth while is ever likely to emanate from

But the first step toward rescuing academic morale
could best be taken in the field of body culture, be-
cause only here can we find those with muscle taut
enough to do the right thing when they know it. Let,
then, the athletes and their leaders and organizers
insist that one or more chairs on the subject be
established as soon as the right men can be found
or trained, for I doubt if more than one or at the
most three could be found ready to-day in the whole
country. This department should be given full aca-


demic rank and credits, and its culture value amply
realized. There are wide fields liere quite uncurricu-
larized which are rank with educational possibilities.
Hygiene public and personal for almost everything
man does, physical and mental, can be done in a hy-
gienic or unhygienic way; precepts national, family
and personal for preserving health and preventing
illness; plays, games, and recreations, and their his-
tory down to the modern playground ; the story and
culture value of each of the chief sports and athletic
contests of to-day and of the past; the wonderful
record of gymnastics in ancient Greece, especially in
her four great festivals where "everyone who loved
gold or glory came'-' and "in comparison to the splen-
dor of which Death and Night never seemed so black ;"
the patriotic Turner movement of Jahn and his fol-
lowers who said that only strong muscles can make
men great and nations free, toward which German
rulers felt the same timidity and suspicion that many
modern dons do toward our great games; the chief
systems of physical training all have culture motives
and results.

There should be, too, a few leaves from the history
of medicine in its long fight with man's great enemy,
disease, all treated in the broad way of Billroth or
of Sprengel, who made the story of the healing art
almost coextensive with histories of both science and
philosophy. The culture values of dancing, too, box-
ing, fencing, swimming, wrestling, discus-throwing
and shot-putting, leaping, running, rowing, should be



brought out, stressing always training, regimen, and
the contributions and dangers of each for morale,
and showing the value of each kind of exercise and
even of each industry for character and diathesis, for
bringing out the spirit of team-work, justice, fair
play, honesty, honor, and true sportsmanship. The
mandate to these new professors should be to save for
culture all the enthusiasm that is now so largely
wasted, and in the reaction of the tensions engendered
often worse than wasted. As hydrographic engineers
now seek to use the mountain floods that once made
deep canyons and left arid wastes between and above
them, so the boundless enthusiasm for physical per-
fection and achievement should be made to irrigate
both life and study. To be weak in youth is generally
due to sin and shame somewhere. Besides all this
work, it is high time that we now tested and pre-
scribed for everyone at every age, and aim at nothing
less than national and racial regeneration, for it is
not enough to minimize the dissociation (Janet) and
disharmonious (Metchnikoff) tendencies so rife in
our unique age.



The tendency of the soundest minds to become neurotic when con-
fronted by great problems The Nemesis of mediocrity Dispro-
portionate magnification of items of the treaty Loss of per-
spective and the power to compromise Failure of the League as
involving a relapse to the old selfish continental policy of each
nation for itself.

The hardest of all the hard things man does in this
world is to look a very new and complex situation
that is pressing and important squarely in the face,
comprehend all its elements, assign each its due
weight, and then respond by the right attitude, be-
havior, or decision. To grapple with a great and
vital problem, to act aright in novel conditions un-
daunted by their difficulties, and on great occasions
to be able to summon all our energies and focus them
upon a new goal, when this involves the very condi-
tions of survival, is the essence and acme of morale.
The psychology of greatness teaches us that it con-
sists chiefly in seeing everything in the Here and Now
or in the power of "presentification," while the weak-
ling flees from reality. Great spirits love and seek,
small ones shun occasions to meet which they must
activate all their powers. When such occasions come
unsought, men hitherto inconspicuous often find in
themselves abilities to see and do that were unsus-
pected, perhaps even by themelves, and thus great



crises bring forward new leaders while old guides are
found wanting. Not only lias all human progress
from the very origin of man been made or at least led
by those who had this "excelsior" type of morale,
whose all too often unworded if not unconscious spirit
was that suggested by such ancient phases as Impavi
progrediamur, carpe diem, "nothing ventured, noth-
ing have," and the like, but animal species through all
the evolutionary ages have survived or perished ac-
cording as they had or had not the power of adapta-
tion to the great cosmic changes that went on in their

Psychanalysis is now teaching us the same lesson
in its field. When the problem of his or her life be-
comes too complicated to be faced and met, the neu-
rotic constitution takes flight from reality either to
sickness or to symptoms, phobias, obsessions, or inhi-
hibition, and perversions arise, and cure consists in
envisaging again and aright, with the help of a wise
physician, the essential facts and conditions that con-
front the patient's present life and setting him again
on the right trail. Thus, in a word, cure is restora-
tion of the patient's morale. The ingenuities shown
in the manifold ways of escaping this one thing need-
ful are beyond all computation and show how clever
and adept the human soul is, far down below the
limits of consciousness, in shirking the devoir present
when it becomes too arduous. Some of these fugitives
from facts as they are react to infantile states where
the conditions of life were simpler. In dementia



praecox the patient becomes a Narcissus and loves
and admires only himself, and is arrested in the
pubescent stage of his development. Or, again, he
may become a conceited, egoistic, foolish doctrinaire
impervious to arguments. Others grow rancorous,
suspect plots and persecutions, and evolve endless
precautions against imaginary dangers. Still others
become too timorous to act or even to think and frit-
ter away their energies in inane doubts, and welter
in inanities until all the flavor of conviction is lost.

As I write, our Congress and our thinking public
are confronted in the consideration of the Treaty and
the League of Nations with the most intricate and
difficult problem that the cultural world has ever
faced. Few have even read all the texts themselves,
and of those who have done so, still fewer in this new
country, so remote from Europe and really so igno-
rant of it, are able to see all the relations of its items
to the past of European nations and peoples, to say
nothing of the Orient and of the future. Never have
even the wisest had such a sense of their own incom-
petency to know all that they would and should in
the premises, and to act aright in an emergency where
a decision must soon be made.

The simplest and easiest way, therefore, is to scrap
the whole treaty, and this course would be bound to
grow more seductive to some, while our sense of the
tremendous moment and epoch-making complexity of
it and of our own "apperceptive insufficiency" in-
creases. This course would bring a sudden sense of



holiday easement, like the jubilee remission of a great
debt that long had been hanging over us. Like the
conscientious objector to war, those who advocate
this view might almost be accused of slackerdom un-
worthy of the spirit of our own soldiers who faced the
awful chance of death for a cause they thought
worthy of it. This course finds the widest approval
among the pacifists, who have the horror of all con-
flicts characteristic of some neurotics. To revert to
our former isolation, however, would be to repudiate
most of the obligations and opportunities which the
war has brought. "Safety first" means to men of this
type our own present safety, for what is posterity
and what is Europe to us? Without vision peoples
perish, but prophetic insight into the future is too
hazardous, and adequate knowledge of European con-
ditions is too hard. By remaining juvenile we es-
cape growing pains. It is better to balk and buck
than to draw or carry the heavy load our manifest
destiny now lays upon us. In fact, it is as much our
duty to help settle the world we have done so much
to unsettle as it was to enter the war, and to counsel
abrogation is like calling a retreat after our soldiers
had won a hard victory instead of reaping its fruits.
It would also be to break faith with and desert our

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Online LibraryG. Stanley (Granville Stanley) HallMorale, the supreme standard of life and conduct → online text (page 19 of 25)