Tuesday, February 02, 2010

still the hands, stifle the intellect

There are those who believe that the height of human intelligence involves the use of language, and of course they would likely be the ones standing at the head of the class blathering on and on about it. The following is from Charles H. Ham, Mind and Hand, 1886:
Objects make impressions upon the mind through the senses, and words serve as the means of preserving a record of such impressions and of communicating them to other minds. If, now, the mind should cease to receive impressions, language would no longer be required, since there would be nothing to express; and the occasion for the use of language ceasing to exist, the power of speech would ultimately be lost. The power of speech then, depends upon a continuous succession of impressions made upon the mind by its contact, through the senses, with matter in various forms, whether in nature or in art.

It may also be claimed that the power of speech depends almost entirely upon the endless succession of fresh objects presented to the mind by the hand. These form the subject as well as the occasion of speech. If the hand should cease to make new things, new words would cease to be required. The principal changes in language arise out of new discoveries in science and new inventions in art, each fresh discovery of science giving rise to many new things in art.
And so, in developing a fresh strategy for American education, would it not be best that it be built upon a foundation of hands-on learning and the arts?

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