Sunday, January 05, 2014

Hands and the origins of learning...

From Hand Work and Head Work by Countess Maria Marenholtz-Bülow:
Froebel went back to the origin of origins— to the first beginnings of human life — in order that he might there discover the points of contact at which childish activity must begin. The child acquires its first knowledge of things by action, by touching and feeling with its hands. Objects must be such as a child can handle in order that it may obtain, so to say, the first data from which its conceptions must start. If a child, for instance, were merely to look at the things surrounding him, it would be impossible for him to gain any notion of their weight, of their substance, of whether they were hard or soft, and so forth. This handling of things, this analysis and combination of their separate parts, which Froebel's system comprises, form the first childish work, and combines mental with bodily activity. And because this process of knowing things through impressions on the limbs and senses corresponds to the nature of the children, as it does to the nature of humanity, it affords them enjoyment. And in this first enjoyment of activity we find the only solution to the difficulty of overcoming the indolence of nature — the inertness of unspiritualized matter...

If the instinct of activity is not awakened and gratified, it will give place to a spirit of indolence, which is so great a hindrance to development and to virtue. This earliest childish work begins — as in the development of humanity — with the moulding and shaping of the work-tools, through cultivation of the senses and organs. All the little objects of childish construction serve to awaken the first feelings of delight in order and regularity, symmetry of form, in harmony of colours, &c, and thus to kindle a love of the beautiful in the child's soul. With the child, as with humanity, the elements of art are the means of awakening the mind and spirit.

If the soul of man is to attain only to the dimmest perception of the organic continuity of the universe, he must master the conditions of organism in the least. Wherever there is a co-ordination of parts to form a whole, in a systematic manner or according to rules, and in obedience to a dominating idea, we have a pattern of the organic This is true of the smallest work of art, because through harmonious co-ordination of parts it represents an idea as a whole. It is only by absorbing into and reproducing outside himself the combinations of the outward world that man can arrive at a true conception of the organic universe.
These days, children are trained from the tenderest of ages to push buttons and slide fingers across screens as their form of both learning and expression. , writing from the modern genetic standpoint, says : ". . . of all bodily members the hand is the most human and the most noble. In its features and capabilities is symbolized all that man has achieved in his long upward march from the primeval ooze."-- Dr. Robert MacDougall

Make, fix and create...

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