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.H86Incorrect Conceptiondoing things is not in the least disturbed by the fact that " his way " has never worked well in the past, and, as his teacher is careful to point out to him, can never work well in the future, for the simple reason that " his way " is essentially wrong for his purpose, that, in fact, what he thinks of as a " difficulty " is not a difficulty in itself, but simply the result of " his way " of going to work.Further, the teacher will point out that any reason he may have had in the past for clinging to " his way " of doing things no longer exists, because the practical help that the teacher is able to give him places him in a totally new position in regard to his " difficulty "; so that all he has to do is to stop trying to overcome his difficulty " his way," and, instead, to remember and follow out the new instructions, by which means he will obtain the result he desires.This cannot be called an unreasonable proposition, if we have once allowed that a teacher should be trusted to know more than his pupil about the particular matter in hand.In my experience, however, the pupil who has been brought up on subconscious methods is not attracted, as a rule, by this form of reasoning when faced with a " difficulty."And so it comes about that, although a teacher may demonstrate to a pupil over and over again that he will never be able to do what he is trying to do unless he changes his " means-whereby " (gives up, that is, " his way " of doing it), the pupil will still go on trying to overcome his difficulty " his way." 1Similarly, although a teacher may assure his pupil over and over again that, if only he will adopt the new means given to him, he will be able to do quite easily the thing he has always believed he cannot do, the pupil will not make any attempt to adopt the new means.He will go on, in fact, trying to be right" his way," and always being wrong.More unreasonable still, after a certain time he will actually begin to worry because he finds that he is not getting on, that " his way " is not working.Could anything be more unreasonable ?Suppose a man starts out to reach a certain destination and 1 It must be pointed out that in such instances as the one we are discussing, the pupil's " right way " is the wrong way.The right way (that is, the teacher's right way) is the very last that would ever be recognized by the pupil as the " right way," because this right way has never yet come within the pupil's experiences.Incorrect Conception 87comes to a place where the road branches into two.Not knowing the way, he takes the wrong road of the two and gets lost.He asks the way of someone he meets and is told to go straight back to the crossroads and take the other road, which will lead him directly to the place he wants to reach.What should we say if we heard that the man had gone back to the crossroads as directed, but had there concluded that he knew better after all than his adviser, had taken again his old road, and again got lost, and had done this thing not once or twice, but over and over again ? Still more, what should we say if we heard that he was worrying dreadfully because he kept getting lost, and seemed no nearer to getting to his destination ?I can see the reader's look of scepticism as he reads this and assures himself that he, at any rate, could not be guilty of the crime of not really attempting to do that which he knows he can do, or of not ceasing to try to do that which the experience of hours, days—nay, of years—has proved to be the impossible in his particular case.Yet this is more or less what happens in the case of every pupil, even of those who are accounted the most intelligent, the most highly educated, the most scientifically trained, and this serves to strengthen my conviction that the principles underlying present methods of education are erroneous.Indeed, it would seem that our educational systems, our methods of training in scientific and professional spheres, have tended actually to cultivate and establish the defect to which I have referred.To call it a defect is to use a word that is inadequate to express what really amounts to the loss of one-half of our original psycho-physical endowment by the gradually decreasing use of the invaluable process called inhibition.And I repeat that the comparative loss of this most valuable potentiality is chiefly due to the erroneous principles which underlie our teaching methods in all spheres.Those who are responsible for these methods have not realized the importance of holding the balance true in every sphere of life between the desire to do (volition) and the ability to check that desire (inhibition).The words " volition " and " inhibition " are in constant use in these pages" and I wish at this point to "make it clearly understood that they are used merely as names for two respective acts, volition standing for the act of responding to some stimulus (or stimuli) to psycho-physical action (doing), and inhibition 88Incorrect Conceptionstanding for the act of refusing to respond to some stimulus (or stimuli) t o psycho-physical action (not doing).In other words, volition is used to name what we intend to do, and inhibition to name what we refuse to do—that is, to name what we wish to hold in check, we wish to prevent [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]