Essentials Of Unification Thought - The Head-Wing Thought

IV. Traditional Theories of Education

This section introduces representative traditional theories of education. By comparing the Unification Theory of Education with those theories, it will be possible to understand the historical significance of the Unification Theory of Education.

1. Plato's View of Education

According to Plato (427-347 BC), the human soul consists of three parts, namely, the "appetitive part," the "spirited part," and the "rational part." The virtue required in the appetitive part is temperance; the virtue required in the spirited part is courage; and the virtue required in the rational part is wisdom. The virtue that manifests itself when these three virtues are harmonized is justice. There are three social classes in the nation corresponding to these three parts of the soul. The mass of citizens, including tradesmen, artisans, and farmers, form the lower class, corresponding to the appetitive part of the soul. Public officials (guardians) form the middle class, corresponding to the spirited part of the soul. And rulers form the upper class, corresponding to the rational part of the soul. When philosophers who have recognized the "Idea of the Good" rule the nation, an ideal nation is realized. For Plato, what brings people closer to the world of Ideas is education. By that lie was referring to the education of philosophers, a ruling minority. Plato's image of an ideal person was that of "one who loves wisdom" (or a philosopher) and that of "one who is harmonized" -- that is, a person whose mind and body are harmonized, possessing the four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. The purpose of education would be to build an ideal nation, where the Idea of the Good is embodied.

2. The Christian View of Education in the Middle Ages

Whereas in the Age of ancient Greece education pursued the goal of developing good people who would serve the society, in the Christian society of the Middle Ages education aimed at cultivating people who would live the Christian ideal. The image of the ideal medieval person was that of a "religious person" who would love and respect God, while loving his neighbors. Strict education was given, especially in monasteries, to attain a perfect spiritual life, with the virtues of purity, honest poverty, and submission. The purpose of this education was to cultivate people to become good and to prepare them for life after death.

3. View of Education in the Renaissance

In the Age of the Renaissance, a human-centered world view, which valued human dignity, came into being, overthrowing the God-centered world view, which regarded obedience and abstinence as virtues. Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1515) was the main representative of that new, humanistic education. He asserted that the purpose of education is to teach people, who were originally free, to attain the complete development of their human nature and to acquire a rich individual culture. He emphasized the humanistic aspect of culture, such as literature, fine art, and science. Emphasis was also given to physical education, which had been neglected in the Middle Ages. The image of the ideal person in the Renaissance Age was an "all-round man of culture," whose mind and body are harmoniously developed. Erasmus' idea of the return to the original human nature was inherited by Joharm A. Comenius and Jean Jacques Rousseau.

4. Comenius' View of Education

For Joharm A. Comenius (1592-1670), the ultimate purpose of human life is to become united with God and to obtain eternal bliss in life after death, with life here on earth being the preparation for life after death.

For that purpose, everyone should

(1) know all things,
(2) become a person who can control things oneself, and
(3) become like the image of God.

He advocated the necessity of three kinds of education: intellectual education, moral education, and religious education. To teach "all things to all men" was the theme of Comenius' theory of education, which was called pansaphia. 2

Comenius considered that the talent to realize the goals of education is naturally inherent in people, and it is the role of education to bring out this natural gift, that is, "nature." Comenius said that, fundamentally, parents are responsible for education, but should they become unable to do it, schools would become necessary to replace them.

According to Comenius, the image of the ideal person was that of a "pansophist," or a person who has learned all knowledge concerning God, nature, and human beings. The purpose of education is to raise practical Christians who have learned everything knowable, and to realize the peaceful unification of the world through Christianity.

5. Rousseau's View of Education

In the Age of the Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (17121778) wrote an educational novel entitled "Emil" claiming that "God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil." Therefore, he insisted on educating children in a natural way. He asserted that, since man possesses an inherent "natural goodness," his "nature" should be developed as it exists originally. Education, as advocated by Rousseau, aims to develop people naturally through eliminating factors that obstruct the development of their natural gifts, such as indoctrination by established culture and by moral and religious teachings. In actuality, however, "natural man" in the state of nature would not be well suited to the existing society. He thought, however, that in the ideal republican Society, the individual as "natural man" and the individual as citizen of society would get along well. Thus, he also advocated the necessity to educate people to become members of society.

The image of the ideal person in Rousseau's theory of education was that of a "natural man," and the purpose of education, in his view, was to nurture " natural man" and realize the ideal republican society, in which "natural man" would become citizen. Rousseau's theory of education was inherited by Immanuel Kant, Johann H. Pestalozzi, Johann F. Herbart, John Dewey, and others.

6. Kant's View of Education

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) said that "man is the only being who needs education, 4 and that "Man can only become man by education," 5 advocating the importance of education.

According to Kant, the mission of education is to develop people's natural gifts in a harmonious way and to cultivate those who can act freely while following moral laws. Kant's view of education was influenced by Rousseau. Also, Kant asserted that education should not aim at adjustment to any particular society, rather, it should aim, more generally, at the perfection of humankind. He also said education must be cosmopolitan.

On the other hand, Kant said that human beings have a radical evil in their nature. According to him, evil comes into being when moral law is subordinated to self-love. Therefore, Kant said that, through inner conversion, one should come to place moral law above self-love, and that duty so orders it. Respect for morality, trust in science and reverence for God characterize his views on education and on humankind. For Kant, the ideal image of a human being is that of a "good man," and the purpose of education is to perfect human nature of humankind as a whole, thereby establishing everlasting international peace.

7. Pestalozzi's View of Education

Under the influence of Rousseau, Johann H. Pestalozzi (174 11827) advocated education in conformity with "nature" and sought to liberate human nature, or the noble nature inherent in people. He held that when people based themselves upon something simple and pure, they come to do good by intuitively apprehending fundamental principles. He also held that education starts from maternal love in the family, arid asserted that family education forms the basis of education.

Pestalozzi said that there are three fundamental forces forming human nature, namely, mental power, heart power, and technical power; these three, he considered, correspond to mind, heart, and hand. According to him, education of the mind is education of knowledge, education of the heart is moral and religious education, and education of the hand is the education of technique (including physical education). The internal power that unites these powers is love. Love is the basis of heart power and the driving force of moral and religious education. Accordingly, lie advocated that those three types of education should be harmoniously united, centering on moral and religious education. 6

The image of the ideal person advocated by Pestalozzi was that of a person in whom the three fundamental powers are harmoniously developed-in other words, a "whole man." He advocated the education of the "whole man" centered on love and faith. The aim of education was to cultivate human nature and build a moral and religious nation and society.

8. Froebel's View of Education

Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) followed Pestalozzi and further systematized Pestalozzi's view of education.

According to Froebel, nature and humans are unified by God and move according to God's law. Divine nature constitutes the essence of all things, and the mission of all things is to express, reveal, and develop such a nature. Therefore, people should manifest in their lives the divine nature inherent within them, and education should guide people in that direction. He wrote, "The free and spontaneous representation of the divine in man, and through the life of man, which, as we have seen, is the ultimate aim and object of all education, as well as the ultimate destiny of man." 7

Froebel especially emphasized the importance of child education and family education. Froebel's basic position concerning education was that the place to develop children in a natural way is the home, where the parents are the teachers. Like Pestalozzi, lie emphasized the role of the mother. He asserted that kindergarten is a necessary supplement to family education and became the founder of the kindergarten.

The "natural man" with a good nature advocated by Rousseau was, for Pestalozzi, a "whole man" with noble human nature, and for Froebel the image of the ideal person was that of a "whole man with divine nature."

9. Herbart's View of Education

Johann F. Herbart (1775-1841) systematized pedagogy as a science. In doing so, he incorporated ethics and psychology into pedagogy, whereby he established the aim of education from ethics and the means of education from psychology.

First, following Kant, Herbart considered a "good man" to be the image of the ideal person, and the "cultivation of moral character," the goal of education. Next, he pursued the method of education, proposing that what forms the foundation of human spiritual life is presentations in mind: by cultivating the circle of thought, or a collection of presentations, a person's moral character can be cultivated. In other words, he advocated building moral character through teaching knowledge.

Herbart pointed out the importance of instruction in the formation of representations, and explained the process of instruction. According to the Herbartian school, which later revised Herbart's theory, the process of instruction consists of five stages: preparation, presentation, comparison, integration, and application.

10. Dewey's Theory of Education

In die late 19th century, a pragmatic view of life, which placed behavior at the center of human life, was born in the United States. John Dewey (1859-1952) advocated instrumentalism, asserting that the intellect is a tool useful for behavior and that thinking develops in the process of a person's effort to control the environment.

Stating that "education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself," 8 Dewey argued that no kind of purpose should be set in advance for education, but instead, education should be regarded as growth. According to him, "education consists primarily of transmission through communication," 9 and "education is a constant reorganizing or reconstructing of experience." 10 This transmission should be achieved through the medium of the environment rather than directly from adults (teachers) to children, he said. Through such education, society develops. What Dewey intended to achieve was a kind of practical, technical education aimed at the reconstruction of society. The image of the ideal person, in Dewey's theory of education was that of an "active man."

11. The Communist View of Education

Marx and Lenin sharply criticized the kind of education conducted in capitalist society. According to Marx, in capitalist society the educational policies are intended to keep people in ignorance. 11 Teachers are productive laborers who belabor children's heads and work to enrich the school proprietor. 12 According to Lenin, capitalist education is an "instrument of the class rule of the bourgeois," 13 the goal of which is to raise up "docile and efficient servants of the bourgeoisie" and "slaves and tools of capital." 14

In contrast to education in capitalist society, in socialist society, according to Lenin, "The schools must become an instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat." 15 He also said that teachers must become the soldiers who instill the spirit of Communism into the masses of workers. 16

The purpose of Communist education is stated in the preamble of the "Fundamentals of National Education Act" (1973): "The objective of national education in the USSR is to raise a highly cultivated all-round, fully developed, active architect of Communist society who has been raised under Marxist-Leninist thought, with respect for Soviet law and the socialist order, and with Communistic attitude toward labor." 17 In other words, the purpose of Communist education is to raise dedicated people for the construction of Communist society. The image of the ideal person is "the all round, fully developed human being." 18

Then, what are the contents of Communist education? First, it attaches importance to general technical education (or "polytechnism"), as opposed to individual technical education. It then asserts that general technical education should be carried out in connection with labor. Furthermore, it asserts that, in socialist society, there are no conflicts of interest between individuals or groups, and there is no individual apart from a group, claiming, thereby, tire necessity of collective education. The general technical education was systematized by N. K. Krupskaya (1869-1939), and collective education was systematized by N. K_ Makarenko (1888-1939).

12. The Democratic View of Education

Ideas on education in democracy are based on democratic thought. Dewey's theory of education played a major role throughout tire first half of the 20th century. I will quote here from the "Report of the United States Education Mission to Japan" 19 as to what represents the educational ideas of democracy after World War II.

The report begins with the following definition of democracy:

Democracy is not a cult, but a convenient means through which the emancipated energies of men may be allowed to display themselves in utmost variety. Democracy is best conceived not as a remote goal, however radiant, but as the pervasive spirit of every present freedom. Responsibility is of the essence of this freedom. Duties keep rights from canceling each other out. The test of equal treatment is the taproot of democracy, whether it be of rights to be shared or of duties to be shouldered. 20

The report then describes the nature of the democratic education, as follows:

A system of education for life in a democracy will rest upon the recognition of the worth and dignity of the individual. It will be so organized as to provide educational opportunity in accordance with the abilities and aptitudes of each person. Through content and methods of instruction it will foster freedom of inquiry, and training in the ability to analyze critically. It will encourage a wide discussion of factual information within the competence of students at different stages of their development. These ends cannot be promoted if the work of the school is limited to prescribed courses of study and to a single approved textbook in each subject. The success of education in a democracy cannot be measured in terms of uniformity and standardization. Education should prepare the individual to become a responsible and cooperating member of society. 21

The ideal of democratic education is to nurture democratic citizens, who, while observing the principles of democracy, such as the idea of the people, majority rule, and equality of equals, will respect the rights of others and will fulfill their own responsibility, and upon that basis will claim their own rights and will make effort to perfect their own personality.

The purpose of democratic education, therefore, is the perfection of character and the nurturing of responsible members of society. Its image of the ideal person is that of a "democratic person of character."

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