If an ardent progressivist or experimentalist, or functionalist, were to describe a traditionalist, he would probably come through with a picture like this:
He is a medievalist. He arrogates authority to himself because of something he calls reason. But you must know that this reason of his is anything but the scientific verification of evidence. It is a sort of hypostatization of his own a priori and factually unsupported personal opinion. He is a blind conservative. He talks such jargon as mental discipline, formal discipline, memory, faculty psychology, transfer of training, ancient languages, and good grammar. He talks also of the training of the mind, as though the mind were an insoluble entity and thinks of that mind, not as an active principle of dynamic energy, but as a warehouse that must be stuffed full of data. He seems never to have discovered along with the late Professor Dewey that “mind is primarily a verb” if, indeed, it be distinguishable at all from experience itself, and that man is a gregarious animal whose natural habitat for growth is society. He ignores the environment and the situation, and ignores our actual needs for life-adjustment and for swift adaptation to the changing needs of a changing society. He likes to quote the oldtimers; Pope, for instance: “The proper study of mankind is man,” or Roger Ascham: “Learning teacheth more in one year than experience in twenty.” He is that sort of fellow who might have a place in a closed universe, the closed society and mind of medieval Europe; but since modernity has opened up, we shall have to abandon Ascham in favor of Pater who said, “Not the fruit of experience but experience itself is the end.”
Such is the cartoon that a nettled progressivist of the ...1
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