"In a way," I said rather lamely. "We have not so subtle and highly developed a system as you, not approaching it; but tell me more. As to the information--how do you manage? It appears that all of you know pretty much everything--is that right?"
This she laughingly disclaimed. "By no means. We are, as you soon found out, extremely limited in knowledge. I wish you could realize what a ferment the country is in over the new things you have told us; the passionate eagerness among thousands of us to go to your country and learn--learn--learn! But what we do know is readily divisible into common knowledge and special knowledge. The common knowledge we have long since learned to feed into the minds of our little ones with no waste of time or strength; the special knowledge is open to all, as they desire it. Some of us specialize in one line only. But most take up several --some for their regular work, some to grow with."
"Yes. When one settles too close in one kind of work there is a tendency to atrophy in the disused portions of the brain. We like to keep on learning, always."
"As much as we know of the different sciences. We have, within our limits, a good deal of knowledge of anatomy, physiology, nutrition--all that pertains to a full and beautiful personal life. We have our botany and chemistry, and so on--very rudimentary, but interesting; our own history, with its accumulating psychology."
"You put psychology with history--not with personal life?"
"Of course. It is ours; it is among and between us, and it changes with the succeeding and improving generations. We are at work, slowly and carefully, developing our whole people along these lines. It is glorious work--splendid! To see the thousands of babies improving, showing stronger clearer minds, sweeter dispositions, higher capacities-- don't you find it so in your country?"
This I evaded flatly. I remembered the cheerless claim that the human mind was no better than in its earliest period of savagery, only better informed--a statement I had never believed.
"We try most earnestly for two powers," Somel continued. "The two that seem to us basically necessary for all noble life: a clear, far-reaching judgment, and a strong well-used will. We spend our best efforts, all through childhood and youth, in developing these faculties, individual judgment and will."
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