Full text: Problems in eugenics

i66Section IIa. F. C. S. Schiller. 
have considerable eugenical value, a value which could be enormously 
increased by relatively slight modifications. This system is not deficient in 
psychological subtlety, and differs in certain important respects from 
anything that exists elsewhere. 
It is remarkable for the comparatively slight emphasis it lays on 
intellectual education. It seems to have despaired altogether of utilizing 
for educational purposes the alleged desire for knowledge for its own sake, 
the universality of which Aristotle could assume as a truism in the Greek 
world. Not that it is utilitarian, and offers much that the youthful mind 
can recognize as useful knowledge. On the contrary the staple subjects of 
a “ liberal ” education seem so “ useless ” that it is thought that only the 
well-to-do can afford to study them; their real use is to serve as a caste-mark 
or class-distinction. But they evince their “ liberality ” in another way; 
they are liberally endowed. Care is taken that it shall pay a clever boy 
exceedingly well to study them. 
It would, however, be erroneous to accuse the system on this account of a 
coarse commercialism : its commercialism is singularly subtle and attractive. 
For though prizes and scholarships are valuable, the hunt for them, which 
absorbs, trains, and sometimes strains, a boy’s intellectual interests, is not a 
mere pursuit of gain. Such prizes are great honours as well as great 
prizes, and no one need disdain to win them. The powerful attraction of 
the system depends largely on the mixture of motives to which it appeals. 
It utilizes the desire to excel and the spirit of competition, it offers prospects 
of distinction almost as flattering to boyish vanity as the athletic system we 
shall examine later. It stimulates the teachers similarly : for scholarships 
won by their pupils redound to their honour and profit, and the competition 
for them ministers to their sporting instincts. So it is not too much to say 
that the intellectual efficiency of the English schools and colleges, which is 
far from despicable, rests essentially on what may be called for short the 
Scholarship System. 
The Scholarship System, however, is only one branch of high-class 
English education, and probably the less important and effective half of it. 
The other half we may call the Athletic System. It is an admirably skilful 
use of the play-instinct and the desire for physical movement which are 
natural in adolescence, and turns them into instruments of a sort' of moral 
education. Boys like to play games, and admire proficiency in them; ergo 
they shall all be made to play them and taught to enjoy that verbal paradox 
a “ compulsory game,” and shall get therefrom not only physical exercise 
but also moral training, and learn discipline and self-subordination. Nay 
more, there shall be based on athletic distinction a whole social order, and 
all shall learn to bow down before and reverence an aristocracy of skill 
and strength. Finally there shall thus be generated a love of bodily
	        

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