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Wells, H G - On destiny and personality

Identifier

015494

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

extract from The Presidential Address to the Educational Science Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, given on September 2nd, 1937, at Nottingham, as read by Mr, Wells

Moral training does not fall within the scope of the informative content of teaching. Already the primary habits of truthfulness, frankness, general honesty, communal feeling, helpfulness and generosity will or will not have been fostered and established in the youngster’s mind by the example of those about him.

A mean atmosphere makes mean people, a too competitive atmosphere makes greedy, self-glorifying people, a cruel atmosphere makes fierce people, but this issue of moral tone does not concern us now here.

But it does concern us that by adolescence the time has arrived for general ideas about one’s personal relationship to the universe to be faced.

The primary propositions of the chief religious and philosophical interpretations of the world should be put as plainly and impartially as possible before our young people. They will be asking those perennial questions of adolescence — whence and why and whither.

They will have to face, almost at once, the heated and exciting propagandas of theological and sceptical partisans — pro’s and anti’s.

So far as possible we ought to provide a ring of cleat knowledge for these inevitable fights.

And also, as the more practical aspect of the question, What am I to do with my life? I think we ought to link with our general study of social structure a study of social types which will direct attention to the choice of a métier.

In what spirit will you face the world and what sort of a job do you feel like?

This subject of Personal Sociology as it is projected here is the informative equivalent of a confirmation class. It says to everyone: “There are the conditions under which you face your world.”

The response to these questions, the determination of the will, is however not within our present scope. That is a matter for the religious teacher, for intimate friends and for the inner impulses of the individual.

But our children must have the facts.

The source of the experience

Wells, H G

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: John Bryant