Montessori, Dr Maria - The Montessori Method - Modern science
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Montessori Method : Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in the Children's Houses (1912)
Ch. 1 : A Critical Consideration of the New Pedagogy in its Relation to Modern Science
To prepare teachers in the method of the experimental sciences is not an easy matter. When we shall have instructed them in anthropometry and psychometry in the most minute manner possible, we shall have only created machines, whose usefulness will be most doubtful.
Indeed, if it is after this fashion that we are to initiate our teachers into experiment, we shall remain forever in the field of theory.
The teachers of the old school, prepared according to the principles of metaphysical philosophy, understood the ideas of certain men regarded as authorities, and moved the muscles of speech in talking of them, and the muscles of the eye in reading their theories.
Our scientific teachers, instead, are familiar with certain instruments and know how to move the muscles of the hand and arm in order to use these instruments; besides this, they have an intellectual preparation which consists of a series of typical tests, which they have, in a barren and mechanical way, learned how to apply.
The difference is not substantial, for profound differences cannot exist in exterior technique alone, but lie rather within the inner man.
Not with all our initiation into scientific experiment have we prepared new masters, for, after all, we have left them standing without the door of real experimental science; we have not admitted them to the noblest and most profound phase of such study — to that experience which makes real scientists. .............
We should give the name scientist to the type of man who has felt experiment to be a means guiding him to search out the deep truth of life, to lift a veil from its fascinating secrets, and who, in this pursuit, has felt arising within him a love for the mysteries of nature, so passionate as to annihilate the thought of himself.
The scientist is not the clever manipulator of instruments, he is the worshipper of nature and he bears the external symbols of his passion as does the follower of some religious order. To this body of real scientists belong those who, forgetting, like the Trappists of the Middle Ages, the world about them, live only in the laboratory, careless often in matters of food and dress because they no longer think of themselves; those who, through years of unwearied use of the microscope, become blind; those who in their scientific ardour inoculate themselves with tuberculosis germs; those who handle the excrement of cholera patients in their eagerness to learn the vehicle through which the diseases are transmitted; and those who, knowing that a certain chemical preparation may be an explosive, still persist in testing their theories at the risk of their lives.
This is the spirit of the men of science, to whom nature freely reveals her secrets, crowning their labours with the glory of discovery.
There exists, then, the "spirit" of the scientist, a thing far above his mere "mechanical skill," and the scientist is at the height of his achievement when the spirit has triumphed over the mechanism.
When he has reached this point, science will receive from him not only new revelations of nature, but philosophic syntheses of pure thought.