[Observe how similar Laurency and Hitler sound to Ernst Haeckel. Laurency remembered hylozoics via Haeckel. Hitler was undoubtedly influenced by Haeckel.]
Hitler, Table Talk (Cameron & Stevens), Oct. 29, 1941:
It’s all wrong that a man’s whole life should depend on a diploma that he either receives or doesn’t at the age of seventeen. I was a victim of that system myself. I wanted to go to the School of Fine Arts. The first question of the examiner to whom I’d submitted my work, was: “Which school of arts and crafts do you come from?” He found it difficult to believe me when I replied that I hadn’t been to any, for he saw I had an indisputable talent for architecture. My disappointment was all the greater since my original idea had been to paint. It was confirmed that I had a gift for architecture, and I learnt at the same time that it was impossible for me to enter a specialised school, because I hadn’t a matriculation certificate.
Already at Stockholm University College and at Uppsala University I saw through the life-value of academic learning and smiled at the pride those memory robots took in their erudition. I am sorry to say that I had to obtain certificates of my studies to be employed and have an income. If I had possessed a private capital, I would never have cared for their diplomas. Afterwards I have always regretted the necessity of taking exams.
Hitler, Mein Kampf:
To study history means to search for and discover the forces that are the causes of those results which appear before our eyes as historical events. The art of reading and studying consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting what is inessential.
The art of reading is connected with the ability to meditate, to think your own thoughts. The majority of readers have not acquired that ability. The recorder’s correspondence with readers of PhS and KofR has convinced him that most of them are unable to read. They do not see what it says in the books, and after they have read the books they cannot summarize their contents. They see only what they recognize or what pleases them or agrees with their ideas. Whatever is beyond that, they have not seen, and that is the reason why they learn nothing. Most of them forget what they have read, many as soon as they put the book away, many in a short time afterwards.
TO BE SORTED:
The Riddle of the Universe
Once the modern State has freed itself and its schools from the fetters of the Church, it will be able to devote more attention to the improvement of education. The incalculable value of a good system of education has forced itself more and more upon us as the many aspects of modern civilized life have been enlarged and enriched in the course of the century. But the development of the educational methods has by no means kept pace with life in general. The necessity for a comprehensive reform of our schools is making itself felt more and more. On this question, too, a number of valuable works have appeared in the course of the last forty years. We shall restrict ourselves to making a few general observations which we think of special importance.
1. In all education up to the present time man has played the chief part, and especially the grammatical study of his language; the study of nature was entirely neglected.
2. In the school of the future nature will be the chief object of the study; a man shall learn a correct view of the world he lives in; he will not be made to stand outside of and opposed to nature, but be represented as its highest and noblest product.
5. Historical instruction must pay more attention to the inner mental and spiritual life of a nation, and to the development of its civilization, and less to its external history (the vicissitudes of dynasties, wars, and so forth).
9. Every pupil must be taught to draw well, and from nature; and, wherever it is possible, the use of water-colors. The execution of drawings and of water-color sketches from nature (of flowers, animals, landscapes, clouds, etc.) not only excites interest in nature and helps memory to enjoy objects, but it gives the pupil his first lesson in seeing correctly and understanding what he has seen.
10. Much more care and time must be devoted than has been done hitherto to corporal exercise, to gymnastics and swimming; but it is especially important to have walks in common every week, and journeys on foot during the holidays. The lesson in observation which they obtain in this way is invaluable.
Walking was the only exercise that really appealed to Adolf. He walked always and everywhere and, even in my workshop and in my room, he would stride up and down. I recall him always on the go. He could walk for hours without getting tired. We used to explore the surroundings of Linz in all directions.
1It seems as if it would take an esoterician to realize that the whole school system needs to be reformed so thoroughly that nothing remains of the old one.
2The entire educational system needs to be reformed at regular intervals; otherwise it will easily degenerate into creating nothing but narrow specialists. Every specialist teacher considers his subject to be the most important. Teaching and testing methods have to be changed, memory-work be abolished, which probably many of them have realized. Teachers just have to make sure that their pupils have comprehended the matter. Moreover, pupils should be taught where in the literature they should seek in order to find details and isolated facts when and if they need them.
3Since most teachers still lack the power of self-initiated mental activity and so think just according to models once learnt and under emotional impulses, their teaching methods keep to the same old beaten track. The aversion against all reforms is connected with this. A change would entail rethinking about everything they have learnt and therefore change is always objectionable, abominable.
4The instruction necessary to the education of teachers thus needs to be changed so that specialist teachers realize the position of their speciality in the totality of knowledge. Philosophy in particular is a subject that needs a reform so radical that it will enable pupils to think, not just learn what views philosophers of times past have held. Above all it is necessary to furnish perspectives on everything, for example ranging the various disciplines (their basic principles, methods and systems) in a system of summaries so that the pupils reach clarity about their importance for the conception of physical reality, for political and social realities, for man as a co-partner of the totality. Thereby the various school subjects are clarified as to their relative importance for the totality, for the world view and life view.
5At ten years of age, children should be taught the basic elements of chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy. Biology as a mere descriptive discipline could be considerably reduced. The Latin names of plants are for those who are going to study biology at the university. It is enough that pupils learn to understand the functions of the various parts of the plant. That was seldom if ever taught to them. The variation of forms of leaves and roots, etc., in the different plant species is a subject for specialists. It is enough that pupils are given summaries of the classification of plants and animals so that they understand the fact of higher and lower levels on the scale of evolution. They do not know this at present.
There is no reason why millions of people should learn two or three languages during their school years, when only a very small fraction will have the opportunity to use these languages in later life and when most of them will therefore forget these languages completely.
Table Talks, March 3, 1942 (Trevor-Roper):
Moreover, where’s the sense in teaching a child in an elementary school a foreign language in addition to German? Eighty per cent of the children will never go further. Of what use will the rudiments of a foreign language be to them?
In the case of that language which I have chosen as an example it cannot be said that the learning of it educates the student in logical thinking or sharpens his mental acumen, as the learning of Latin, for instance, might be said to do.
Greek and Latin are necessary for philologists and literary researchers but not for “historical education”. Of course the study of the Latin language is important for those who want to ransack the records, or study the Romance languages, or understand the multitude of metaphors in old imaginative literature. But it should be possible to learn it in a much simpler way than the traditional. We still lack the linguistic educator who teaches his pupils everything necessary for comprehension in the simplest possible manner. This lack has always been the shortcoming of language study. It has been made unnecessarily complicated.
The Riddle of the Universe
3. The study of the classical tongues (Latin and Greek), which has hitherto absorbed most of the pupils’ time and energy, is indeed valuable; but it will be much restricted, and confined to the mere elements (obligatory for Latin, optional for Greek).
4. In consequence, modern languages must be all the more cultivated in all the higher schools (English and French to be obligatory, Italian optional).
It would, therefore, be much better to teach young students only the general outline or, better, the inner structure of such a language, that is to say, to allow them to discern the characteristic features of the language, or perhaps to make them acquainted with the rudiments of its grammar, its pronunciation, its syntax, style, etc.
Table Talks (Cameron & Stevens), March 3, 1942:
Let’s rather give them some general knowledge. Thus, instead of teaching them French for four years, at the rate of three hours a week, why not wait until the last year? And even during this last year, let’s give them only one hour’s French a week. That’s quite enough to give a good start to those who intend to continue their studies.
6It is desirable that a book was written that accounted for the basic factors (“scientific principles”) of chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, and biology, so that the reader could get a general grasp of the reality content of these disciplines. Such a summarizing book would be of great value to those who do not go to high school and do not know how they should get a general orientation. It could serve as an introduction to high school studies and afford badly needed perspectives. Biology, for instance, could start from the theory of evolution, something like Haeckel’s The History of Creation though adhering more to principles and concentrated. For uniformity in execution it must be the work of one man.
7How much more interesting would not geography be, for instance, if you were given a overview of the universe, the solar system, the planets, and finally our earth?
8What revelation would not biology be made, if you were given an account of biological evolution and the interconnectedness of the various kingdoms in nature, how life has developed from the simplest organic cells to the increasingly complex organisms, that process of millions of years?
The Riddle of the Universe
6. The elements of evolutionary science must be learned in conjunction with cosmology, geology must go with geography, and anthropology with biology.
7. The first principles of biology must be familiar to every educated man; the modern training in observation furnishes an attractive introduction to the biological sciences (anthropology, zoology, and botany). A start must be made with descriptive system (in conjunction with ætiology or bionomy); the elements of anatomy and physiology to be added later on.
8. The first principles of physics and chemistry must also be taught, and their exact establishment with the aid of mathematics.
Hitler, Table Talk (Jochmann), July 21-22, 1941:
He who has no organ for history is like a man who has no ear or no eye; he can live like that anyway, but what is that!
Wer kein Organ für Geschichte hat, ist wie ein Mensch, der kein Gehör oder kein Gesicht hat; leben kann er auch so, aber was ist das!
9They speak of “man without a sense of history”. However, the history we take to be true stories from life is by and large a collection of legends. The true history is still unwritten. It will be available only in the next century. And then it will not be any tales of the infamies of barbarous nations, robber barons, kings, and popes, but the story of the evolution of consciousness (physical, emotional, mental, causal). It will teach us to develop purposefully and seek to attain the world of ideas. In that world, everybody can obtain knowledge of everything he needs in the human worlds.
10When we get the esoteric knowledge, everything we have gathered of the “cultural heritage of times past” will be considered to belong to the criminal archive of mankind and the testimonies of barbarism and unculture.
11Strangely enough, our educational reformers do not seem to have realized that the history of ideas, such as it can and should be (the opposite of the history of details) from the educational point of view is immensely superior to all other study subjects. But then it must be the overviewing history of ideas, that which affords perspectives. It may furnish a general view of both humanist and scientific thought. It contains what may be called cultural history.
12If educators had any idea of the importance of ideas for consciousness development and culture, then the entire educational system would be given a totally different orientation. On the whole scholasticism is still ruling with its grammar and dogmatism.
9It is interesting to hear Jews describe how they receive their religious instruction. They are made to read the scriptures, and the rabbis see to it that any attempt at reflection on what is being read is stopped at once. Read, read, read, do not think. It is all crammed up, and then you are through with your study. No arguments about it. Religious problems are not to be discussed. Yahweh (Yhwh) does not allow such things. If his peculiar people violated this command, he would reject them.
Modern education, based on the inductive method, overloads the memory with an infinitude of superfluous details that are useless in life or even hostile to life and that leave the young in the lurch when they are to judge things.
Hitler, Table Talk (Cameron & Stevens), March 3, 1942:
It’s better to awaken men’s instinct for beauty. That was what the Greeks considered the essential thing.
Hitler, Table Talk (Cameron & Stevens), February 25-26, 1942:
If we consider the ancient Greeks (who were Germanics), we find in them a beauty much superior to the beauty such as is widespread to-day—and I mean also beauty in the realm of thought as much as in the realm of forms.
What is known as the Gymnasium to-day is a positive insult to the Greek institution. Our system of education entirely loses sight of the fact that, in the long run, a healthy mind can exist only in a healthy body. This statement applies with few exceptions, particularly to the broad masses of the nation.
13The school exists in order to impart knowledge, so that everybody knows how he is to find his bearings in the community and earn his living. The school should not be a vocational school. Such schools should be separate. It is a nuisance that unmusical children are compelled to learn singing and playing, that children who lack all artistic talents must torture themselves with drawing. Such studies should be optional and would best be relegated to vocational schools.
Hitler, Table Talk (Cameron & Stevens), March 3, 1942:
To-day people persist in cramming children with a host of unrelated ideas. Do you see the necessity for teaching geometry, physics and chemistry to a young man who means to devote himself to music? Unless he has a special gift for these branches of study, what will he have left over of them later? I find it absolutely ridiculous, this mania for making young people swallow so many fragmentary notions that they can’t assimilate.
In my day, pupils were not only compelled to achieve a given average, but also in certain branches their reports must not fall below a minimum level. If a pupil is particularly brilliant in his speciality, why embarrass him in his studies by obliging him to assimilate notions that are beyond his powers of assimilation? Wouldn’t it be better to help him further in the direction that comes naturally to him?
Forty years ago, the teaching of history was restricted to a dry listing of dates. There was a total absence of principles. What happened when the teacher, into the bargain, lacked the necessary gift for giving these dead things a soul? Such teaching was a real torture.
I had a teacher of French whose whole preoccupation was to catch us out in a mistake. He was a hair-splitter and a bully. When I think of the men who were my teachers, I realise that most of them were slightly mad. The men who could be regarded as good teachers were exceptional. It’s tragic to think that such people have the power to bar a young man’s way.
The teaching of universal history in what are called the higher grade schools is still very unsatisfactory. Few teachers realise that the purpose of teaching history is not the memorizing of some dates and facts, that it does not matter whether a boy knows the exact date of a battle or the birthday of some marshal or other, nor when the crown of his fathers was placed on the brow of some insignificant monarch. That is not what matters. To study history means to search for and discover the forces that are the causes of those results which appear before our eyes as historical events. The art of reading and studying consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting what is inessential.
Probably my whole future life was determined by the fact that I had a teacher of history who understood, as few others understand, how to make this viewpoint prevail in teaching and in examining. This teacher was Dr. Leopold Poetsch, of the Realschule at Linz. He was the ideal personification of the qualities necessary to a teacher of history in the sense I have mentioned above. An elderly gentleman with a decisive manner but a kindly heart, he was a very attractive speaker and, was able to inspire us with his own enthusiasm.
Even to-day I cannot recall without emotion that venerable personality whose enthusiastic exposition of history so often made us entirely forget the present and allow ourselves to be transported as if by magic into the past. He penetrated through the dim mist of thousands of years and transformed the historical memory of the dead, past into a living reality. When we listened to him we became afire with enthusiasm and we were sometimes moved even to tears.
It was still more fortunate that this master was able not only to illustrate the past by examples from the present, but from the past, he was also able to draw a lesson for the present. He understood better than any other the everyday problems that were then agitating our minds. The national fervour which we fell in our own small way was utilised by him as an instrument of our education, inasmuch as he often appealed to our national sense of honour, for in that way he maintained order and held our attention much more easily than he could have done by any other means. It was because I had such a master that history became my favourite subject. As a natural consequence, but without the conscious connivance of my teacher, I then and there became a young rebel. But who could have studied German history under such a teacher and not become an enemy of that State whose rulers exercised such, a disastrous influence on the destinies of the German nation?
13The entire educational system should be reorganized along American lines. Compulsory school should be finished by going through two years of high school without exam. Upper high school, being the preparation for university studies, should be allocated to special colleges, exams from which automatically entail the right of entry into a “faculty” of humanistic or technological studies. The universities should be reorganized so that the pertaining education is given at an institution that is special for each faculty. Bringing together all colleges for specialized studies into a joint university should be regarded as old-fashioned. Not even the present division at the universities into faculties should be retained. Many different kinds of educational institutions are needed.
General education should be on cultural lines. It ought to be founded more on classical studies and should aim at providing only the groundwork for specialised instruction later on in the various practical sciences. Otherwise we should sacrifice those forces that are more important for the preservation of the nation than any technical knowledge. In the history department the study of ancient history should not be omitted. Roman history, along general lines, is, and will remain, the best teacher, not only for our own time, but also for the future, and the ideal of Hellenic culture should be preserved for us in all its marvellous beauty.
3The ancient world, Greece in particular, exhibits architectural and sculptural art that is still unsurpassed. In the matter of understanding life and the art of living, however, the study of antiquity cannot be compared to the insight that the knowledge of the laws of life affords. In that respect it rather has a disorienting effect and is no defence for the study of Latin and Greek.
4There are certainly grains of gold, aphoristic pearls, in Latin and Greek literature. But they are few and far between except in Platon, Epiktetos, Marcus Aurelius, etc.
[Apparently conflicting views. Does America even possess a culture? It’s however true that history is not suited for education, I side with Laurency on that point.]
14Exams mean that you stuff your brain full with a mass of fictions that you then will be dependent on or have trouble discarding. Admittedly, they facilitate the understanding of public opinion and the participation in prevalent fictionalism, so that you do not remove yourself from mankind. They are also necessary in order to be a public servant etc. for those who cannot earn their living in another way. The individual has to content himself with being dragged into the universal “sacrificial system” about which Pontus Wikner wrote a remarkable essay. Who nowadays has a chance of getting literature worth reading?
The system of education which obtains to-day sees its principal object in cramming into young people that knowledge which will help them to make their way in life. This principle is expressed in the following terms, “The young man must one day become a useful member of human society.” That phrase refers to his ability to gain an honest livelihood.
The material which we have acquired through reading must not be stored up in the memory on a plan that corresponds to the successive chapters of the book, but each little piece of knowledge thus gained must be treated as if it were a little stone to be inserted into a mosaic, so that it finds its proper place among all the other pieces and particles that help to form a general world-picture in the brain of the reader.
Education does not consist in being crammed with the disordered facts of encyclopedias, but in having facts put into systems and into systems of systems. That is the way we orient ourselves in reality.
Table Talk, March 3, 1942:
In any case, I don’t believe there’s any sense in teaching men anything, in a general way, beyond what they need to know. One overloads them without interesting either them or anybody else.
15All children should be given the opportunity to learn to play chess. It is a wonderful game with its inexhaustible possibilities and aesthetic values. For the lone player, analyses of master games are full compensation for a partner. Those who are able to play chess have no worries about what to do in their spare time.
16Teachers should pay particular attention to two problems that have not been elucidated as yet: the importance of creative imagination and of goal-oriented will. Imagination liberates from the one-track mind and develops the understanding of the possibility of choice and the importance of right choice. This develops the sense of responsibility. The esoterician is taught that we are responsible for everything and that we can never free ourselves from responsibility. It is everybody’s duty to contribute to spreading the understanding of the importance of choosing the true and the right. The prevalent subjectivism has entailed increased irresponsibility in all respects, and this is the proof of its perversity.
17Moralists make the serious mistake of trying to force the sense of responsibility on other people. This demand must come from within and not from without, by means of all manner of commands. The sense of responsibility must be cultivated in the feeling of freedom and not of compulsion. Only then will it be self-determined, the result of one’s own choice, based on one’s own understanding and experience. All compulsion is a violation of the basic law of freedom and counteracts its own purpose. That is a discovery that remains to be made.
18Educational theory as a discipline is still at an infant stage. Both theoretically and practically everything remains to be explored. Its doctrines need to be reviewed at regular intervals. It is the same with most disciplines. If they make progress, they appear new every ten years. There is nothing static in consciousness development, research, knowledge, and acquisition.
19Mankind is not given all knowledge but just what it cannot possibly discover by itself. We must learn to solve problems, for that develops our consciousness capacity. We must discover reality by ourselves and learn the methods of application ourselves. The school has in all ages served as a cramming machine and necessarily so, since its duty was to feed us with illusions and fictions, the only available views. That is now at an end. In the future, schools will give us systems, methods, and principles, and we will be taught how to use them correctly in solving problems. That will teach us how to rightly use facts and to economize with facts, lest we drown in facts and become memory robots.
20The path to knowledge is the path of discoveries and of elimination of what we have realized to be erroneous. Encyclopaedias are rapidly outdated. But memory retains the unusable. That is why old people seem antiquated. They remember what they have learnt.