23 Dec 2009

Young minds will learn -- unless they are stopped

Maria Montessori wrote this in 1949:
If the spirit of an undergraduate reacts to social injustice, or to political questions concerning deeply felt truths, the order of authority goes out that young people must avoid politics and concentrate on their studies. What happens then is that young people leave the university with their minds so shackled and sacrificed that they have lost all power of individuation and can no longer judge the problems of the age in which they live. (p. 11)
Who trusts the design of a factory to a young engineer, or engages a lawyer only just allowed to practice? And how do we explain this lack of confidence? The reason is that these young men have spent years in listening to words, and listening does not make a man. Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity. (p. 22)
from The Absorbent Mind (1958 English translation of 1949 Italian edition; Dell Publishing, New York)