On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 73

even seems to
me," I said, "that everything for which you have justly blamed the
public school is only a necessary means employed to imbue the youthful
student with some kind of independence, or at all events with the
belief that there is such a thing. The teaching of German composition
must be at the service of this independence: the individual must enjoy
his opinions and carry out his designs early, so that he may be able
to travel alone and without crutches. In this way he will soon be
encouraged to produce original work, and still sooner to take up
criticism and analysis. If Latin and Greek studies prove insufficient
to make a student an enthusiastic admirer of antiquity, the methods
with which such studies are pursued are at all events sufficient to
awaken the scientific sense, the desire for a more strict causality of
knowledge, the passion for finding out and inventing. Only think how
many young men may be lured away for ever to the attractions of
science by a new reading of some sort which they have snatched up with
youthful hands at the public school! The public school boy must learn
and collect a great deal of varied information: hence an impulse will
gradually be created, accompanied with which he will continue to learn
and collect independently at the university. We believe, in short,
that the aim of the public school is to prepare and accustom the
student always to live and learn independently afterwards, just as
beforehand he must live and learn dependently at the public school."

The philosopher laughed, not altogether good-naturedly, and said: "You
have just given me a fine example of that independence. And it is this
very independence that shocks me so much, and makes any place in the
neighbourhood of present-day students so disagreeable to me. Yes, my
good friends, you are perfect, you are mature; nature has cast you and
broken up the moulds, and your teachers must surely gloat over you.
What liberty, certitude, and independence of judgment; what novelty
and freshness of insight! You sit in judgment--and the cultures of all
ages run away. The scientific sense is kindled, and rises out of you
like a flame--let people be careful, lest you set them alight! If I go
further into the question and look at your professors, I again find
the same independence in a greater and even more charming degree:
never was there a time so full of the most sublime independent folk,
never was slavery more detested, the slavery of education and culture
included.

"Permit me, however, to measure this independence of

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