Obedience

Without obedience progress is impossible along any line of endeavor. Take the case of the child. From the first day of his attendance at school he must obey; and the constant effort of the teacher is directed to training him to be obedient, not primarily to the instructor, but to the system under which he is being taught. That system may be very imperfect, or it may be based on highly enlightened views; but whichever be the case, the child must be obedient in order to learn and to be able to apply what he has learned.

When one thinks, furthermore, about the purpose of education, what does he find? Is it the education along the lines of, say, mathematical science? Then the result aimed at is the acquiring of mathematical knowledge. But of what value would that knowledge be were those who possess it not obedient to its rules? The working out of every problem in mathematics, be it in calculus or in simple arithmetic, demands obedience to mathematical rule. If, therefore, any one, child or adult, be disobedient to mathematical law, his efforts at solving mathematical problems must be failures. Is the education along mortal or ethical lines? Here again moral or ethical conduct must be studied, and the laws underlying morality learned. But what use would there be in gaining such knowledge, if these laws were afterwards disregarded? Would not disobedience to moral law be bound to ultimate in chaos,—moral chaos? That is precisely what happens in the lives of men when they refuse obedience to those moral laws which hold civilization together.

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Editorial
The Only True Incentive
July 19, 1924
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