The role of the educator in the emergence of civilization

Arthur Hartley

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

239 Downloads (Pure)


[Truncated abstract] Education is defined as the conscious direction of evolution. Consciousness is a function more marked in highly developed organisms, which are less subject in consequence to the influence of their material environment. Such a conception of education omits a mechanist interpretation of the cosmos. It proceeds from the assumption that the universe has purpose, and that this purpose may be progressively revealed as life achieves more integrated organisation. In the affairs of men the specialised function is undertaken by certain thinkers who develop the capacity to give direction to human activities. These men are educators. A general theory of education will draw its material from a study of the developmental trends of a whole civilization; that of Western Europe, being the most influential in the affairs of the modern world, is considered as providing the best illustrative material for the formulation of such theory. While major emphasis is placed upon the innovating effect of education, it should be remembered that much of its effort is directed to the preservation of the organism. But the most effective conservative activities must be those that cater for, and permit of growth and development. ... The eighteenth and nineteenth century period of consolidation permitted a relaxation of personal guidance and control. The crises of the twentieth century necessitated the resumption of direction in the economic and political affairs of men. Western European Civilization is passing from the era of the entrepreneur to that of the managers and specialists. Specialists need the guidance and direction of an integrated body of moral and political theory that will relate their efforts to the needs of a world community. The function of the modern educator is to evolve and expound theories that render human activity intelligible. The educator will be informed through his study of the inter-relationship between epistemology, science, economics and politics. He must aspire to the comprehension of the wholeness of things. If 'mind' is to be the controlling factor in an indeterminate universe, and if 'mind' emerges out of the integration and organisation of matter, then the purpose of human activity is to achieve harmony and integration in the material universe. Life aims at the emergence of 'mind' through the self-directed organisation of matter. The function of the educator, corresponding in human affairs to that of 'mind' in the material universe, is of paramount importance in the modern world which interprets cosmic events in accordance with a principle of indeterminacy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 1954


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of the educator in the emergence of civilization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this