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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsA Treatise On Government - BOOK VIII - Chapter IV
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A Treatise On Government - BOOK VIII - Chapter IV Post by :leapoffaith Category :Nonfictions Author :Aristotle Date :January 2011 Read :1860

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A Treatise On Government - BOOK VIII - Chapter IV

those states which seem to take the greatest care of their
children's education, bestow their chief attention on wrestling,
though it both prevents the increase of the body and hurts the form of
it. This fault the Lacedaemonians did not fall into, for they made
their children fierce by painful labour, as chiefly useful to inspire
them with courage: though, as we have already often said, this is
neither the only thing nor the principal thing necessary to attend to;
and even with respect to this they may not thus attain their end; for
we do not find either in other animals, or other nations, that courage
necessarily attends the most cruel, but rather the milder, and those
who have the dispositions of lions: for there are many people who are
eager both to kill men and to devour human flesh, as the Achaeans and
Heniochi in Pontus, and many others in Asia, some of whom are as bad,
others worse than these, who indeed live by tyranny, but are men of no
courage. Nay, we know that the Lacedaemonians themselves, while they
continued those painful labours, and were superior to all others
(though now they are inferior to many, both in war and gymnastic
exercises), did not acquire their superiority by training their youth
to these exercises, but because those who were disciplined opposed
those who were not disciplined at all. What is fair and honourable
ought then to take place in education of what is fierce and cruel: for
it is not a wolf, nor any other wild beast, which will brave any noble
danger, but rather a good man. So that those who permit boys to engage
too earnestly in these exercises, while they do not take care to
instruct them in what is necessary to do, to speak the real truth,
render them mean and vile, accomplished only in one duty of a citizen,
and in every other respect, as reason evinces, good for nothing. Nor
should we form our judgments from past events, but from what we see at
present: for now they have rivals in their mode of education, whereas
formerly they had not. That gymnastic exercises are useful, and in
what manner, is admitted; for during youth it is very proper to go
through a course of those which are most gentle, omitting that violent
diet and those painful exercises which are prescribed as necessary;
that they may not prevent the growth of the body: and it is no small
proof that they have this effect, that amongst the Olympic candidates
we can scarce find two or three who have gained a victory both when
boys and men: because the necessary exercises they went through when
young deprived them of their strength. When they have allotted three
years from the time of puberty to other parts of education, they are
then of a proper age to submit to labour and a regulated diet; for it
is impossible for the mind and body both to labour at the same time,
as they are productive of contrary evils to each other; the labour of
the body preventing the progress of the mind, and the mind of the
body.
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There are four things which it is usual to teach children--reading,gymnastic exercises, and music, to which (in the fourth place) someadd painting. Reading and painting are both of them of singular usein life, and gymnastic exercises, as productive of courage. As tomusic, some persons may doubt, as most persons now use it for the sakeof pleasure: but those who originally made it part of education didit because, as has been already said, nature requires that we shouldnot only be properly employed, but to be able to enjoy leisurehonourably: for this (to repeat what I have already
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