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A Short History of the World

H. G. Wells
24,223 views - Aug 16, 2013

THE story of our world is a story that is still very imperfectly known. A couple of hundred years ago men possessed the history of little more than the last three thousand years. What happened before that time was a matter of legend and speculation. Over a large part of the civilized world it was believed and taught that the world had been created suddenly in 4004 B.C., though authorities differed as to whether this had occurred in the spring or autumn of that year. This fantastically precise misconception was based upon a too literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, and upon rather arbitrary theological assumptions connected therewith. Such ideas have long since been abandoned by religious teachers, and it is universally recognized that the universe in which we live has to all appearances existed for an enormous period of time and possibly for endless time. Of course there may be deception in these appearances, as a room may be made to seem endless by putting mirrors facing each other at either end. But that the universe in which we live has existed only for six or seven thousand years may be regarded as an altogether e of 239,000 miles. Earth and moon are not the only bodies to travel round the sun. There are also the planets, Mercury and Venus, at distances of thirty-six and sixty-seven millions of miles; and beyond the circle of the earth and disregarding a belt of numerous smaller bodies, the planetoids, there are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune at mean distances of 141, 483, 886, 1,782, and 1,793 millions of miles respectively. These figures in {3} millions of miles are very difficult for the mind to grasp. It may help the reader’s imagination if we reduce the sun and planets to a smaller, more conceivable scale.

TEXT BOOKS OF ART EDUCATION

HUGO B. FROEHLICH
7,073 views - Aug 14, 2013

In presenting to the public the series of Text Books of Art Education, of which this volume is a part, it is desired to state briefly the aims and purposes of the plan upon which the series is based. It is not necessary to review the history of art education in public schools, nor to present argument for the introduction or retention of drawing as an important study. These questions have been exhaustively treated, and need no fresh discussion. The school that does not offer to its community some kind of systematic art instruction is today an exception. Education along specific lines should conform to the philosophy which is accepted as fundamental in general educational work. The educational principles adhered to in these books are, therefore, in accord with the psychological laws of child development which are endorsed by the leading educators of the present time, and the effort has been made to work out in these books a series of lessons that shall be not only educationally sound and artistically correct, but at the same time adapted in the different stages to the child's ability to comprehend and his power to express. With this end in view, the lessons in the Text Books of Art Education have been divided into three groups which may be known as the Observational or Objective Group, in which the study of things is the aim; the Subjective Group, in which the study of principles or laws of beauty is the aim; and the Creative Group, in which the application of accumulated knowledge and ability is the aim. In furthering the work of the first group, the topics so familiar to the art teacher of our modern schools are treated—landscape, plants, life, and still life. In the second group are presented the principles of perspective, of industrial drawing, of color harmony, and most important of all, the principles of pure design. In the third group are placed creative exercises in composition, in decorative design, and in many forms of manual training. While the same division of work is kept throughout the course, the manner of presentation differs greatly in the different years. In the primary grades, the work is largely objective in its character. Children are taught to see and to do. In the intermediate grades, the children are introduced to the principles of arrangement, Balance, Rhythm, and Harmony, which have been adopted as the working basis of this series of books, and in the light of which the subjective and creative work of the upper grades is planned. As the work progresses through the different years, the subjective and creative sides are more and more emphasized, and the study of objects is felt to be merely a means necessary to an end. All through the series, there is a definite, logical progression, so that in schools where these ideas are put into practice, there should be no ground for the complaint that the work of the intermediate and grammar grades falls below the work of the primary grades, in general excellence. These books are the outgrowth of years of experience in practical fields of work. They have been prepared with a keen appreciation of the obstacles which have confronted the art teacher in public education, and with an intimate knowledge of the child mind, in its various stages of development. Never before has an attempt been made to put into the hands of children a text of lessons in art. The illustrations serve the double purpose of illuminating the text and of furnishing the children with standards of work in the various mediums. For the Theory of Color Relations used in these books, special acknowledgment is due to Dr. Denman W. Ross, of Harvard University. The lessons in design are preparatory to the fuller exposition in the upper books of Dr. Ross's principles of arrangement—Balance, Rhythm, and Harmony.

God and the State

MICHAEL BAKUNIN
4,941 views - Feb 11, 2015

One work was not completed when others were already under way. “My life itself is a fragment,” he said to those who criticised his writings. Nevertheless, the readers of “God and the State” certainly will not regret that Bakunin’s memoir, incomplete though it be, has been published. The questions discussed in it are treated decisively and with a singular vigor of logic. Rightly addressing himself only to his honest opponents, Bakunin demonstrates to them the emptiness of their belief in that divine authority on which all temporal authorities are founded; he proves to them the purely human genesis of all governments; finally, without stopping to discuss those bases of the State already condemned by public morality, such as physical superiority, violence, nobility, wealth, he does justice to the theory which would entrust science with the government of societies. Supposing even that it were possible to recognize, amid the conflict of rival ambitions and intrigues, who are the pretenders and who are the real savants, and that a method of election could be found which would not fail to lodge the power in the hands of those whose knowledge is authentic, what guarantee could they offer us of the wisdom and honesty of their government? On the contrary, can- 7 -we not foresee in these new masters the same follies and the same crimes found in those of former days and of the present time? In the first place, science is not: it is becoming. The learned man of to-day is but the know-nothing of to-morrow. Let him once imagine that he has reached the end, and for that very reason he sinks beneath even the babe just born. But, could he recognize truth in its essence, he can only corrupt himself by privilege and corrupt others by power. To establish his government, he must try, like all chiefs of State, to arrest the life of the masses moving below him, keep them in ignorance in order to preserve quiet, and gradually debase them that he may rule them from a loftier throne.

The Power of the Powerless

Václav Havel
4,489 views - Jun 10, 2015

Václav Havel: The Power of the Powerless To the memory of Jan Patocka "The Power of the Powerless" (October 1978) was originally written ("quickly," Havel said later) as a discussion piece for a projected joint Polish Czechoslovak volume of essays on the subject of freedom and power. All the participants were to receive Havel's essay, and then respond to it in writing. Twenty participants were chosen on both sides, but only the Czechoslovak side was completed. Meanwhile, in May 1979, some of the Czechoslovak contributors who were also members of VONS (the Committee to Defend the Unjustly Prosecuted), including Havel, were arrested, and it was decided to go ahead and "publish" the Czechoslovak contributions separately. Havel's essay has had a profound impact on Eastern Europe. Here is what Zbygniew Bujak, a Solidarity activist, told me: "This essay reached us in the Ursus factory in 1979 at a point when we felt we were at the end of the road. Inspired by KOR [the Polish Workers' Defense Committee], we had been speaking on the shop floor, talking to people, participating in public meetings, trying to speak the truth about the factory, the country, and politics. There came a moment when people thought we were crazy. Why were we doing this? Why were we taking such risks? Not seeing any immediate and tangible results, we began to doubt the purposefulness of what we were doing. Shouldn’t we be coming up with other methods, other ways? "Then came the essay by Havel. Reading it gave us the theoretical underpinnings for our activity. It maintained our spirits; we did not give up, and a year later-in August ig8o-it became clear that the party apparatus and the factory management were afraid of us. We mattered. And the rank and file saw us as leaders of the movement. When I look at the victories of Solidarity, and of Charter 77, I see in them an astonishing fulfillment of the prophecies and knowledge contained in Havel's essay." Translated by Paul Wilson, "The Power of the Powerless" has appeared several times in English, foremost in The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, edited by John Keane, with an Introduction by Steven Lukes (London: Hutchinson, 1985). That volume includes a selection of nine other essays from the original Czech and Slovak collection.

SOUTH!

SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON C.V.O.
3,837 views - Dec 26, 2014

After the conquest of the South Pole by Amundsen, who, by a narrow margin of days only, was in advance of the British Expedition under Scott, there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeyings—the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea. When I returned from the Nimrod Expedition on which we had to turn back from our attempt to plant the British flag on the South Pole, being beaten by stress of circumstances within ninety-seven miles of our goal, my mind turned to the crossing of the continent, for I was morally certain that either Amundsen or Scott would reach the Pole on our own route or a parallel one. After hearing of the Norwegian success I began to make preparations to start a last great journey—so that the first crossing of the last continent should be achieved by a British Expedition. We failed in this object, but the story of our attempt is the subject for the following pages, and I think that though failure in the actual accomplishment must be recorded, there are chapters in this book of high adventure, strenuous days, lonely nights, unique experiences, and, above all, records of unflinching determination, supreme loyalty, and generous self-sacrifice on the part of my men which, even in these days that have witnessed the sacrifices of nations and regardlessness of self on the part of individuals, still will be of interest to readers who now turn gladly from the red horror of war and the strain of the last five years to read, perhaps with more understanding minds, the tale of the White Warfare of the South. The struggles, the disappointments, and the endurance of this small party of Britishers, hidden away for nearly two years in the fastnesses of the Polar ice, striving to carry out the ordained task and ignorant of the crises through which the world was passing, make a story which is unique in the history of Antarctic exploration.

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