Education in Search of the Spirit

Essays on American Education

John Fentress Gardner

Previously published as The Experience of Knowledge



Real education will always seek to strengthen what is best in the human soul: its longing for the experience of spiritual truth that brings into the self and objective appreciation of hte noble aspects of its own nature, together with a subjective sense of real affinity with the rest of humanity, the earth planet as a whole, and the great cosmos above.

This excerpt really describes the author’s perspective that the aim of true education is to help children activate the deepest center, their “eternal spirit” which, Gardener believes, becomes possible through thinking – not mechanistic, rationalistic thinking, but living, intuitive thinking whose organ is the heart.

The book is in three parts – the first poses the problem; the second describes the Waldorf appraoch to a solution; and the third deals with questions of special interest to parents and educators alike, such as authority, discipline, and freedom; the nature of “genius”; the question of cultural pluralism.

This is an exploration by someone capable of deep insight and a union of that insight with what he saw. I highly recommend it for anyone concerned with the deeper issues of education and human development.

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