The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)
An Appeal to Reason
An Appeal to Reason.
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Canterbury University College, Christchurch, where the late Professor J. Macmillan Brown spent twenty strenuous years of his life as teacher.
“The only chance of suppressing or even limiting the scope of the destructive art of the armament-makers,” wrote Macmillan Brown, “is greater intelligence in the human race, and this can be attained chiefly by education. Educational institutions have the youth of a country in the formative or plastic stage, and that is the stage when it is easiest to develop intelligence; it is on this that the keen outlook and wisdom of the succeeding generations depend. And without this keenness of outlook and wise penetration in mankind, war and the preparation for war, the source of most human misfortunes, will never be traced to their true source, the net-work of armament-making. And when the human race as a whole see plainly when their disasters come, they will, led by their wise statesmen, take measures to extirpate this destructive art and its masters.
“Next to experience and competition during the lifetime it is education makes the intelligence of man to increase. Improve the environment and man grows more intelligent. The broader, the longer and the more extensive and intensive the education is the greater the rise in the quality of the environment. Races, ages, and nations are more truly distinguished from each other by their system of education than by any other feature. Its growth is the growth of civilisation.”
The wise old man returned again and again to his appeal for disarmament. So long as the fear of war existed in the international mind, so long the existing depression would oppress the world and choke the channels of commerce. And he lamented the pride of man, little man. Humanity had many millions of years to travel before realising how minute is the place of this earth in the cosmos. Telescopes revealed “billions of universes that dwarf our little world;” but man would still think himself as the centre of it all.
Education, education in the highest sense, is now more necessary than ever—that was the burden of the great philosopher's dying call to his fellow-New Zealanders.