Chapter 6: Comparative Study of Rumi, Saadi, Rousseau, Dewey’s Shared Views on Moral Education
Throughout history many books and articles have been written regarding philosophy and education from the point of view of Rousseau and Dewey, but rarely does one see any publication on the views of Muslim Iranian scholars such as Rumi. To have a comparative study of their points of view regarding moral education, is much more important than this. Such a comparison could reveal their shared theories and ideas, which could then useful in designing a model based on moral education that could be applied by both Muslims and Christians all through the world.
Jalal al-Din Rumi (Rumi or Moulavi or Moulana), was author of a vast collection of Persian odes and lyrics. A translation of selection of these has been offered here.
Rumi was born in 1207 AD at Balkh, which now lies within the frontiers of Afghanistan, and died in 1273 A.D at Konya, in Turkey that lies in Asia. John Murray, in his account of Rumi’s - Fīhi mā fīhi - published in 1961 AD, said under the title Discourses of Rumi - “there is nothing I wish to add to what has been written here, except to highlight the curious circumstances, which attended Rumi’s transformation from a sober theologian and preacher into ecstatic dancer and enraptured poet.”
Rumi’s father, Bahā al-Dīn Valad, had attained eminence in religious circles in Khorasan before his undertook headlong flight to Saljūq Turkey when the Mongols invaded. He enjoyed royal patronage and popular esteem as preacher and teacher in Konya, where he died in 1230 AD Rumi completed his long formal education in 1244 AD He was already thirty-seven years of age and seemingly set in his ways as a conventional mullah, when a wandering dervish named Shams al-Din - a native of Tabriz apparently of artisan origin, suddenly arrived in the capital of Saljūq and attracted attention by the wildness of his demeanor (Arberry, 2002).
Saadi’s full name was Mosharraf-e-din bin Moslehedin-Abdullah, and he was born in Shiraz, a city in Iran, in 1184 AD and died there in 1291 AD He adopted the pen name of Saadi in honor of his patron, Abu-Bakr Saadi, a contemporary king of the Atabakan dynasty in Fars, a province of Iran. He lost his father at an early age and came under the protection of this Atabak Ruler upon his accession to throne in 1195 AD
Thereafter, Saadi’s life may be divided into three periods: The period of study, lasting until 1226 AD when he was sent to the famous Nezamieh College of Baghdad to study. There he was deeply influenced by the eminent Sufi Suhravardi, as well as Ibn-e-Jowzi, another great teacher, whose name has appearred in some of his poems. His period of travel began in 1226 AD and lasted till 1256 AD, during which he traveled widely to many parts of India, Yemen, Hejaz, Arabia, Syria, Abyssinia, North Africa and Asia Minor. He had several opportunities to mingle with people of those countries and gain rich experiences, which are reflected in all his works (Pazargadi, 2000). This was followed by a period of literary contributions.
Saadi of Shiraz, or Sheikh Moslehedin Abdullah Saadi Shirazi - poet, writer and distinguished thinker of the 13th century AD (7th century AH) was one of the few men of letters of Iran who had acquired fame not only in Persian-speaking regions, but was renowned well beyond Iran. He became well known and a recognized literary figure in the wider literary circles of the world.
Saadi was born in Shiraz. According to him, he was born in a household, all members of which were theologians steeped in religious learning. The first years of his childhood and early youth were spent in his own hometown where he got a grounding in the sciences and learning of his own times. He then moved on to Baghdad to continue his studies at the ‘Nizamieh’, which was the University of his day.
Saadi pursued and completed his studies in theology and literature over a period of twenty years, and then left on a long journey covering Iraq, Hejaz and North Africa and, according to some sources, India, Asia Minor and Azerbaijan as well. It was during the course of these travels that, he came across personalities such as Mowlana Jalaludin Mohammad Moulavi, the great poet of Balkh, Sheikh Safiyudin of Ardabil, Hamam Tabriz and Amir Khosro of Delhi, adding to his valuable experiences alongside travel (Hakimi, 2005).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78 AD) was a Swiss-born French philosopher, essayist, novelist and musician, best known for his theories on social freedom and social rights, education, religion (Audi 2001, p. 800), and for his contributions to political philosophy (Honderich 2005, p. 823). He was also a philosopher of history and a central figure in the eighteenth century - Enlightenment - and its most formidable contemporary critic (Mautner 2005, p. 541), thus taking his place alongside Diderot, Voltaire and others as one of the emblematic figures of his time, for all that he came to violently differ in view from them (Dent, 1998)1.
Born in Geneva, Rousseau was largely self-educated and moved to France as a teenager. Throughout, for much of his life he moved between Paris and its provinces with several trips abroad (Audi 2001, p. 800). After the publication of the Social Contract and Emile in 1762 AD, Rousseau was persecuted for his blasphemous views about natural religion, and fled to Paris. He also renounced his citizenship of Geneva, where his books were burned.
After some extremely unsettled years, he was eventually permitted to resettle in France, on sufferance, and he returned to Paris in 1770 AD. Most of the writing in the last decade of his life was autobiographical in nature, including his outstanding Confessions as well as the prolix and uneven exercise in self-justification – ‘Dialogues de Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques’. His body was transferred to the Pantheon in 1796 AD (Honderich 2005, p. 823-824).
John Dewey (1859-1952 AD) was an American philosopher, a social critic, a theorist of education (Audi 2001, p. 229), who had developed a systematic pragmatism addressing the central questions of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics (Honderich 2005, p. 211). His extensive writings contended systematically with problems in metaphysics, epistemology, logic, aesthetics, ethics, social and political philosophy, education and philosophy, and philosophical anthropology (Gouinlock, 1998).
Dewey was born on 20th October 1859 AD, in Burlington, Vermont. He completed his school grade at twelve years of age. Thereafter, he chose the newly established track of preparatory college. He entered the University of Vermont at the age of sixteen Graduating from the University of Vermont in 1879. He taught high school for two years in Oil City, Pennsylvania (Lachs & Talisse 2008, p. 185). Then, he took a PhD at John Hopkins University, where C.S. Peirce, G. Stanley Hall, and George Sylvester Morris taught him.
In 1884 AD, he began teaching at the University of Chicago (Mautner 2005, p. 156) in Chicago. Dewey was instrumental in founding the famous laboratory school, and some of his most important writings on education grew out of his work in that experimental school (Audi
2001, p. 229). In 1904 AD, he moved to Columbia University, where he remained until he retired in 1930 (Mautner 2005, p. 156). However, he remained active in both philosophy and public affairs until his death in 1952.
Over his long career Dewey was a prolific speaker and writer, as evidenced by a literary output of forty books and over seven hundred articles (Audi 2005, p. 229). Dewey remained as an emeritus professor until 1939 AD, after which he traveled and lectured widely until his death at age of ninety-three (Lachs & Talisse, 2008, p. 186). In this period, he was mostly active in New York City, until his death in this city (Gouinlock, 1998).
Moulavi said that the goal of man’s creation was ‘knowledge and guidance’. In another part of his ‘Masnavi’ he introduced ‘knowledge of the truth’ as the purpose of man’s creation. Therefore, Moulavi believed that knowledge should only be for God. The possessors of such knowledge were those who were affected by their knowledge and insight, and their intellect restrained them from doing any evil or committing sins.
Moulavi placed a particular emphasis on ‘intent’. He said that, for example, when a poet composed poetry with a special intent, his intent played the main role on his work. Therefore, all men benefitted from their deeds and sciences they learnt on the basis of their intent and goal. If these intents and goals were good, the results and benefits of their deeds and behaviors would be unimaginable and very good.
A man, who offered his prayer for God, would thus definitely be rewarded in this world and the hereafter. One could therefore, understand that each of the disciplines were a means and instrument that could lead man to God, truth, true peace and tranquility if his intent or goal was good and met God’s approval.
However, these disciplines could not by themselves, give sublimity to man. These were not consolatory. Sciences that were tools for submission, sublimity and transcendence were for leading man towards the goal of creation, and should not be taken as the final goal. Moulavi emphasized that all the branches of sciences and knowledge were for the sake of man.
Therefore, it could be said that those, who loved God, should really love Him, and their final desire should be for God alone. In this case, it was possible for us to speak of a loving worship with God as one of the most important goals of man’s creation. Thus, it was up to all the virtuous and wise scientists and scholars to not involve themselves in words, utterances and appearances. They should not forget the real goal behind the words and controversies.
Education had two main goals from Moulavi’s viewpoint - ultimate and intermediary. The following could be extracted from Moulavi’s poems and writings regarding the ‘ultimate aims’ (Beheshti, Abujafari and Faqihi 2000, p. 211-219).
This implied abiding in Him with absolute devotion and servitude to God. Moulavi believed that the ultimate and final perfection of human beings lay in disengagement from existence or being and in reaching an abiding state after annihilation. This was the meaning of living in proximity to God.
Annihilation in God meant becoming free from darkness, involvements, material and worldly attachments, and disillusionment with everything other than God. A man annihilated in God did not see and did not want any other save God (Beheshti, Abujafari and Faqihi 2000, p. 211-212).
This particular kind of death meant that man died or isolated himself while living, from nature and material attachments. He was borne in divine world, fought against carnal desires, lived free from ambition, disgrace, position and eminence. In this way he destroyed all devilish temperaments and dispositions. He reached a position that killed the evil-prompting self, made him free. He was then reborn with divine and spiritual life and humanly admirable dispositions - this was the second birth of human being.
In addition to the value of formal sciences, Moulavi believed that a seeking mystic or possessor of intuition through gnosis had really achieved the infinite Divine knowledge. He had undoubtedly been revealed some secrets of being, even a sea of sciences and facts that others were deprived of. This knowledge from intuition and inspiration was not only endless, but it was always in a state of being created and presented new sciences and discoveries for the wayfaring mystics at every moment.
In the beginning, a mystic went through the way along with his or her educator or leader, but the highest position or rank was attained when he or she received the bounty and favor of God. In such a case, even the seeker became the channel of Divine bounty immediately.
As for intermediary goals, the following points could be extracted from Moulavi’s works.
Moulavi deemed it necessary to cultivate and guide the intellect and thought towards spiritual experience and intuition. He considered it to be the goal of education. Moulavi said that the real knowledge was the intuitive knowledge that a man received immediately from God, and it was endless. The superficial sciences could not be considered real because of their limitations and instability. However, if people received these sciences correctly, followed them well, acted according to them, cultivated and guided their intellect and thought in their light, they would gradually achieve the real knowledge.
From Moulavi’s point of view, the existential problems of human beings were behind the philosophy of creation. Imprisonment of the spirit in the body, fear of future, man’s attachment to lust, shackles of anger, fame, position etc, negligence of the real ‘ego’ and of the original home, defect in thinking and intellect, loneliness - were among other things on whose basis existential problems occurred. Solving these problems was the goal of the mystical education in Moulavi’s viewpoint.
Moulavi said that appealing to spiritualties, acquisition of the soul’s virtues, avoiding vices, and seeking help from those endowed with divine breath and spiritual soul could solve these difficulties. And finally, the basic solution of these problems was ‘love’. A lover always dwelled in happiness and exhilaration. He or she complained of nothing and no one. There was no short sightedness, meanness, malignancy, cynicism, arrogance, temptation, greed, self-interest, or grief over affairs of this world and the hereafter in the heart of a mystic.
Love satisfied the thirst of spirit, satiated the heart, and dissolved the lover in the Lord. The joy that he or she enjoyed was heartfelt because the right cause for enjoyment and happiness was internal, not external. No happiness was possible through possessions, position, fame, or prestige; rather, it was emitted from the inner being.
Moulavi (2000) believed that acquisition of knowledge should be for the sake of God. In other words, man’s intention from learning and the dissemination of knowledge should be the nearness to God (p. 1-2). The knowledge of such scholars was not superficial, because superficial sciences could lead to negligence (Rum: 7). It was intellect and reason that governed their lives (ibid, p.2). Even their religiosity was based on knowledge.
According to the Prophet of Islam ‘the best of you in faith, was the best of you in knowledge’ (Mohammadi Rey Shahri 1993, p. 121). So, the faith of such scholars was the best and firmest kind of faith. This was so because Imam Baquer had said that those who acquired knowledge, their knowledge would lead them to righteous deeds (ibid, p. 131).
Therefore, it could be concluded that human beings received benefit from the sciences they learnt according to the intentions they had. It was in the light of their good intentions that real tranquility was received and they were led to God and truth (ibid, p. 32). The Prophet of Islam said that if a person learnt science for hypocrisy and worldliness, God would remove blessing from his life and make the life troubled and difficult for him (Mohammadi Rey Shahri, 1993, p 479).
Due to the viewpoint of Moulavi, it was important that the teacher considered individual differences between the students. The teacher must pay attention to the fact that their addressees and students were quite different in aptitudes, attitudes, interests, knowledge, etc., and therefore, the sayings and teachings of the teacher should be in accordance with these differences.
It was also up to the teacher to consider the spiritual capacity of his students. The word ‘reminding’ indicated that Moulavi believed that man had the best potential aptitudes within himself, and one of the responsibilities of the tutor and teacher was to nurture those aptitudes.
Moulavi believed that all teachers should really pay attention to the individual differences of their students, and speak to them according to their merits and powers of understanding.
Not every person deserved receiving wisdom and higher ranks of knowledge and insight (Rumi 2000, p. 50-51, 19-20, 34). The Prophet of Islam said that God’s prophets have been ordered to speak with people in accordance to the level of their understanding and intellect (Al- Hakimi 1991, p. 167).
Moulavi confirmed the knowledge of those who were not superficial in sciences and attained ‘certainty through their sense-perception’ as well as, higher ranks of knowledge (Jafari, 1994, vol.2, p.616). He complains of an imitational science, where a learner did not apply his or her intellect, and did not understand anything through thinking and reflection. They relied only on suspicion (2000, p. 357). Therefore, those, who were satisfied only with using their senses for cognition, knowledge thus obtained would be an obstacle for them. It will debar them from achieving all kinds of perfection (Jafari 1994, vol. 11, p. 375).
Imam Ali introduced the real science at the root of every good (Ghorar-al-Hekam). Moulavi introduced ‘ignorance’ as ‘disbelief’ and ‘knowledge’ as a factor, which removed such disbelief (Jafari 1994, vol. 7, p. 156). He also believed that knowledge had a particular luminosity. Therefore, it could be said that persons without knowledge were in the dark and without effectiveness (Moulavi, 2000). Therefore, Moulavi believed that it was knowledge that caused piety to be effective and fruitful (Jafari 1994, vol. 14, p. 50).
Moulavi emphasized informal education, in addition to formal education. According to Moulavi, the skies and the earth spoke with the one who understood. However, everyone comprehended the wise words of the universe according to their spiritual ability. Also, life could teach the highest lessons to human beings provided they took those lessons (Rumi 2000, p. 15, 19-20, 71).
According to Moulavi, it was up to people and students to reinforce the power of thinking and reflection in themselves so that they could understand the real and hidden aspect of every fact and achieve to understand very comprehensive and deep meanings of every thing (Rumi 2000, p. 8, 20, 38, 40, 49, 53, 60).
Moulavi was of the opinion that speeches, deeds and characteristics of teachers and educators could actually affect students (Rumi 2000, p. 21). Moulavi believed that man already had the best aptitudes given to him by nature. So, the main role of educators was to realize and actualize these potential aptitudes in pupils and not to create new aptitudes in them (Rumi 2000, p. 22).
According to Moulavi, motivation, interest and enthusiasm in seeking and the acquisition of science and knowledge could be very effective factors in the success of individuals. If one wanted to attain comprehension of truth, it would be quite necessary to make his thought free from all carnal desires and all worldly goals, which were against the Divine aims (Rumi, 2000, P.4). The Quran confirms this fact that:
O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) God and believe in His Apostle: He will give you two portions of His mercy, and make for you a light with which you walk and forgive you (Hadid (57: 28)
It was in the light of real knowledge that man achieved a status in which he could see the Being or the Universe as it was. That was the reason why Moulavi repeated this prayer of the Prophet of Islam - “O God, show us the things as they are for it is in the light of real possessors of such knowledge that the entire world was filled with light, and all human beings were guided” (Rumi 2000, p. 2).
If man wished to understand the truth, it was quite necessary to purify his thought from all sorts of temptations and those intents and objectives which were not Divine and god-like. Moulavi asked God to show him the entire universe as it was so as to not stray. Worldly belongings that appeared very beautiful and attractive for some superficial people were in fact objects that those who have not understood their reality would fall in love with and never identify their true worthlessness. From the viewpoint of Moulavi, ‘knowledge and sciences’ could both ‘guide’ or ‘make man to go astray’.
Knowledge guided a man onto the straight path if he was free from the shackles of materialism and temptations. Moulavi emphasized that if man could overcome lust and carnal desires, even for a moment, all the knowledge of the prophets would become clear for him. However, those, who were pawns of selfishness and egoism and had not been delivered out of passing fancies and urges, could not possess useful knowledge for themselves or others. This was because worldliness and profanity made man’s intellectual eye blind and separated him from the real knowledge.
Moulavi even believed that teaching the ill-natured people was like giving a sword to a thief. That is the reason why Moulana said that giving the sword to a deaf and blind drunk was better than to give knowledge to the base and abject. Knowledge, wealth, and status would create havoc, turbulence and disturbance for the ill natured.
For a man who possessed intellect with insight and intuition and had ‘knowledge and action’ - that is, he thought well and was driven to do deserving deeds, the others would assuredly hold humility, and be humbled before such an intellect. Moulavi spoke of ‘the pleasure of knowledge and Divine action’. He deemed Divine acceptance as sufficient for his own ‘knowledge’ and ‘action’ and he also expressed his repugnance toward any thing other than this.
Nevertheless, Moulavi did not agree with those sciences and actions that had no spiritual effect, and sprung from blind following and repetitions. He asked God that he be freed from such sciences and actions before his death.
From his viewpoint, the real knowledge tried to impart the ‘certitude’ and ‘certitude’ tried to see ‘the Beloved’. Moulavi believed that such love could not be found in the pages of usual books, because this real love came from pure hearts and souls that were free of the shackles of egotism and therefore had come to a position where they could see and understand the truth as it was.
Moulavi introduced the ‘love’ as a real school that its teacher was God and all human beings were the students. The knowledge received in such a school was ‘infinite’ because ‘the Beloved’, that is the Lord of the worlds was ‘infinite’ This was the reason why Moulana ordered man to acquire knowledge that was not limited to ‘signs and marks’.
Moulana believed that one could be delivered from usual schools, pages and repetition of lessons. The seekers of truth did not become tired of such inborn and instinctive knowledge. The sciences that were found in the usual schools were something different from ‘love’. Thus, a man who appealed to the Divine love was as if he had obtained all the real sciences and it was not necessary for him to have any other distinction or sciences. Because when the knowledge was blended in man’s heart and soul, it really helped and saved him.
Moulavi used the words ‘spirit’, ‘knowledge’, and ‘love’ with each other. He believed in the light of such knowledge, that the real life was ingrained with love, which pervaded the man’s body, and the body received the spirit and life. It was in the light of ‘love’ that a man’s intellect transformed into pure gold and found its true worth.
Thus, Moulana insistently asked the jurisprudents with a superficial understanding to seek the ‘knowledge of love’, learn and teach it. This was so because this knowledge could save man in this world, as well as, in the hereafter. Therefore, the enlightened gained knowledge of reaching closer to God through their hearts.
The following educational principles could be extracted from Moulavi’s works (Beheshti, Abujafari & Faqihi, 2000, p. 220-232):
Moulavi had emphasized this principle in many of his writings and poems. By obeying this principle, human beings received a particular insight, in the light of which they would not see or want anything save God. They would not attach to anything other than Him, and would worship Him alone. In fact, the real philosophy and reason for all worships was submission and servitude to God.
Moulavi had expressed the need of human beings to have an aware and reliable educator. He believed that following such an educator would take man to perfection and elevation. Such educator knew the soul, faculties of the soul, existential dimensions of the soul, temptations and deceptions of the soul, and the spirit’s pains. This was why this educator could help others and treat them well. These educators were physicians and guides, and pure bondsmen of God that never thought of the material and worldly pleasures.
Moulavi said that the basis and foundation of attaining truth was the request or a wanting that increased man’s efforts and activities to this end.
Moulavi considered effort and activity as great factors for bringing man to goals and aims. He had also introduced these two factors as the cause of man’s happiness and joy.
In addition to effort and activity, the grace of God was a major factor for bringing human beings to perfection.
Moulavi believed that in addition to the satisfaction of material and superficial needs of a person, we should not neglect their higher and supreme needs. Man had a constitution that could be a manifestation of God and be light from Him. Therefore, he should not lose himself, his self-esteem or dignity.
Moulavi believed that there was no monasticism or renunciation in Islam. He introduced joining a society as the way of attaining growth, elevation and perfection. Moulavi said that membership in a society made man valuable and spiritual. This caused man to avoid egoism and individualism. It was in the light of joining the society that the spirit of compassion, altruism, patience, trust or good judgment, and affection were cultivated in human beings. That was the reason why the principle of sociability was considered in Islamic worships.
Moulavi stated the importance of individual differences in psychological and intellectual characteristics of each person, and the necessity of observing these factors in life and education. In his view, educational policies should be consistent with the rate of comprehension, understanding, intelligence and aptitude of each student.
Moulavi was of the opinion that this principle was the educational principle of all Divine religions and the recommendation of all high mystics; while severity and imposing an ignorant plan for education indicated crudeness.
The educational methods from Moulavi’s viewpoint could be considered in two categories - methods of student education and methods of self-training.
The following could be extracted from Moulavi’s works as some of the important educational methods for students.
Moulavi emphasized the effective role of this method in education. He believed that the admonishment of others through one’s deeds was more attractive.
Moulavi believed that an educator could make students attached to him or her and provide the ground for the student’s acceptance of learning and place trust in the educator.
Moulavi agreed that education was based on encouragement and affection. In spite of this, he sometimes spoke of punishment when encouragement or kindness was not effective in teaching a student. Importantly, the intention of the teacher should be educational and correction of the student’s behavior. It must not however be a kind of revenge, acting out of self-interest or self- comfort.
Moulavi introduced good admonishment or good exhortation as the educational method of God’s prophets. He used this method in many cases and in different stories and exemplum. He referred to two major points in this regard – firstly, if admonishment was prudent, tactful and its conditions observed, it would have a great influence and effect; secondly, the main condition for effectiveness of admonishment was readiness of the one who was to receive it. Many a stubborn men opposed friendly advice, or justified them.
Moulavi had spoken of this method in many cases, and had mentioned its role and importance in helping individuals for making cognitive changes, creating new insights and finding solutions to different problems.
Moulavi had introduced the taking lessons as a sign of intellect, insight and growth. He believed that a man could take many lessons from the history of the past.
Storytelling was one of the most frequent used methods of Moulavi. He had explained many facts in different kinds of stories.
Moulavi had used exemplum to clarify different subjects to permeate them to his audiences and addressees. He had described, in some cases, difficult and complex subjects by running several subsequent exempla.
The following self-training methods were some of the important methods that could be extracted from Moulavi’s works in this regard (Beheshti, Abujafari & Faqihi 2000, p. 235- 262).
According to Moulavi, the heart of the matter of knowledge was commitment and action. The criteria of humanity should be searched for in practical obligation and commitment. We should not be beguiled by superficial knowledge of some people. If knowledge was combined with action, it not only brightened the soul of its owner, but also guided the ignorant people.
A man, who had no commitment to gaining knowledge about self, was like a tree that had no root. On the other hand, in Moulavi’s view, the basis of knowledge was intuition. This particular kind of knowledge could only be obtained through action. It should also be noted that in the event of acting according to superficial sciences (not the science of intuition), one could eventually achieve the desired perfection and knowledge from intuition in a gradual manner.
Moulavi considered love as the most basic educational method for mysticism, and believed that spiritual education and development were only possible through having such a love, as love had a power to change or revolutionize the personality of the lover and purify him from himself and from his unbecoming attributes, habits and behaviors, and led him to harmony with the beloved.
Moulavi talked much about watching over the soul and self-examination and their role in self-training. He considered them as factors that led human beings to perfection, self-revelation, indulgence of heart and passage through different stages of a mystic’s journey.
Moulavi said to us, regarding the Quran, not to consider it like other words and usual concepts because its appearance had a great inner form. If we read the Quran and speculated on the deep meaning of each verse, our soul will gain such a magnitude that enthusiasm for spiritual flight would leave it restless with no moment of calm.
Moulavi was of the opinion that man’s thinking should be combined with remembrance of God, because this remembrance produces dynamism, purification, and magnificence of thinking. It also caused separation and purification from all sorts of evils and vices. It not only enlightened man’s thought, but also it cultivated his inner senses.
According to Beheshti, Faqihi and Abujafari (2001), although Saadi had not explicitly stated the educational goals in his works, the following goals could be deduced from his sayings and poems:
Saadi spoke in detail about self-cognition, faith, servitude to God, and praising God in his writings. He considered such traits necessary if one desired to reach the position of attachment to God i.e. to reach a place that included all values.
Saadi recognized serving God was a way to gain esteem, power and greatness. He regretted that people came and passed away without tasting the most pleasurable and enjoyable pleasure of sincere devotion and absolute sincerity, which would cause springs of wisdom to flow from the heart to the tongue.
Therefore, the ultimate goal of education, in Saadi’s viewpoint, was cognition of the exalted God and devotion to Him. He said that the way to reach this state was through the soul and being detached so that one acquired inner purity or good morality and was able to surrender to God.
Saadi considered the cultivation of spirit as the basis of education and man’s personality, development. He believed that it was impossible to cultivate the spirit without the purification of the soul and banishing carnal desires, arrogance, rancor, and oppression. He said that it was also impossible without acquiring moral virtues such as humility, modesty, benevolence, justice, and magnanimity.
Saadi considered man to consist of physical body and a spiritual soul. He stated that spirit’s cultivation was by itself desirable and was a major goal. However, he considered procurement of health, the power of body, and the satisfying its needs as desirable intermediate goals for the purpose of worship of God and rendering service to people.
Saadi warned humans against indolence. He mentioned four points regarding preserving the health of the body: avoiding gluttony, moderation, preservation of greatness and magnanimity, and finally, refraining from idleness.
From the viewpoint of Saadi, social adjustment that led to peaceful coexistence was desirable as we aspired to attain the perfection of an ideal society. He imagined a Utopia in which these two things were the firm foundation of each individual in such society.
It was for this reason that Saadi, in all parts of Gulistan and Bustan, spoke of characteristics of the individuals in a desired society and mentioned properties such as justice, humility, peace, benevolence, sympathy, and contentment as the characteristics of a desirable society. Saadi mentioned the following items as factors, which created social adjustment - justice, humility, self-esteem and uprightness, and finally, benevolence and goodness.
Teaching and instruction methods should bring the students to the educational goals. Therefore, to reach the goals envisioned by Saadi, there was an emphasis on activities such as question and answer and improved lecture methods.
Saadi also suggested some points in teaching, instruction, and learning that could improve the students’ education. He not only emphasized paying attention to the techniques of speaking or talking but also placed much emphasis on the distinct role of silence as one of the greatest techniques or methods of increasing and improving educational policies.
The importance of questioning and asking according to Saadi’s viewpoint was revealed when he said, “They asked Imam Mohammad Bin Mohammad Ghazali, (on whom be the mercy of God) about the means by which he had attained such a degree of knowledge. He replied – ‘In this manner that whatever I did not know, I was not ashamed to enquire about’”
He told people to enquire about everything they did not know, ‘since for the small trouble of asking, you will be guided onto the respectable road of knowledge’ (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LXXVII). However, he also noted that ‘whenever you were certain that anything will be known to you in time, be not hasty in inquiring after it’ (ibid, tale LXXVIII). However, one should think and then answer. He said, ‘whosoever doth not reflect before he giveth an answer, will generally speak improperly’ (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale XXXVI).
Saadi referred to three points in applying the question-and- answer method. Firstly, we should question for knowledge. He believed that one should not ask a question for pedantry, ostentation and dawdling, or for getting information about the others’ private and personal affairs. Therefore, if the questioner received his answer without asking and with patience and silence, it was not necessary that he asked a question.
Secondly, questions should be asked of the wise ones. Saadi was of the opinion that one should only ask educated, knowledgeable and well-intentioned scholars.
Thirdly, he believed in the necessity of a well-thought-out answer. When a wise person wanted to give the answer to a question, he would do so in a thought-provoking way, sound technique and with good intentions because the unexamined speech could mislead instead of increasing knowledge (Beheshti, Faqihi & Abujafari, 2001).
When speaking and questioning or answering, Saadi emphasized not interrupting the others. He has been quoted to say: “No one confesses his own ignorance, excepting he who begins to speak whilst another is talking, and before the discourse has ended” (Gulistan, chapter IV, tale VII). The reason Saadi said this was that “a discourse hath a commencement and a conclusion” (ibid). In another instance, he said, “Whosoever interrupts the conversation of others to make a display of his own wisdom, certainly betrays his ignorance” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LXXXII). He added, “A wise man speaketh not until they ask him a question” (ibid).
Saadi ordered all people, “Till you perceive a convenient time for conversing, lose not your own consequence by talking to no purpose” (Gulistan, chapter I, tale XIII). Saadi said that when a business could be managed without one’s interference, it was not proper for him to speak on the subject; but if he sees a blind man headed towards a well and he kept silence, it was a crime (Gulistan, chapter I, tale XXXVIII)”.
Therefore, Saadi concluded, “until you are persuaded that the discourse is strictly proper, speak not; and until you are convinced that whatever you know will obtain a favorable answer, ask not” (Gulistan, chapter VII, tale XIII). Another wisdom from Saadi stated, “He who listens not to advice, studies to hear reprehension. When advice gains not admission into the ear, if they reprehend you, be silent” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale XLVIII).
Since Saadi believed that the sources of knowledge were unlimited, he did not confine himself to formal and classic textbooks. He placed particular emphasis on informal learning, for which the students would try to take lessons from the great school of nature, the events of their lives and the lives of other people, in all places and times.
Thus, people should not confine themselves to the appearance of matters; rather, they should make great effort to get to the essence of matters and subjects and try to comprehend their truth. The educational method of storytelling utilized by Saadi in both poetry and prose, could be considered as an epitome of the teaching methods. Therefore, students should be committed to this approach in that they should not only study history books, for example, but also must pay great attention to all of history, nature and all human beings, if they wished to reach their highest educational goals. This was also a task for all scholars and authorities in the educational system.
Saadi believed in hidden learning and learning from all things. For example, he related, “They asked Loqman from whom he had learnt urbanity, and he replied, ‘From those of rude manners; for whatsoever I saw in them that was disagreeable, I avoided doing the same.’ Not a word can be said, even in the midst of sport, from which a wise man will not derive instruction” (Gulistan. Chapter II, tale XXI).
Saadi believed in ‘informal learning’ and said, “listen to the discourse of a learned man with the utmost attention” (Gullistan. Chapter II, tale XXXVIII). Saadi wanted all people to pay attention to the admonitions of the advisers and take lessons from them. He said, “know you not, that you will see your feet in fetters, when you listen not to the admonition of mankind” (Gulistan, chapter I, tale XVI).
Saadi believed that ‘admonition’ came before ‘confinement’ and said, “Great men first admonish, and then confine; when they give advice and you listen not, they put you in fetters” (Gulistan, chapter XIII, tale XC). Saadi said that it was up to people to admonish even though the other did not listen. “Admonish and exhort as your duty requires; if they mind not, it does not concern you. Although thou knowest that they will not listen, nevertheless speak whatever you know that is advisable. It will soon come to pass that you will see the silly fellow with his feet in the stocks, there smiting his hands and exclaiming, ‘Alas! that I did not listen to the wise man’s advice’” (Gulistan, chapter VII, tale V).
Saadi also believed that the fortunate took warning from the histories and precepts of the ancients, in order that they did not become an example to posterity (Gulistan, chapter XIII, tale XC). Therefore, Saadi ordered all people, “Take warning from the misfortunes of others so that others may not take example from you” (ibid).
Teaching methods and instructional content alone were not considered to be sufficient to bring students to their educational goals. It was also necessary to utilize particular techniques to improve and accelerate the gradual progress of students toward those goals. Encouragement and punishment of students were necessary techniques. The reasons for using these two were the same - leading students to educational goals. It was necessary for educators and teachers to be the epitome of both authority and affection, so students will both respect and love them.
A teacher should be the epitome of affection and authority. He explained, “Anger, when excessive, createth terror; and kindness out of season destroyed authority” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale XVIII). Therefore, Saadi believed that teachers should be not so severe as to cause disgust, nor so lenient as to encourage audacity. Severity and leniency should be tempered together. A wise man did not carry severity to excess, nor suffered such relaxation as will lessen his dignity. Thus, one should be complacent, but not to that degree that they may insult him with sharp teeth of the wolf (ibid).
Saadi believed that one should use both encouragement and punishment adequately and thoughtfully, in a timely manner. This was so because undue, unnecessary and unexamined anger and punishment made students truant, and undue encouragement made him or her be arrogant, egoistic and exigent to the extent that he or she did not obey the teacher or the educator. According to Saadi, encouragement and motivating others was of particular importance and could influence them for better performance to accomplish their desired goals (Gulistan, chapter I, tale III).
Saadi put emphasis on praising the students and said in this regard, “If you wish to preserve peace with your enemy, whenever he slanders you in your absence, in return praise him to his face; at any rate as the words will issue from the lips of the pernicious man, if you wish that his speech should not be bitter, make his mouth sweet” (Gulistan, chapter I, tale XXIV). Saadi did not think it was advisable to overindulge in blame even when blame was necessary (Gulistan, chapter I, tale XVI).
It appears that Saadi affirmed punishment when necessary. Saadi said, “A king sent his son to school, and placed a silver tablet under his arm. On the face of the tablet was written in gold – ‘The severity of the master is better than the indulgence of the father’ (Gulistan, chapter VII, tale IV). However, punishment should be the last method in education and not the first one.
He professed, “When the hand has failed in every trick, it is lawful to draw the sword” (Gulistan, chapter XIII, tale XV). “Forgiveness was commendable, but apply not ointment to the wound of an oppressor. Knoweth he not that whosoever spareth the life of a serpent, committeth injury towards the sons of Adam” (ibid, tale XVI).
The reason Saadi confirmed punishment in some cases was that, “An enemy did not become a friend through indulgence; nay, it increases his avarice. Be humble unto him who shows you kindness” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LXXXI). In another tale, he added, “When you speak to a low fellow with kindness and benignity, it increases his arrogance and perverseness” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LXI).
He believed the men with base nature did not deserve affection because “when you connected yourself with base men, and showed them favor, they committed crimes with your power, whereby you participate in their guilt” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale VIII). In another instance, he said, “When you support and favor the vicious, you commit wickedness with your power, by participation” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LIII).
Saadi believed that in spite of some of similarities between different people, there were some differences in their aptitudes in comparison with one another (meaning there were differences between their physical, intellectual, social, emotional and moral aptitudes).
Saadi said that people should consider the extent of their abilities. He was of the opinion that “whosoever contendeth with the great sheds his own blood. He, who thinks himself great, had been compared to one who squinted and saw double. You would get a broken front by sporting your head against a ram” (Gulistan, chapter XIII, tale XLV).
In another example he said, “It is not the part of a wise man to box with a lion, or to strike his fist against a sword. Neither fight nor contend with one more powerful than you are; put your hands under your armpit” (ibid, tale XLVI). He also warned, “A weak man, who contended with one who was strong, befriended his adversary by his own death”. (ibid, tale XLVII). Saadi emphasized that the teachers should speak to students in conformity with the temperament of the listener (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale XXIX).
Saadi considered the forsaking of carnal desires as the cause of acquisition of real knowledge (1995, p.947). This was the reason why he emphasized that truth should be searched by those who had succeeded to forsake their carnal desires (ibid, p.796). Also, Saadi introduced a superficial scholar whose action did not prove his or her knowledge, as individuals who suffered in vain and made efforts in vain (Alavi 2002, p.186). Saadi believed that committing crimes and sins by scholars was much more objectionable than when carried out by others (ibid).
Even, Saadi introduced knowledge as the factor for nurturing religiosity (ibid, p.214).
Saadi believed that a man was lucky and prosperous if he obtained a provision from knowledge for himself (1996). Saadi introduced science and knowledge as the heritage of God’s prophets (Alavi 2002, P.180).
Saadi introduced wise persons as pure gold so that wherever they went everyone knew their value. While, the ignorant were like counterfeit jewelry who were isolated and an outsider in their own home (ibid, p.180).
Saadi strongly emphasized that ‘knowledge’ was the factor for nurturing ‘religiosity’ in humans (Alavi 2002, p.214). Thus, he put emphasis on the fact that people were not to waste their valuable time learning superficial sciences, and to appeal to those sciences which led them to perfection (Saadi, 1374, p.847).
Saadi considered humanity, magnanimity and courtesy as the knowledge, or the essence of knowledge. Thus, from his viewpoint, if a human being lacked such characteristics, he was only apparently human, and would inwardly be like an animal (ibid, p.974).
Saadi had a comprehensive view of education. He considered all kinds of education as complementary to each other. According to Beheshti, Faqihi and Abujafari (2001), kinds of education from the viewpoint of Saadi could be classified as follows:
Saadi considered intellect as the great gift of God. He believed that if intellect governed man’s existence and being, then the carnal soul will have no power to fight with intellect, and man will be able to reach perfection. It was in this way that a man spoke thoughtfully, avoided pretentse, took lessons from every happening, swallowed his anger, quelled his lust and was not avaricious.
Saadi believed that the soul’s purification and deliverance from the captivity of gluttony and lust was the first step in intellect’s education. He considered talkativeness, speaking unpretentiously when it was necessary, and speaking when an event did not deserve speech as the characteristics of ignorant people.
Saadi frequently spoke of God in Gulistan and Bustan, His greatness, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, manifestations in creation, the hereafter and the day of resurrection. He invited people to religion and religious education. He considered religion and faith as the basis of a man’s life. He even considered knowledge as the means of nurturing religiosity. He emphasized knowledge and good deeds in religious education and recognized religious knowledge as a means for bringing man to his spiritual purpose. He said that good deeds are the result of that religious knowledge. Saadi placed emphasis on three points in religious education - God’s remembrance, lamentation and supplication for morality, lastly, thinking of the hereafter.
Saadi was aware of mystical thoughts, and he frequently spoke in his works about mystical education, deep emotion, exaltation, love, self-sacrifice, approaching God, welcoming hardships for the sake of God, and annihilation in divine essence. He had allocated the third part of Gulistan to love, deep emotion and exaltation and said that it was up to the mystic seeker to start a journey toward the infinite region of cognition and mysticism by self-refinement and overcoming the carnal soul, until he gradually reaches a place where there was no trace of his own name and remembrance.
Saadi frequently spoke of moral virtues and high human values such as forgiveness, chivalry, sympathy, compassion, justice, magnanimity, goodness, righteousness, and contentment. In Gulistan and Bustan, he allocated many chapters to moral education. He considered himself an educator of morality and as an admonisher.
Saadi’s art was in his ability to express skillfully and artistically the moral virtues and admonishments using beautiful, eloquent, fluent, and rhythmical statements so that the reader could accept them and did not become tired of them. Saadi had particularly emphasized moral education, and had introduced moral education and acquisition of good morality as the purpose of the mission of the Prophet of Islam and the aim of the Quran’s revelation.
He considered bad-temper and moral degeneration as factors that would cause man to fall into a burning Hell and eternal punishment. Saadi believed that moral education was very difficult and required much time. He emphasized two fundamental points in moral education.
Saadi was of the opinion that moral education should begin in childhood, because if a bad habit is positioned in a man’s nature or soul, it cannot be easily omitted. Secondly, Saadi believed that the success of moral education was dependent upon a good educator who had virtue and knowledge, did good deeds, had right speech, and had educated his own soul before educating others.
Saadi placed much emphasis on the determinative role of inheritance and heritage on man, to the extent that he said, “An evil root would not thrive in a goodly shade. To educate the worthless was like throwing a walnut upon a dome. Though the clouds should pour down the water of life, you would never gather fruit from the branch of the willow. Waste not your time
on low people, for we can never obtain sugar from the reed. The wolf’s whelp would at length turn into a wolf, although it be brought up along with men. How could anyone form a good sword out of bad iron? O ye philosophers, it is impossible to convert a worthless wretch into a good man. The rain, in whose nature there is no partiality, produced tulips in the garden, but only weeds in a barren soil. A sterile soil will not yield spikenard, waste not then seed upon it” (Gulistan, chapter I, tale IV). In another tale, he says, “When nature has given capacity, instruction will make impression, but if iron is not of a proper temper, no polishing will make it good” (Gulistan, chapter VII, tale I).
Saadi believes that ‘a capacity without education was deplorable’ (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LVI). He gave some examples of this, saying, “the education was the same, but the capacities were different; although silver and gold were produced from a stone, yet these metals were not to be found in every stone. The star Canopus shines all over the world, but the scented leather comes only from Yemen” (Gulistan, chapter VII, tale VI). Therefore, Saadi concluded that - “an education without capacity was thrown away” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LVI). “A student without inclination was a lover without money; a traveler without observation, was a bird without wings; a learned man without work was a tree without fruit; and a devotee without knowledge was a house without a door” (Gulistan, chapter VIII, tale LXXI).
In spite of this, Saadi emphasized the role of education during childhood and believed, “He who was not taught good manners in his childhood would have no good qualities when he arrived at manhood” (Gulistan, chapter XII, tale III). Saadi likened a child to a piece of green wood that could be bent as much as we pleased, but when it dried, it could not be made straight without fire (ibid).
Saadi believed that good children were so important for their parents and society that “it was better in the opinion of the wise that a woman in labor should bring forth a serpent than wicked children” (Gulistan, chapter VII, tale X). Therefore, it was up to educators to teach wisdom to their sons.
He counseled, “If you desire your name to be remembered, teach your son wisdom and judgment” (Bustan, pp. 382-383). Saadi placed so much emphasis on intellect that he believed that if such a son “lacked both these assets, you would die, and have no descendants” (p. 383). Saadi admonished that it was up to the parents and educators to take care of their sons and bring them with comfort “so that their eyes was not fixed at others’ hands, because he who showed no care of his offspring will see him cared for by others and roaming about” (Bustan, year, p. 384).
Moral education was so important for Rousseau that he dedicated the second section of ‘Emile’ to moral education. Rousseau (1973) believes that we should consider a moral personality for the child from the very beginning of childhood. Rousseau recommended that one should pay no attention to the carnal desires of the child, because there were no such desires and if we ourselves do not create them, he or she would not be hurt.
In another part of ‘Emile’, Rousseau emphasized that educators should distinguish the real and natural needs of children from the needs that were created through carnal desires. Rousseau tried to keep the child away from all kinds of pretense and nurture compassion in him by sharing other people’s pains and sorrows. A child should be interested in goodness, generosity, mercy, magnanimity and other subtle and fair tendencies, which were naturally desirable for human beings. The child should avoid greed, jealousy, revenge, and all despicable lusts, which not only naturalized sensitivity but also had a impacted it negatively as Rousseau believed that degenerate lusts destroyed the heart.
It is due to such belief that Rousseau recommended that the youth be kind, truthful, honest and without vanity. They should be able to speak to people as their conscience let them, without being anxious that their words had to be praised by others. They should be firm on the road of truth for upholding what their hearts identified as true, and not be led astray from that way of stating the right and doing the right because of self-conceit.
The only important thing was that a human being did his or her duty well in this world. He should even admonish himself to keep away from insolence, rectify himself and continue living piously away from corrupt delusion. Rousseau spoke of changing greed, bad tendencies and attitudes (Ulich, 1962). He asserted that if the nature of youngsters were not to be destroyed and led astray, they would ultimately discover the great moral sensations of love, justice, and obligation. They would attain a deeper unity with the universe (Ulich, 1962).
Such moral refinement and nurturing of high moral disposition, from Rousseau’s viewpoint, was not only necessary for those who were being educated, but was also necessary for educators in order to teach the children and youngsters with a pure intention. This sprang from Rousseau’s belief that a human could choose his or her instincts (Cameron, 1973).
According to Rousseau (1967), it was only the freedom and power of will that made humans good and beneficent. On the contrary, inability to act and captivity would have no outcome other than wickedness. Rousseau believed that man’s nature was good, and it was in the light of moral education that human’s natural aptitudes and powers would be actualized.
People have different aptitudes at different ages. Therefore, it was necessary for educators to pay attention to these aptitudes. Rousseau asserted that girls were different from boys, and each child was different from another child; so each child should be considered differently (Claydon, 1969). Rousseau believed that the best way of gaining man’s happiness was to give him his particular position.
This was one of the methods of paying attention to individuals’ aptitudes and differences. Rousseau stated that children and youngsters should be expected accurately, according to and consistent with their aptitudes and powers to perform their duties and responsibilities. Rousseau believed moral things and social relations had no meaning for a child who had not yet reached puberty. Therefore, we should avoid using those words around them.
False thoughts caused error and corruption, thus we should pay much attention to his first period. The only knowledge children possessed before puberty was of nature and physical events. They did not even know history, metaphysics, ethics or morality. They knew the relation between man and things, but did not know about moral relations between people.
The children had little and limited power the formation and comprehension of abstract concepts and general ideas (Boyd, 1975).
When they reached puberty, their instincts grew. Then they began to compare themselves with others, begin to understand abstract concepts, and comprehend deeper secrets of the world. It was necessary to use history and natural religions for teaching this age group. Thus, the youngsters would discover the great moral sensations (Ulich, 1962).
Moral education was the most important during adolescence. At fifteen years of age the person would reach the age of reason and logic. He possessed the instruments for removing the obstacles to understanding what he confronted in moral and social fields. Before this period, the child’s sensitivity was restricted to himself, but now it would extend to the environment until it achieved creation of emotions, which led to concepts about good and bad (Chateau, 1990).
We should, keep egoism from children. Rousseau maintained that if a teacher did not hasten in instruction and education, he would not hurry up in waiting for difficult works from children or students. Rather, he would want what was needed in suitable time, in his way. The personality of children would thus form well, and they would not be raised spoiled.
Rousseau believed that people were affected by different environmental conditions. Therefore it was necessary to improve upon these conditions in order to remove undesirable states and behaviors. These should be replaced with desirable states and behaviors.
Rousseau asserted that to improve the society, we should start from improvement of family and not the government. If we wanted to rectify the general manners, these rectifications should begin with family manners, and this responsibility belonged to the parents (Chateau, 1990). Rousseau also believed that it is necessary that educated people stayed away from corrupt people.
One of the educational methods for implementing the principle of making environmental conditions sound was the preparation method. It meant that Rousseau had paid attention to those environmental conditions and factors, which increased the probability of appearance of desirable behaviors and states.
Rousseau asserted that what is told to others was of no influence unless there would have been a merited preparation before it, as an earth must be prepared in advance for planting. Also, the seeds of virtues grew slowly, thus there should have existed a long period of cultivation and nurturing before they had roots. Therefore, we should not speak to youngsters about reason and logic even when they reached the age of reason and logic, unless they had been prepared (Boyd, 1975).
Rousseau himself tried that Emile could learn and understand deep concepts about the world until the age of twelve (Jarret, undated). Rousseau, by keeping Emile away from every kind of corruption, tried to prepare him to learn moral concepts (Chateau, 1990). He deemed it necessary for children to tolerate harms and hardships in their childhood so that they were prepared to tolerate greater pains when they became adults.
The second method based which can be extracted from the Rousseau’s works about making environmental conditions sound was the educational method of travelling. Rousseau maintained that it was sometimes necessary to change the place in which one lived in order to enjoy the educational effects of the new places.
According to Rousseau, the situation of a country influenced its people. He asserted that human beings were not trees, which had been planted in a single place forever. Rather, they were meant to move, travel and know other countries and people. Rousseau said that Emile, in two years, travelled to many great and small countries of Europe (1973). If the educator made Emile travel, it was so that his entrance into society could be carried out in best way, for Rousseau believed that before an individual chose a position in the social system, he should know what rank and positions were suitable for him (Chateau, 1990).
Patterning method was the third method, which could be extracted from Rousseau’s works as based on the principle of creating sound environmental conditions. It meant that the educator had to set an example for desirable behavior. Rousseau said -
“I would always encourage people towards continence and doing good works and I would be an example for them as far as it was possible for me. I would try to manifest religion for them as beautiful and enjoyable. I would make their faith firm to real theism, doing right and other useful principles of faith - those things that every person should accept. (1973, p. 218)
That is why Rousseau said: “O ye teachers, forsake pretention. Be really pious and good. Your good behavior should first inscribe into your students minds, and then influence their hearts. I prefer to give alms in the presence of my student instead of wanting him to give alms” (1973, p. 82). Rousseau not only recommended all educators to be role models for their students, but he also encouraged the students to follow good examples (Ulich, 1962).
This principle meant that a person should follow his or her inner obligations instead of external pressures. Rousseau asserted that we should hold people responsible for their deeds. Such control and supervision should spring from knowledge (Boyd, 1975). Rousseau believed that we should help a child when necessary and be proud when he helped himself (1973). Rousseau believed that a person had the power to influence the environment. Therefore, without forcing them, children could correct their own behavior.
This is one of the methods that Rousseau suggested on the basis of principle of responsibility. Rousseau put forward this method so that his student could become a responsible person by becoming aware of the results of his action.
Rousseau designed an environment for Emile in which he experienced the results of his undesirable behavior (Ryan, 1976). For instance, Rousseau asserted that if a child told lies, he would have to see all of that lie’s bad results (author, 1973). That’s why Rousseau maintained that adults should not place any obstacles to children’s tendencies. Children should overcome only natural and physical obstacles and penalties would be incurred due to their deeds (Claydon, 1969). In other words, Rousseau said that instead of punishing children for their lies, educators should show the children the bad results of telling lies by not believing anything that they say (Ryan, 1976).
This was another method which could be extracted from Rousseau’s writings with due attention to the principle of responsibility. Rousseau believed that educators taught their students hard lessons (Ryan, 1976). Rousseau said in this regard:
“If we exempted a person from all kinds of harms which were necessary for human beings, haven’t we acted against his natural construction? Yes, I again emphasize that a child should become familiar with small pains if he wanted to comprehend great bounties and happiness. This was man’s nature that if the body were in great comfort, his spirit would become corrupted. The one who didnot know pain and sorrow would not understand the pleasure of kindness nor would he comprehend the sweetness of mercy. Did you know what is the most certain for misery of your child? It is accustoming him to the notion that he could take everything he wanted by force. The more easily his desires were accepted, the more his desires will become (1973, p. 62).
Nature showed pain and sorrow to children from the very beginning of their lives. And, Rousseau recommended that children should not be protected from hardships (Claydon, 1969). Accepting pain should be the first lesson of children’s life, and this was what Emile needed more than anything else (Claydon; Jarret, n.d.). That is the reason why Rousseau introduces Emile as a diligent person, patient, firm and brave that few bad things affect him, and he can calmly endures pain (Boyd, 1975).
Rousseau (1987) introduced patience, submission and perfect justice as the only wealth that a person could take with him from this world. These were those things that human beings were able to complete until they reached perfection and happiness. Rousseau (1989) said that God was just:
“I should suffer, while He knows my innocence. This is all that bestows me assurance and reliance. My heart and intellect testify that I should not be disappointed. I should learn that I should suffer in silence; all things will finally find their suitable and merited place. (1973, p. 61)
Rousseau stressed the fact that if we tried to remove all sorrows from children’s lives, we would cause more adversities for their future. The child should be taught to accept the adversities of the world. In addition, Rousseau believed one could not understand the concept of other people’s pains so far as he himself had not experienced pain.
Rousseau believed that we should never underestimate affection and that all social, educational and political relations should be based on affection (Myer, 1971). According to Rousseau (1973), a child was the most important person deserving to receive mercy, care and support.
Rousseau considered childhood as the period of giving affection to children. Therefore, he strongly advised loving children. Rousseau (undated) considered himself fortunate to have been raised in a loving environment.
The opposite principle of not showing affection could also be found in Rousseau’s writings. Rousseau recommended that if we felt that our loving behavior had no educational impact on a child and he or she became worse because of that affection, that child should be deprived of such affection (1973).
Rousseau considered (bad) society and community as a factor that contributed to moral corruptions and enslavement (Khadivi Zand, 1966). He believed that all humans were created free and equal. He believed that in a community one or several persons might be powerful and have authority over everyone else. What formed the legal basis of power and a right government were those contracts, which had been satisfactorily concluded among the members of a community.
Rousseau believed in moral inequality, which was permitted by some laws and was contrary to people’s natural right. He said that in a society, the individuals should sacrifice their private benefits for the will and benefits of all (1969).
This method can be suggested for the principle of ‘not following from community.’ Rousseau believed it was necessary to keep children away from community or society. Rousseau asserted that children, at least for a short period of their lives, should be exempt from bearing of the yoke that nature had not imposed on them (i.e. the yoke of community which had been made by adults). We should not limit children’s natural freedom (1973).
Rousseau maintained that children did not possess a power for living in society without being embroiled in its corruptions. The original and pure nature of a child could lead him to corruption and wickedness because of living in a society and intercourse with other people (Claydon, 1969). In other words, Rousseau wanted to nurture the child’s social attitude away from society.
According to Ulich (1962) nothing else seemed more contradictory than a child being educated far from society for life in society. Rousseau wanted a child to become familiar with social problems and people. They would then enter the society so as to remain be protected from its bad effects.
This principle was the basis of many of Rousseau’s educational theories. Rousseau maintained that all human beings should follow nature and its rules. Even a man’s aptitudes could be considered a part of human nature, or in harmony with nature.
Rousseau believed that we should know children’s nature, and formulate educational plans according to that nature. It was up to educators to direct children’s growth, and protect them from bad influences. This caused a child to become a real human being and to serve humanity.
Rousseau considered nature and its performance quite correct, valid and good (Wise, 1964). He asserted that nature caused the proper growth of mankind (Claydon, 1969). Rousseau considered following the nature as following God (1973). According to Rousseau, nature only knew God, and different religions, which caused differences among people, were the inventions of society. Thus, we should only be the students of God (ibid).
Romanticism started with Rousseau. Romantics believed that the educational environment must be flexible and suitable to let children reveal their inner goodness, social abilities, and virtues (Kohlberg & Mayer, 1972). Therefore we should avoid from imposing formal and predetermined experiences on children (Ryan, 1976). Rousseau maintained that nature led human beings to higher ranks of development in the light of properties it had given them.
Rousseau suggested this method based on the principle of following nature. Rousseau meant that children should never be punished for their misbehavior; seeing the results of their bad deeds should be their punishment instead (1973). Rousseau gave the example of an apostate and a liar. The results of their bad actions would be enough for them, thus, it was not necessary for educator to lecture children on the bad results of their actions.
This was one of the other educational methods based on principle of following nature. Rousseau believed that if human being was naturally good, he would remain good as far as he was not corrupted. Therefore, Rousseau recommended closing the way for evil to enter a person’s heart, so that the heart might remain pure forever.
Negative education did not teach moral virtues, but rather only defects (Chateau, 1990). The first education (between birth and age 12) should be negative; educators should not teach or instruct virtues and truth to this age group. Their education should consist of keeping the heart from sin (Boyd, 1975). Rousseau emphasized that we should avoid speaking about truth to children have not yet come to understand the truth. This might cause a false opinion in place of truth (Chateau, 1990), or make children go to church to the extent that they become tired of prayer and worship (Rousseau, 1973).
Rousseau devoted his Emile to a scheme of domestic education, which would allow the impulses of children to develop naturally, with as little interference from their tutors as possible (Mautner, 2005). Rousseau spoke of the corruption of morals due to the trappings of culture (Mautner, 2005). He suggested civic religion to which all citizens should subscribe (Audi, 2001).
Rousseau found a solution to the problems of individuals’ freedom and interest in the superior from of moral or political action that he called the general will. The citizen substituted ‘I must’ for ‘I will’, which was also an ‘I shall’ when it expressed assent to the general will.
The general will was a universal force or statement and thus was nobler than any particular will. In willing his own interest, the citizen was at the same time willing what was communally good. The particular and the universal were thus united. The individual realized himself in realizing the good of all (Audi, 2001).
As a moralist, Rousseau attempted to unite the individual and the citizen through universal political action or consent (Audi, 2001). According to Rousseau, man was born free and yet, everywhere he was in chains (Honderich, 2005). In accordance with Rousseau’s philosophy of nature, true religious faith was more an affair of the heart than head (Blackburn, 2005).
Rousseau argued that ills of the human condition derived from society, and that in its natural state, life was free, independent, healthy, happy, and innocent (Blackburn, 2005). In his later years, after returning to France, Rousseau found himself more drawn to communion with nature than with other men. The most lyrical pages of all his writings, his Reveries, expressed the joys of solitude, the raptures of drifting imagination and the wonders of a natural wilderness uncultivated by mankind (Mautner, 2005).
In the celebrated section of Book 4 of Emile, Rousseau referred to ‘The Profession of Faith - eloquent case against atheism and materialism’ (Mautner, 2005). According to Rousseau, when Emile matured and needed to find a place for himself in society he would not try to control all that was around him. Rather, he would establish relations grounded in friendship, mutual respect and cooperation.
Our capacity to feel compassion and our acceptance of compassion with gratitude formed, in Rousseau’s view, the basis of unity among human and the true explanation of the Golden Rule. Real moral demands were not imposed upon us from outside, nor were they precepts discovered by reason. Rather, they were the requirements by which a bond of creative respect could be sustained between equals (Dent, 1998).
Rousseau held that most men and women were corrupted and their lives deformed because of their nature and relationships with the civil order. That man himself was good by nature, but was perverted by society was the theme of Emile. Thus, if people were to live a whole and rewarding life they must first be protected from such damaging influence and then be given the resources and the disposition to develop in a creative, harmonious and happy way once they entered society (Dent, 1998).
Rousseau’s influence remained very great, not only because of his political writings which have become part of the canon of political theory, but also because of his effect on sensibility and attitudes. His love of nature and stress on the value of the simple life, as well as his far - reaching explorations of his own character and feelings, made him a central figure in Romanticism. The emphasis in Rousseau’s educational writings on not coercing the child into performing the pointless influenced the work of Maria Montessori and A.S Neil. His place as a major figure in western civilization was secure, even though he was still controversial (Dent, 1998).
In his controversial writings on religious belief, Rousseau argued that we knew God not by reason, but through simple feelings and convictions much deeper and more permanent than any theorems of reason. Such feelings taught us that the world was animated by a loving and powerful intelligence of God (Dent, 1998).
Dewey said that growth itself was the only moral end, and he identified it as a social process. Our behavior was interpersonal; as such, it was the source of most of our learning, and our participation with others was the source of our most profound satisfaction. As a constituent of growth - shared experience was the greatest of human goods.
The ‘construction of good’ was typically a shared activity, facilitated by deliberate cooperation. The activity required appropriate conduct, including communication and cooperation. Above all, Dewey believed, it required experimental inquiry. Every person had a right to participate in the formation of goods.
Democratic life implied that individuals should be seriously respectful of each other’s concerns. It also implied that people communicated with each other freely and honestly to convey their concerns and to propose their plans of action. Out of such virtue and discourse, learned with scientific knowledge, shared proposals for action would thus emerge and be honored.
It should go without saying that democratic virtue deliberately excluded antisocial behavior. No philosopher before Dewey had conceived moral discourse as essentially communicative. The democratic virtue, after all, was impertinent to the incarnations of the classic tradition (Gouinlock, 1998). As Dewey conceived it, the moral life was suffused with innumerable possibilities of enjoyment and happiness, as well as of disaster.
Ordinary life revolved around familiar attachments, ambitions and fears. Dewey believed the philosopher’s task was to place at the disposal of human beings the assumption and methods that would facilitate the efforts in which they will be engaged in any case (Gouinlock, 1998).
The key insight in Dewey’s critique was that behavior was usually constructed by cycles of organism/ environment interaction, rather than sensory - motor interaction (Lachs & Talisse, 2008).
Dewey claimed that democracy was present when personal and community life were marked with faith in the capacity of human beings to exercise intelligent judgment and action when the proper conditions were provided, only with a shared view communicated to provide these conditions as fully and broadly as possible and a dedication to the value of this commitment (Lachs & Talisse, 2008, p.194).
For Dewey moral life was experienced as an open-ended but continuous process in which the past and the future were integral to the present. Always there were stable elements that we could rely on. The most stable elements were habits and not the rules or any of the discursive resource preferred by traditional ethics. Habits resided in the background of situation, but even they were not fixed and could change in their application to concrete circumstances.
Dewey did not offer a criterion for right conduct and thus challengedthe traditional expectations about an ethical theory. Traditional ethical theories usually assumed that the norm or how reasonable was our specific moral judgment, was solely derived from a general standard of right conduct.
Dewey’s ethics does not deny the importance of having, using, and carrying forward our inherited moral knowledge in from principles, ideals, and habits. But it held that these will lose their validity and instrumental capacity the more they were made absolute, that is, when intelligence did not continue to reexamine them in light of present conditions. For Dewey the most important instrumentalities for morality, the ‘cardinal’ virtues were the traits of character that could improve moral habits and more importantly, assist us better in determining what morality required here and now (i.e. in a situation).
The broadest possible characterization of Dewey’s normative vision was that he advocated a moral life that was intelligent, aesthetic, and democratic. These three adjectives characterized mutually dependent aspects of a single moral vision (Lachs & Talisse, 2008, P.182). As Dewey pointed out good, virtue, and duty were all irreducible features found intertwined in moral situations, they had no common denominator nor was there a set hierarchy among them.
Dewey’s faith in the instrumentalities of experience was tempered by the honest realization that the most intense moments of our moral life are tragic, in the sense that there is an irreducible, and sometimes irresolvable, conflict between positive moral demands or values. Moral life is then more than the struggle between good and evil (Lachs & Talisse, 2008, P.181). For Dewey, moral experience is the proper starting point of a philosophical inquiring about morality. He designated those situations that we experience as predominantly moral as those that demanded of the agent that (s)he discovered what (s)he ought to do morally amidst conflicting moral forces or demands.
Dewey characterized the generic elements and phases of our moral life as a process. There were three predominant stages in Dewey’s model of moral inquiry. First, the agent found herself in a morally problematic situation. Finally, (s)he arrived at a judgment that resulted in a choice. Moral deliberation was on experimental, emotional, and imaginative process that results in a moral judgment - a decision to act in one way or another. But judgments were not static (Lach & Talisse, 2008, P.181).
Dewey’s ideas about ethics underwent gradual but continual reconstruction during his 71-year long public career. There was gradual shift from an ethics of self-realization to a mature pluralistic ethics that described morality as contextual, experiment, imaginative, aesthetic, and democratic (Lach & Telisse, 2008, p. 181).
The fundamental aim of education for him was not to convey information but to develop critical methods of thought (Audi 2001, p. 231). Dewey maintained that we should be constantly rethinking and reworking our democratic institution in order to make them ever more responsive to changing times (Audi 2001, p. 231). Dewey constructed nature as an organic unity not marked by any radical discontinuities that would require the introduction of non - natural categories or new methodological strategies (Audi 2001, p. 230).
Dewey believed that the inherited dualisms had to be overcome, particularly the one between fact and value in as much as it functioned to block the use of reason as a guide for human action. On this view people naturally had beliefs as well (Audi 2001, p. 230). Dewey’s view was also naturalistic to the degree that it advocated the universal scope of scientific method. Influenced in this regard by Pierce, he saw scientific method not as restricted to a specific sphere but simply as the way we ought to think.
The structure of all reflective thought was future-oriented and articulation of a felt difficulty, through the elaboration of hypotheses as possible resolutions of the difficulty, to the stage of verification or falsification (Audi 2001, p. 230). Dewey’s notion of experience was intimately tied to his notion of nature. He did not conceive of nature as ‘the-world- as- it- would-be- independent- of- human- experience’ but rather as a tripartite distinction between the physiochemical level, the psychophysical level, and the level of human experience with the understanding that this categorization was not to be constructed as implying any sharp discontinuities (Audi 2001, P.230).
Dewey felt that one of the cardinal errors of philosophy from Plato to the modern period was what he called ‘the spectator theory of knowledge.’ Knowledge had been viewed as a kind of passive recording of facts in the world and success was seen as a matter of correspondence of our beliefs to these antecedent facts. On the contrary, Dewey viewed knowing as a constructive conceptual activity that anticipated and guided our adjustment to future experiential interactions with our environment.
The purpose of knowing was to effect some alternation in the experiential situation, and for this purpose some cognitive proposals were more effective than others. This was the context in which ‘truth’ was normally invoked, and instead of this Dewey proposed ‘warranted assertability’ (Audi 2001, p .229-230). Dewey’s educational goal for children, as for adults, was ‘growth’ - growth in powers, in capacities for experience. Growth, he claimed, was really ‘the only moral end’. For quite plainly, it was not a real end but always a means.
Democracy, Dewey’s other guiding ideal, was likewise both a goal and a means (Honderich 2005, p. 212). Dewey’s epistemological and moral fallibility - his view that no knowledge-claim, no moral rule, principle, or ideal was ever certain or immune from any possible criticism and revision, was yet allied with an optimistic progressivism.
The realization of progress required, however, the cultivation of intelligent habits in individuals and the maintenance of social structures that encouraged continuous inquiry. Thus Dewey focused on the nature and practical improvement of education, arguing that children could not be understood as an empty vessel, passively waiting for the knowledge to be poured in. Rather it had to be seen as active center of impulse, influenced also by shaping their environment.
Children will develop habits of one sort or another in the course of their interactions with their social and physical surroundings, so if we want those habits to be flexible, intelligent, we must do our best to structure an environment that will allow and indeed provoke the operations of intelligent inquiry (Honderich 2005, P.211).
Dewey advanced a philosophy interested in the question of how life should be lived, and he argued that addressing that question required bridging the gap between moral and science. His logic was a theory of inquiry, a general account of how thought functions, not in an abstract or purely formal mode, but in the inquiries of successful science and in the problem-solving of ordinary daily life. What is required in all cases is the application of intelligent inquiry, the self- correcting method of experimentally testing hypotheses created and refined from our pervious experience (Honderich 2005, p. 211).
Dewey’s work as a psychologist and educational thinker crystallized a reaction against the excessively formal and rigid educational practices of the time. Dewey recognized that the child is an active, exploring, inquisitive creature, so the task of education is to foster experience infused by skills and knowledge (Blackburn, 2005, P.98).
Dewey was eager to reassure his readers that they were not a drift in a cold and alien world, and that the comforts of poetry, religion and art were not private consolations, but as reputable in their own way as science and mathematics themselves (Mautner, 2005, P.157). According to Dewey what we are concerned to do is adjust ourselves to our environment and our environment to ourselves, and Dewey spends much of his time characterizing the ways in which we do it.
Morality is not a search for ultimate principles by sophisticated reflection on what we already do (Mautner, 2005, P.157). Dewey believed that human thinking was essentially a matter of problem- solving; education was a matter of giving children the widest possible problem-solving skills. Because Dewey thought that human beings needed a social setting in order to flourish, these problem- solving skills included what one might call ‘moral skills’ (Mautner 2005, p. 157). Dewey’s view was that children neither had a fixed nature such that teachers could stand back and let them grow nor had such plastic natures that teachers could simply mould them into anything they liked (Mautner, 2005).
Rumi believed that there was no monasticism or renunciation in Islam. He introduced unity within a society as the way of attaining growth, development and perfection. Rumi maintained that membership in a society made man both valuable and spiritual. This caused man to avoid egoism and individualism. In this light, we should cultivate compassion, altruism, patience, trust or good judgment and affection so as to unite the society.
According to Saadi too, social adjustments led to peaceful coexistence. This was desirable if we aspire to achieve perfection in a society. He mentioned justice, humility, peace, benevolence, sympathy and contentment as the characteristics of an ideal society. Dewey believed that participation with others was the source of our most profound satisfaction.
Collective experience was the greatest of human goods that contributed to growth. Rousseau argued that the ills of the human condition were derived from the society. He spoke of the corruption of morals arising from the trappings of culture. According to Rousseau, people must be protected from damaging influences of a society prior to entering that society.
Rumi introduced good admonishment or good exhortation as the educational method that was used by the prophets of God. Saadi believed that self-cognition, faith, servitude to God, and praising God were necessary to reach God. The ultimate good of any education was cognition of the exalted God and devotion to Him. It was impossible to cultivate this spirit without the purification of the soul and banishing carnal desires, arrogance, rancor, and power of body. The satisfaction of the body’s needs is a desirable intermediate goal for the purpose of worshiping God and rendering one’s service to the people.
Rousseau believed that the first education (between birth and 12 years of age) should be such that educators must not teach or instruct virtues and truth to children. The kind of education required at this stage should comprise of protecting the heart from all sins.
Dewey maintained that no knowledge-claim, no moral rule, principle, or ideal was ever certain and immune from all possible criticism and revision. He asserted that moral deliberation was an experimental, emotional, and imaginative process that resulted in a moral judgment, which was a decision to act in one way or another. However, these judgments were not static.
These judgments contributed towards the good in the society. According to Dewey, every person had a right to participate in the formation of ‘good’ in society. Therefore he said that growth towards this itself was the only moral end.
According to Rumi, the knowledge of real scholars was not superficial. Intellect and reason governed their lives. Even their religiosity is based on knowledge. Rumi complained of a science of imitation in which a learner did not apply his or her intellect, and did not understand anything through his own thinking and reflection.
Rumi emphasized upon informal education, in addition to formal education. He stated that the skies and the earth spoke with the one who understood. It was up to people and learners to reinforce their power of thinking and reflection so that they could understand the hidden and real aspects of every fact. This way they could achieve a very comprehensive and deep meaning of everything. He believed that one could be thus delivered from the usual schools, pages of learning material, and repetition for learning.
Since Saadi believed that the source of knowledge was unlimited, he did not confine himself to formal and classic textbooks. He placed emphasis on informal learning, by which the students could take lessons from the great school of nature and the events of the lives of other people, in all places and times. In his view, the students for example, should not only study history books, but must also pay great attention to entire history and nature.
Saadi encouraged questions and answer sessions. He improved methods of teaching through lectures. Rousseau stressed active teaching methods based on discovery and problem solving. Therefore, he paid attention to those points, which nurtured the senses, intellect and reason. The aim of education for Dewey was not to convey information, but to develop a critical method for thinking.
Dewey believed that human thinking was there for the sake of problem solving and education was a matter of equipping children with the strongest possible problem-solving skills. He recognized that a child was an active, exploring, inquisitive creature, so in his opinion, the task of education was to infuse the child’s experience with skills and knowledge.
Rousseau maintained that all human beings should follow lessons from nature and its rules. It was up to educators to avoid undue interferences in education. He considered following the nature to be akin to following God. He believed in minimal interference from tutors.
In Dewey’s view, the children neither had a fixed nature such that a teacher could stand back and let them grow nor they had such plastic natures that teachers could simply mold them into anything they liked. Rumi agreed that sound education was based on encouragement and affection. In spite of this view, he sometimes spoke of punishment when encouragement or kindness was not effective; however the intention of teacher should be educational.
Rousseau believed that educational relations between a teacher and student should be based on affection; but not so if a loving behavior had a damaging effect. According to him, the children should never be punished for misbehavior; rather they should see and experience the outcomes of that behavior.
According to Rumi, the sayings and teachings of the teacher should be in accordance with the individual differences in abilities of the students. It was also up to the teacher to consider the spiritual capacity of his or her students. Rumi believed that educational planning should be consistent with the rate of comprehension, understanding, intelligence and aptitude of each student.
Saadi believed that people and students differed from one another physically, intellectually, socially, emotional and morally. Thus, we should consider the extent of their abilities and aptitude in the fields of learning. According to Rousseau, we should expect from children and youngsters to do their responsibilities according to and consistent with their aptitude and abilities.
Rumi has referred to the need of human beings for an aware and reliable educator. Rumi asserted that speeches, deeds and characteristics of teachers and educators affect their students. Rousseau maintained that an educator should set a good example for his or her students to follow. From Rousseau’s viewpoint, moral refinement and nurturing of high moral disposition was not only necessary for those to be educated, but it was also up to the educators to educate children and youngsters with a pure intent.
Rumi maintained one should become free from darkness, material and worldly attachment, fight against carnal desires, ambition and disgrace, and destroy all devilish temperaments or dispositions in order to reach truth and God. Rousseau attempted to keep the child away from all kinds of pretenses and nurture his compassion, share other people’s pains and sorrows, and make him interested in goodness, generosity, mercy, magnanimity and ethereal qualities which are naturally desirable in human beings to avoid greed, jealousy, revenge and all lusts.
Saadi considered the forsaking of carnal desires as the source of real knowledge. Such knowledge nurtured religiosity. Rumi considered acquisition of knowledge and guidance as the goal of creation. The knowledge and intellect of the people prevented them from evil. Thus, such knowledge was a main factor in religiosity. He deemed it necessary to cultivate intellect and thought in spiritual experiences and intuition, and considered it to be a goal for education.
Storytelling was one of the most frequently used methods by Rumi. Rumi believed that the past taught many lessons. The educational method of storytelling utilized by Saadi in both poetry and prose is an epitome of the teaching methods.
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