Story type: Essay
An estimable and very intelligent lady criticises modern education, saying, “So much brain is forced into the girl nowadays that it crowds out her heart.” —-
At the risk of shattering the foundations of romance and poetry, it must be said here once and for all that the heart has nothing whatever to do with the emotions. It is simply a pump, and a large part of its work consists in pumping blood to the brain. The greater the brain, the greater and more active the heart must be. A serpent, with little or no brain and a cold disposition all around, gets along very nicely with little or no heart.
Those who speak of the heart as opposed to the mind mean to speak of unreasoning sentiment as opposed to intellectual strength.
The lady quoted and many others say that the woman and mother should be all affection, and that development of the mind diminishes the affection.
We wish to lay down a few rules; we invite criticism.
The best thing, the only important thing about a woman, a man, a baby, or any other human being, is the intellect.
Affection is a beautiful thing, but affection is BORN in the brain and CONFINED to the brain.
A young woman looks at a splendid creature in a soldier’s uniform. Her heart beats fast, and she imagines, as all antiquity has imagined, that the heart is the seat of the emotions. Nonsense!
The emotion is in the BRAIN, which has just received, through the optic nerve, a conception of the lovely vision in brass buttons. The heart is ordered to pump more blood to the head of the young girl, to supply mental activity and the becoming blush.
If you hear bad news you feel the effect on your heart; sometimes you fall unconscious. That is because the brain sensation is so strong as to interfere with the heart’s action. You feel the shock that the brain sends to the heart. —-
The idea that cultivation of the mind interferes with a woman’s moral, sentimental, or motherly qualities is foolish twaddle.
The idea that mere sentiment, ignorant, vague affection are sufficient without education to make a first-class human mother is false and feeble.
Have you ever seen a cow follow the wagon that carries her calf to the butcher shop? It is a very sad sight, the plaintive lowing of the poor mother as she follows behind begging for her child to be restored. Every farmer knows that there is no necessity for hitching the cow to the wagon when her calf is inside. She will follow that calf until she drops.
There is your loving, devoted mother without education. The cow’s heart, to use the old expression, is all right. Her mental equipment is perfectly suited to a cow. Nature and society require that she should give the utmost love to her calf this year, and give all of that same love to another calf next year.
Bring back in three months that calf that she follows now with such pitiful appeals. If the weaned calf tries to re-establish the old relationship, its mother, “all heart and no head,” will kick it in the ribs and then butt it across the lot. —-
It’s all right for the COW to be all heart and no head; she does not need the higher education.
It is all right for the humble savage mother in the dark African jungle to be built on the same lines. Like the cow, all that she has to do is to take care of the baby until it is able to run around and forage for itself.
But the civilized mother, the woman who must do her duty in the present and in the future as well, requires a good mind, love based upon knowledge and a sense of justice, affection that follows the child from the cradle to maturity, gradually substituting for intense motherly physical care an equally intense and loving intellectual companionship and guidance. —-
It is important, of course, that mothers of all kinds, human or animal, should be cheerful, and above all healthy, able to feed their babies themselves and feed them well.
But as the brain in a human being is above the stomach, so the intellect in a mother is above the mere maternal affection inspired by babyhood.
The great mothers are those who, when they cease feeding the child’s body, can begin to feed the child’s brain.
The great men are great, and they were lucky, because they had mothers who did not cease to feed them when they were weaned, but kept on feeding them mentally into their manhood. —-
The woman with a big brain is the best IN EVERY WAY.
She is better before she is married, for she attracts the man of intelligence, and establishes a family of intelligent beings.
She is better as a young wife, because the ambition and intelligence in her call out the ambition and intelligence in her husband.
Hers is the happy home that needs no divorce lawyer. Pink cheeks, small feet, squeezed waists, curly hair and such things disappear or get tiresome. And all pink cheeks are very much alike, as Dr. Johnson said of the green fields.
But intelligence never gets tiresome; no two brains are ever at all alike if well developed. A woman of intelligence always develops new qualities; she can never be monotonous.
There is no such thing as too much education, although educating us primitive men and women is apt to develop unexpected littleness. and thus create prejudice. —-
Note this important fact: The bigger the brain, the bigger the heart, not only physically, but sentimentally and morally. It takes brain to feel real emotion; a well-developed mind to develop real sentiment, real affection.
A foolish, ignorant young woman may be pleasant enough to look at, but she is like a white, pink-eyed rabbit–ornamental, but a poor companion.