On schooling and life

“Any gardener who should attempt to raise healthy, beautiful, and fruitful

plants by outraging all those plants’ instinctive wants and searchings,

would meet as his reward—sickly plants, ugly plants, sterile plants,

dead plants. He will not do it; he will watch very carefully to see

whether they like much sunlight, or considerable shade, whether they

thrive on much water or get drowned in it . . . the plant itself indicate

to him when he is doing the right thing . . . If he finds the plant revolts

against his experiments, he will desist at once, and try something else;

if he finds it thrives, he will emphasize the particular treatment so long

as it seems beneficial.

But what he will surely not do, will be to prepare a certain area of ground

all just alike, with equal chances of sun and

amount of moisture in every part, and then plant everything together

without discrimination—mighty close together!—saying beforehand,

“If plants don’t want to thrive on this, they ought to want to; and if they

are stubborn about it, they must be made to.”

 Voltairine de Cleyre, an American anarchist and teacher, 19th century

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