NATURE IN EDUCATION 153
And, yet, without any violence, leaving to social life the task of charming the child little by little, Itard's education triumphs. It is true that civilised life is made by renunciation of the life of nature; it is almost the snatching of a man from the lap of earth; it is like snatching the newborn child from its mother's breast; but it is also a new life.
In Itard's pages we see the final triumph of the love of man over the love of nature: the savage of the Aveyron ends by feeling and preferring the affection of Itard, the caresses, the tears shed over him, to the joy of immersing himself voluptuously in the snow, and of contemplating the infinite expanse of the sky on a starry night: one day after an attempted escape into the country, he returns of his own accord, humble and repentant, to find his good soup and his warm bed.
It is true that man has created enjoyments in social life and has brought about a vigorous human love in community life. But nevertheless he still belongs to nature, and, especially when he is a child, he must needs draw from it the forces necessary to the development of the body and of the spirit. We have intimate communicati'ons with nature which have an influence, even a material influence, on the growth of the body. (For example, a physiologist, isolating young guinea pigs from terrestrial magnetism by means of insulators, found that they grew up with rickets.)
In the education of little children Itard's educative drama is repeated: we must prepare man, who is one among the living creatures and therefore belongs to nature, for social life, because social life being his own peculiar work, must also correspond to the manifestation of his natural activity.