222 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
senses if we are to appreciate harmony. The aesthetic harmony of nature is lost upon him who has coarse senses. The world to him is narrow and barren. In life about us, there exist inexhaustible fonts of aesthetic enjoyment, before which men pass as insensible as the brutes seeking their enjoyment in those sensations which are crude and showy, since they are the only ones accessible to them.
Now, from the enjoyment of gross pleasures, vicious habits very often spring. Strong stimuli, indeed, do not render acute, but blunt the senses, so that they require stimuli more and more accentuated and more and more gross.
Onanism, so often found among normal children of the lower classes, alcoholism, fondness for watching sensual acts of adults — these things represent the enjoyment of those unfortunate ones whose intellectual pleasures are few, and whose senses are blunted and dulled. Such pleasures kill the man within the individual, and call to life the beast.
Indeed from the physiological point of view, the importance of the education of the senses is evident from an observation of the scheme of the diagrammatic arc which represents the functions of the nervous system. The external stimulus acts upon the organ of sense, and the impression is transmitted along the centripetal way to
S—Sense, C—Nerve the nerve centre — the corresponding centre, M—Motor. .
motor impulse is elaborated, and is
transmitted along the centrifugal path to the organ of motion, provoking a movement. Although the arc represents diagrammatically the mechanism of reflex spinal