One of the main supports of the reactionary system is what we may call “anthropism.” I designate by this term that powerful and world-wide group of erroneous opinions which opposes the human organism to the whole of the rest of nature, and represents it as the preordained end of organic creation, an entity essentially distinct from it, a god-like being. Closer examination of this group of ideas shows it to be made up of three different dogmas, which we may distinguish as the anthropocentric, the anthropomorphic and the anthropolatrous.
The anthropocentric dogma culminates in the idea that man is the preordained centre and aim of all terrestrial life-or, in a wider sense, of the whole universe. As this error is extremely conducive to man's interest, and as it is intimately connected with the creation-myth of the three great Mediterranean religions, and with the dogmas of the Mosaic, Christian, and Mohammedan theologies, it still dominates the greater part of the civilised world.
The anthropomorphic dogma, also, is connected with the creation-myth of the three aforesaid religions and of many others. It likens the creation and control of the world by God to the artificial creation of an able engineer or mechanic, and to the administration of a wise ruler. God, as creator, sustainer, and ruler of the world, is thus represented after a purely human fashion in his thought and work. Hence it follows that man in turn is god-like. “God made man to his own image and likeness.” The older, naive theology is pure “homotheism,” attributing human shape, flesh, and blood to the gods. It is more intelligible than the modern mystic theosophy which adores a personal God as an invisible — properly speaking, gaseous — being, yet makes him think, speak, and act in human fashion; it offers us the paradoxical picture of a gaseous vertebrate.
The anthropolatric dogma naturally results from this comparison of the activity of God and man; it ends in the apotheosis of human nature. A further result is the belief in the personal immortality of the soul, and the dualistic dogma of the twofold nature of man, whose “immortal” soul is conceived as the temporary inhabitant of a mortal frame. Thus these three anthropistic dogmas, variously adapted to the respective professions of the different religions, came at length to be vested with extraordinary importance, and proved to be the source of the most dangerous errors.
In face of this antagonism, maintained by ignorance and self-interest, positive education, which proposes to teach truths that issue in practical justice, must arrange and systematise the established results of natural research, communicate them to children, and thus prepare the way for a more equitable state of society, in which, as an exact expression of sociology, it must work for the benefit of all as well as of the individual. Moses, or whoever was the author of Genesis, and all the dogmatisers, with their six days of creation out of nothing after the Creator has passed an eternity in doing nothing, must give place to Copernicus, who showed the revolution of the planets round the sun; to Galileo, who proclaimed that the sun, not the earth, is the centre of the planetary universe; to Columbus and others who, believing the earth to be a sphere, set out in search of other peoples, and gave a practical basis to the doctrine of human brotherhood; to Linnaeus and Cuvier, the founders of natural history; to Laplace, the inventor of the established cosmogony; to Darwin, the author of the evolutionary doctrine, which explains the formation of species by natural selection; and to all who, by means of observation and experiment, have discredited the supposed revelation, and tell us the real nature of the universe, the earth, and life.
Against the evils engendered by generations sunk in ignorance and superstition, from which so many are now delivered, only to fall into an anti-social scepticism, the best remedy, without excluding others, is to instruct the rising generation in purely humanist principles and in the positive and rational knowledge provided by science. Women educated thus will be mothers in the true sense of the word, not transmitters of traditional superstitions; they will teach their children integrity of life, the dignity of life, social solidarity, instead of a medley of outworn and sterile dogmas and submission to illegitimate hierarchies. Men thus emancipated from mystery, miracle, and distrust of themselves and their fellows, and convinced that they were born, not to die, as the wretched teaching of the mystics says, but to live, will hasten to bring about such social conditions as will give to life its greatest possible development. In this way, preserving the memory of former generations and other frames of mind as a lesson and a warning, we will once for all close the religious period, and enter definitely into that of reason and nature.
In June, 1904, the Bulletin published the following figures in regard to the attendance at school. At that time the publications of the Modern School were in use in thirty-two other schools throughout the country, and its influence was thus felt in Seville and Malaga, Tarragona and Cordova, and other towns, as well as Barcelona and the vicinity. The number of scholars in our schools was also steadily rising, as the following table shows: List of the pupils in the modern school during the first three years.
MONTHS. Girls. Boys. TOTALS.
Opening Day 12 - - 18 - - 30 0 0
September 16 23 24 23 40 40 39 63 64
October 18 28 43 25 40 59 43 68 102
November 21 31 44 29 40 59 50 71 103
December 22 31 45 30 40 59 52 71 104
January 22 31 47 32 44 60 54 75 107
February 23 31 47 32 48 61 55 79 108
March 25 33 49 34 47 61 59 80 110
April 26 32 50 37 48 61 63 80 111
May 30 33 51 38 48 62 68 81 113
June 32 34 51 38 48 63 70 82 114