Democracy and Education / John Dewey

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Chapter One: Education as a Necessity of Life
1. Renewal of Life by Transmission. The most notable
distinction between living and inanimate things is that the
former maintain themselves by renewal. A stone when struck
resists. If its resistance is greater than the force of the blow
struck, it remains outwardly unchanged. Otherwise, it is
shattered into smaller bits. Never does the stone attempt to
react in such a way that it may maintain itself against the blow,
much less so as to render the blow a contributing factor to its
own continued action. While the living thing may easily be
crushed by superior force, it none the less tries to turn the
energies which act upon it into means of its own further
existence. If it cannot do so, it does not just split into
smaller pieces (at least in the higher forms of life), but loses
its identity as a living thing.

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