Quotes from Dewey, Hoyt, and Freud

The achievements of the past provide the only means at command for understanding the present. …The institutions and customs that exist in the present and that give rise to present social ills and dislocations did not arise overnight. They have a long history behind them. Attempt to deal with them simply on the basis of what is obvious in the present is bound to result in adoption of superficial measures which in the end will only render existing problems more acute and more difficult to solve. … Growth depends upon the presence of difficulty to be overcome by the exercise of intelligence.

John Dewey –Experience and Education

Excerpts from a history of the Great Depression:

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching had investigated college athletics earlier in the year (1929) and found them to be the same across the country - “sodden with commercialism.” Of 112 schools investigated, only 28 did not offer improper subsidies to athletes. But instead of hanging their heads in shame, many colleges defended their athletic activities. A Brown University professor attacked the foundation for meddling. …The Big Ten’s commissioner of athletics defended the practice of buying college players. … One telephone operator in one of the city’s largest hotels wore a new sealskin coat. Her spending was typical. She was playing the stock market on a broker’s margin account, and boasted neither a bank savings account, insurance, nor a penny in the world except what she earned from week to week. But would she take her profits and convert them to bonds, as President Hoover wanted her and all Americans to do? She would not even consider it, for the gambling fever had her, as it had a million other Americans. The fever had her and them in red-cheeked, bright-eyed frenzy. … For billions of dollars were lost that day, including those of the young telephone operator in the New York hotel who had invested everything she owned in her sealskin coat and in a margin account on the stock exchange. A hotel resident, unable to complete a telephone call that night, had gone to the switchboard himself, to overhear her talking to her broker, her voice breaking and eyes bathed in tears. All the telephone operator had left at the end of this Black Thursday was her sealskin coat and her job. … That night the relatives of Abraham Germansky, a wealthy real estate man who lived in Mount Vernon, New York, put in a frantic call to police to help them find Germansky. He had last been seen late Thursday on Wall Street, tearing up ticker tape and scattering it along the sidewalk. … Hunger was not debatable.

Edwin P. Hoyt – The Tempering Years (a history of America between 1929 and 1939)

It is clear that in their play children repeat everything that has made a great impression on them in real life, and that in doing so they abreact the strength of the impression and, as one might put it, make themselves master of the situation. But on the other hand, it is obvious that all their play is influenced by a wish that dominates them the whole time - the wish to be grown-up and to be able to do what grown-up people do. It can also be observed that the unpleasurable nature of an experience does not always unsuit it for play. If the doctor looks down a child’s throat or carries out some small operation on him, we may be quite sure that these frightening experiences will be the subject of the next game; but we must not in that connection overlook the fact that their is a yield of pleasure from another source. As the child passes over from the passivity of the experience to the activity of the game, he hands on the disagreeable experience to one of his playmates and in this way revenges himself on a substitute.

Sigmund Freud –Beyond the Pleasure Principle

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Ryan McCarl
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