Although man essentially has not changed, the structure of society has become tremendously complex. Social demands have so far outstripped man’s physical nature that the gap between the social plane of the infant and that of the adult is very wide- impossible to cross, in fact without assistance. As civilization advances, the gap is ever widening. The method by which the infant is enabled to bridge this gap, to raise himself from the social plane of childhood to that of manhood, is education.
This is accomplished by certain changes that are made by the individual so that he acts in appropriate and desirable ways to situations that confront him. The number of changes and their quality are such as to require long years and special techniques for their development. Education is, then, the process by which the individual makes these necessary changes.
From this point of view education is essentially and wholly an individual process. It is some change that takes place in the individual as a result of something that he does. It is the upbuilding of a world in feeling or consciousness. Each individual builds for himself the world in which he lives. His images, his memories, his thoughts and feelings, his ideals are formed from his own experience—what he himself does.
They are his own, and no one can share them; nor can anyone take them away against his will. When we view education from this standpoint, there can be no guidance, for guidance implies assistance given by someone to the one who is educating himself. In so far as the individual is really self-educated, there is no guidance; however, if we think of education as resulting only from what the individual himself does—if he is the active agent—what is the relation of instruction to this process?