I have translated another important piece of text from German into English: The metaphor of the sculptor and the gardener:

There are different views on the subject of education and how it needs to be done. For this question, the basic understanding of human beings is of big importance. Is the child at birth a blank slate? Or is its path predestined by inherent attributes?

If the child was born as a “blank slate”, in theory there would be no limits to the malleability through education. Man would then be a pure product of the environmental influences affecting him. One could simply establish all desired attributes, characteristics and abilities by creating an appropriate environment. This would make the educator something like a sculptor, who works his “raw material” and shapes it to his wishes.

The contrary position is based on the assumption that a child already has all the information it needs for its development when it is born. In that case, it would be the task of education to create an environment in which all human potential can ulfold itself freely. The educator then plays the part of a gardener: He cares for and waters his seedlings, he clears them of weeds, protects them from disease and enjoys the good growth of the beautiful blooms.


Unlike in gardening or sculpting, in the education of children we deal with human individuals. We can and must not purely shape them to our liking. Neither should we purely let them grow. The latter would be “nothing less than a relapse into barbarism.”, as the pedagog Theodor Litt observes in his classic book “Guiding and letting grow”. On the other hand, the former would be a misjudgement of the boundaries of education and a disregard of the child as a human being.

[…] “Every education serves the goal that the educator eventually becomes redundand.”

This text was translated from the German original, here.

It is important, because it explains the connection between the visual theme of my publication and the content.