All our experiences are adjectives in character. The events in our life start with a disturbance and close with a reduction of the disturbance. The principle of equilibrium works everywhere. It is the key principle in all happenings.
This equilibrium is disturbed when some event takes place. Psychologists have regarded this equilibrium as the centre of all human behaviour. The Gestalt psychologists in their analysis of the physical, the biological and the mental aspects of conduct have endeavored to show the importance of equilibrium. Kohler has particularly laid emphasis on this point.
Working on the principle of equilibrium Regnano, in Italy, has formulated his theory of memory and of reasoning. In the field of medicine and psychiatry, too, Goldstein of Frankfurt accepts the pattern of equilibrium principle as a guiding principle of human conduct and character. In strict adherence to this principle, he finds a marked change in the whole field of study of anatomy and of the treatment of mental and physical maladies.
We must see the human being as a whole, involved adjustably in each event of his life. This fact suggests to us that the problem of physical and mental health must be considered separately in different manner, though the two are interdependent.
The school should take particular care for both the types; otherwise it cannot produce balanced individuals. These are what we indirectly learn by the principle of equilibrium which is well established by the Gestalt psychology.
Towards the whole adjustment:
According to the principles of modern psychology, much effort is now directed to the study of persons, not in isolated details, but in connection with their whole adjustment the psychoanalytic school has given much impetus in this direction.
It is needless to remark here that this is also undoubtedly due to the principles expounded by the Gestalt psychology. Educationists can perform their task better if they consider life events as adjustive in character.
The thought process tries to complete the adductive course of events by executing the urges. Evidently, the subject matter of learning should be instrumental in balancing the constantly expanding life.
From this it is clear that the educational programme should not be over-intellectualized. The subject-matter should not dominate at the cost of personal adjustment of the individual pupil.
Much scope should be provided in the educative process for newer types of attempts which are needed for the individual adjustment of the child. This should be the chief point to be noted, other things being only subsidiary and contributory.
Nothing to be imposed on pupils:
The educators should note that the whole event is always unique. It will be most unpsychological on the part of the educator to predict the events in a learner’s life. At best only some generalizations may be made on abstract items.
But it is difficult to foresee the final shape of events. If educators draw their school curriculum or course of studies with these considerations in view, they will revolutionize the whole field of education. Nothing premeditated should be imposed.
The pupils should not be subjected to any general law of learning. The parts should not be abstracted to formulate general principles of aims. This is what we can indirectly conclude if we apply the principles of the Gestalt theory to education.
The whole event is creative:
An event is preceded by disturbance and followed by readjustment with new elements. Evidently, the whole event is essentially creative. The educator should be careful to see that the whole event is not hindered within its progress.
We may not be conscious of the fact that a finished event is often an artistic one characterized by a complete and full form. But it is a fact and here the Gestalt psychology is very suggestive. “There is something there which either is not association at all, or else it is an association so fine as to escape all observation. It is safer far, for practice, to think of it as an artistic act”
The ‘whole present life’ event:
It should be the sacred duty of the educator to see that the child is fully able to adjust himself to the situations he has to encounter. The child should be given opportunities to participate fully in the artistic creation.
The educator must be able to see how the past and the foreseen future indirectly influence the unity of the present event here; we find a dynamic approach to the problems of psychology of moral conduct.
The educator should see how the sense of consequences may guide the present conduct without cramping it. The whole present life event must be kept wholesome in order to ensure a healthy moral character. The educator can perform his task better in this respect working on the principles of the Gestalt theory.
Some claims of the gestalt psychologist:
Today we find the most liberalizing things in the field of biology. This leads to the organism psychology, or the psychology of whole- event. The Gestalt psychology tells us that there is something in the whole which is lacking in the parts and the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
The Gestalt psychologist, as is evident from the above details, thinks that he can better understand the thinking process and the creative conclusions of thought. He believes that he can enter into the details of will and basic character impulses or drives of children and men much more efficiently than any other.
He also asserts that he can be truer in explaining the social character of the thinking and the personality of the individual. It is quite evident that the associationists or the behaviorists have not thrown so much light on these mental and personal traits. Hence let us say to the Gestalt psychologist, “Go ahead- and God speed.”