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and come into truer relations with our fellowmen, we instinctively greet the new revelation with a welcoming smile.
We learn to recognize the really good man by the character of his smile.
Look into the face of a great man. The greater the man, the deeper his smile; the more it has of the simplicity of the little child, the more it is filled with something of its primitive meaning. A true, genuine smile seems to flow all over the face.
When Phillips Brooks smiled, his countenance seemed transfigured. A newspaper reporter once wrote of him: “Phillips Brooks passed through Pie Alley to-day and the place was bathed in sunshine for half an hour."
In the smile of Professor Charles Eliot Norton was a sort of scintillation-a number of scintillations-a general undulation that quickly ran all over his forehead and the place where there had once been hair, back into where there was hair, and was lost like jolly young children scampering into a wood.
I saw Gladstone's smile but once, and that from the gallery of the House of Commons; but even the memory of it comes with something of the effect of an electric current.
And who would dare undertake to express the smile of Emerson or the benignant Jove-like beam on the face of Bronson Alcott?
Greatness has always seemed most great in the smile, but if one would understand the smile, and realize anything of its expressive power, he must observe it in all classes of men. There are smiles that are never doubted by a man's fellow-beings.
Let us, then, study the smile to find something of the general characteristics and importance of
human expression, its primary laws, its value in revealing the spirit of human art and the nature of the process of developing character, its intimation of the meaning of the universe and the ultimate destiny of life.
The smile as a simple and elementary expression embodies certain characteristics which belong to all expression,-from the most childlike recital to the most finished oration, from the simplest song to the sublimest epic, from the simplest illustration to the most exalted painting, from the humblest memorial to the grandest monument.
Therefore as a human act which is easily studied, it enables a careful student to observe the nature and character of the universal laws of all expression and all art.
The study of the smile will show us, for one thing, that expression is not intrinsically a physical thing,—that it transcends the merely physical. There is no such thing as “physical expression."
Expression is a revelation of mind dominating the body-revealing itself through the body as a medium.
Expression has aptly been called “the motion of emotion." Purely volitional movements are not necessarily expressive. Our word “emotion is so named because it gives rise to motion.
As a consequence of its mental character, the smile acts from within outward. The least observation shows us the general application of this fact. A universal fact has been called a law. Accordingly this is a general law of all natural expression.
The flower blooms from within. The leaves of the tree are the "outerance,” or (as we contract the word) utterance or expression of life emanating from the root.
The bird sings from a full heart and the kitten plays because of an exuberance of life.
Whatever is natural acts from an inner fullness and inner depth of life. The general term for this law is “spontaneity." The animal moves from within-a machine is actuated from without.
A human being is a wonderful co-ordination of spontaneous and deliberative elements. The deliberatives are greatly overestimated, the use of them makes a man a machine, and again, a man is mechanical in proportion to his suppression of the spontaneous and the exaggeration of the deliberative elements.
On the other hand, a man is impulsive and chaotic when he suppresses the deliberative and relies entirely upon the spontaneous. A perfect man must have both elements in sympathetic union.
In an endeavor to develop expression I have come upon what to me has been a most important principle. We can direct our attention to fundamental acts making them more deliberative and conscious, thus increasing their vigor and intensity, and in this way we indirectly stimulate the spontaneous elements. The fundamental elements seem to be intended to be deliberative and voluntary and conscious. The secondary elements are necessarily more spontaneous. In this way we can bring into co-ordination all the spontaneous and deliberative elements in human nature. This prevents the man from being artificial or mechanical on the one hand, or chaotically impulsive on the other.
In all artistic education, or the development of man's appreciation of the best in literature and art, in making a speaker, reader, or artist of any kind we find such co-ordination necessary.
There are innumerable or perverted smiles, but close examination soon reveals the fact that the spontaneous co-ordinate elements are absent.
The natural man is spontaneous. All external action is the expression of the underlying activities of nature.
A smile, like the blooming of a flower or the singing of a bird, should be easy and spontaneous. A deliberative, labored smile is never genuine. The same is true of all expression.
Exaggeration of the analytic and scientific at the expense of natural feeling and creative endeavor, is to-day common in nearly every class of educational institution. In fact, every modern repressive method in education, being necessarily cold, critical and dry, tends toward the production of mere machines.
What can be less edifying than a deliberate, mechanical smile? Nowhere are affectation and mere mechanical manipulation more displeasing. We encounter all these unpleasant facts in the study of laughter.
A genuine smile is always spontaneous. It is something that comes to us. The affected, deliberate, hypocritical smile-all faulty smiles—which are usually shown by their one-sidedness, violate this law. They do not come from within outward. It is difficult to smile deliberatively. We permit ourselves to do so.
Have we then no control over our smiles? On the contrary we can cultivate an attitude of mind that will bring a smile. We can take the point of