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view, in looking at any subject, that will awaken a smile. Even in the darkest hour we can often look at things and see the bright side of the situation and smile in the face of the worst difficulties.
Again the genuine smile is simple. By simplicity” is meant the directness between cause and effect. Nature has no effect which is exaggerated beyond its cause.
The same is true of the genuine smile. Much laughter, as will be shown later, is either forced or permitted to explode too quickly. The fruit is plucked before it is ripe. The smile should ever support and transcend the laugh.
This law of simplicity is also universal, not only obtaining in all nature, but governing all true art.
The simpler language is, the more it expresses. The simpler the writer, the simpler the artist, the greater is the degree of his manifestation. In fact, Professor Norton once said to me, “You can count on your fingers the poets and artists of the race who have been able to be simple.”
Such are Homer and Phidias. From Æschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the three great tragedians, we can imagine one who could be as simple as Homer. Virgil must be reckoned in our list because he was able to be so simple in the realm of beauty. We must also include Dante. From Raphael, Michael Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci we must imagine one as we did from the three leading Greek tragedians. We must recognize them though no one of them could be so simple as Dante or Phidias. We must add Cervantes and Shakespeare. All other poets and artists stand upon a lower level.
Professor Norton's words made a deep impres
sion upon me.
The very simplest and most elemental acts of men are always most expressive.
Another law of expression is repose. Repose is not mere stability; certainly not inactivity; it is not a lack of power, but a reserve and control of power.
True repose is seen in the eagle on the wing, not in the over-fed pig asleep in its sty. It means activity at the centre, not at the surface. It means possibility of movement and action,-a suggestion of what may be done, rather than a direct and immediate demonstration. The sense of possibility transcends the sense of actuality.
Repose is found in proportion as the attitude transcends the emotion, and the bearing transcends the attitude. Laughter, or a mere sudden jerk of the countenance, does not suggest repose; but when there is a deep diffusion of feeling all over the face and body, when we feel that life is kindled within, then we have a sense of power and a smile is its expression.
The smile should be untrammeled. Constrictions of the face may hinder, selfish emotions may localize and pervert it, but the smile when sincere, flows all over the face, and in fact all over the body.
If the impression which causes the smile is deep enough, it breaks down all barriers, penetrates all the hidden organs of the body and stimulates every part.
Again, a smile shows itself to be a true act of expression in the fact that there are many simultaneous elements in harmony. The true smile is not local. A mere local smile at the corner of the mouth is a grin. A genuine smile is indicated by certain little
wrinkles at the outer corner of the eye
especially of the lower eyelid, and by the diffusion of life all over the countenance.
In fact, if we examine the fundamental character of a smile, we find it possesses a variety of parts simultaneously correlated in a certain unity.
Usually the term co-ordination refers to a great many elements brought into play by one impulsea great many parts moving simultaneously and spontaneously from an inward cause. Every true expression, therefore, is dependent upon the coordination of many elements. True expression, like life, depends upon a certain organic unity.
In fact this is the test to apply to the genuineness not only of the smile, but of any expression. A mere local movement is meaningless, artificial and mechanical. Only those expressions which are the outward sign of the inward fullness of life within are free and spontaneous.
The whole secret of developing expression, according to the methods which have been adopted at the School of Expression, is the discovery of fundamental actions, conditions and elements which are not accidental or superficial, but central, those which are distinctive of any agent or any function; and also the primary mental actions which cause these and which can be so accentuated that a great variety of elements are brought into higher unity and efficiency.
The exercise of what is accidental secures only weak and inadequate, mechanical and artificial results.
The stimulation, development and exercise of the fundamental brings power and naturalness, makes the man more a man and gives him control of the very fountain head of expression.
The study of the smile not only reveals co
ordinations of all parts of the face, but we discover deeper co-ordinations in every part of the body. Emotion causes a diffusion of activity to the most vital parts of man's organism, and brings many parts into spontaneous and simultaneous activity.
As has been said, there is a union of the deliberative and the spontaneous. In fact, the spontaneous is always present in all natural expression. In all true art the spontaneous is always in the ascendancy.
While we can control the deliberative elements only by directing our will, not to accidental but to fundamental elements, the spontaneous elements are awakened indirectly.
When the deliberative is directed to the accidental, or the external, all is weakness and superficiality. And yet, in all true expression and art it is necessary to arouse the spontaneous elements. They can be awakened by directing the deliberative attention to the few fundamental actions upon which all expression depends.
Let us go deeper. A study of laughter shows that thinking and feeling are co-ordinate. А smile may be controlled, regulated, guided and reserved, and at the same time, be easy, spontaneous and free.
In an uncultured person, as will be shown later, mirth breaks out in a sudden guffaw and roar of laughter.
The smile indicates a deep, harmonious union and balance of thought and feeling.
The man is feeling what he thinks and thinking what he feels. This balance of the primary elements of human nature causes the countenance and whole body to unfold like a flower. It makes
the smile gradual and gives dignity to the entire body.
Here we find one of the points in favor of the importance of expression in education. Expression reveals not the degree of information of the human mind, but the attitude of soul, the coordination of the primary elements of man's being. One-sided expressions will always show lack of co-ordination and unity in being.
Expression will show whether one is able to command the right union of his different powers and faculties, and who will deny that these are primary elements in the development of human character?