JS Mill's Autobiography

I have just finished reading John Stuart Mill's autobiography and I feel as if he has died for the first time, because prior to reading it, I never felt that he was ever truly alive. His autobiography gave me the impression of his utmost honesty and righteousness, so much that it has now led to my increase of admiration and respect for him. I must admit that I have not read most of his other writings and it is very possible that I never will. However, of those that I have read, all have convinced me of his sense of philanthropy. And even though I never had the chance to know him personally, I will spread his name and his wisdom as if I had.

Here is an excerpt of his autobiography pertaining to his childhood education.

Most boys or youths who have had much knowledge drilled into them, have their mental capacities not strengthened, but over-laid by it. They are crammed with mere facts, and with the opinions or phrases of other people, and these are accepted as a substitute for the power to form opinions of their own: and thus the sons of eminent fathers, who have spared no pains in their education, so often grow up mere parroters of what they have learnt, incapable of using their minds except in the furrows traced for them. Mine, however, was not an education of cram. My father never permitted anything which I learnt to degenerate into a mere exercise of memory. He strove to make the understanding not only go along with every step of the teaching, but, if possible, precede it. Anything which could be found out by thinking I never was told, until I had exhausted my efforts to find it out for myself.