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had I known it well, I doubt not that I a very wicked boy that week, but he should have been willing to assume the hoped he had asked the Lord to forrisk of lying in order to escape the pun- give him. ishment that would probably have been Willet did not respond to the call to meted out to me, had my fault been dis- testify, but hid his burning face in his covered. What that punishment might arms on the school-desk and kept sihave been I had reason later to guess, lence. Willet was nine years old. Mofrom the ill luck that befell brother ther made no interference. I wonder Willet some two years after.

she did not. But from what I learned One evening, when Willet, coming later of her tender heart, she must have from school, was being badgered be suffered anguish for her sinful little son yond endurance by some bullying during this inquisitional torture; and neighbor boy, he turned on his tormen- knowing her, later, so well, I wonder tor and told him 'go to hell.' The re- that some good angel had not sent port of this dreadful lapse flew on swift blaspheming me to her on that illwings to our parents' ears. Then the starred summer day, to weep my sin -wheels of industry on our farm stopped out in her gentle arms instead of on a stock-still. There was a star-chamber fence-rail. session in the West Room father and The terrible conscientiousness of a mother in prayer with the little culprit, parent, which could stir up such storm asking God for mercy and pardon for and stress of soul in a child's young life, him; and following this, sentence may seem beyond any justification. passed on him by father, without mercy But looking back now over a half-cenor pardon. One of the items of the sen- tury of the world as it is, I am convinced tence was that Willet must read noth- that freedom from the habit of irrevering for two weeks but the Bible and ence may be cheaply bought, even at the Methodist hymn-book. But the that. Indeed, I came to that conclusion peak of the punishment was reserved before I was a grown youth. for the class-meeting on the following Ten years or so after my adventure Sunday.

in profanity, I was sent on an early At these class-meetings the lay mem- morning errand to the house of a neighbers were waited on in turn by the class boring farmer. A group of rough young leader and asked to 'testify.' Each rose men were in the kitchen, waiting for in his seat and gave his religious experi- breakfast. It was the very hour when ence for the week last past, and usually father, in our home, was praying in the added his hopes and good resolves for midst of his children. One of the men the week to come all spoken in a had on his knee a prattling child, evimore or less formal and solemn way, as dently struggling with his first coherent if a punishment were being endured in speech. There was loud laughter and the process. The leader advised, com- great merriment among the men. A girl mended, rebuked, or encouraged, as the of about fourteen years called to her case might require, then passed on to mother in the next room, the next victim.

'Maw, O maw! come hear baby! Oh, When father came to his little shamed ain't he cunnin'?' and penitent boy, he prefaced his call The baby was practising the same for a testimony by the general informa- high explosive I had used when the steer tion to the house that Willet had been jumped over the fence.





If a dilemma would be content to the tact of the Speaker of the House. wear only one horn, innocent adven- Perhaps the total effect can best be conturers into the field of debate and argu- veyed in the form of a colloquy by the ment would be less dangerously beset members of the class, with the author by the beast of embarrassing alterna- of 'What Do Teachers Know?' as the tives. Then, for instance, when a col- object of the inquiries. The general imlege professor catches sight of a fel- pression was somewhat as follows: low traveler, wantonly strayed from Question. "The writer says, "The anthe royal road of reason and distress- cients were interested in interpreting ingly impaled on the right horn of a facts, not in accumulating them." How logical dilemma, - labeled 'What Do could they interpret what they had not Students Know?' — he will not feel accumulated and therefore did not called upon to precipitate himself, as a have?' gratuitous exercise in agility, on the Answer. Silence. left horn, inscribed 'What Do Teachers Question. If "intelligence is insensiKnow?' There is, to be sure, a safe ag- tive to mere facts, and reacts only to nostic front between these two perilous ideas," where does it get the ideas to projections, called 'What Does Any- react from? What is an idea but a debody Know?' But that is a place of un- duction from two or more facts?' profitable repose and affords no scope Answer. Silence. for mental gymnastics.

Question. 'If "artichokes and chaSuch opportunity was offered, how- meleons and Yale and the date of the ever, by the gyrations of Professor battle of Lexington have very little Boas, for the play of the intellectual place in the production of understandmuscles of a certain group of spectators, ing and intelligence and critical power,” that I am recording this latter reaction what has?' for the entertainment of yet other be- Answer. 'A benevolent and humanholders who may be interested.

istic skepticism, and a willingness to This morning I carried the May At- weigh and balance, to expound and elulantic into my classroom and read to cidate, are all that is needed.' my aspiring essay-writers this accepted Question. But what is there to be article, as a sample of how to do it. skeptical about but facts? What is Quite on their own initiative, the young there to put in the balance and weigh? neophytes discovered that in many re- What to expound and elucidate about? spects it was rather an object-lesson on Answer. Silence. how not to do it. So promptly was the Question (from a demure maid in the bone of contention pounced upon, so back row). “Does n't Professor Boas thick and fast came the responses, from seem to have a good many facts at his Sophomore and Senior, from lads and command, and use them pretty freely lassies, that my position demanded all in this very anathema against them?'


Answer. 'They speak for themselves.' Question. 'Even if a field can be

Question. "Socrates is eulogized for “melancholy,” by permission of the his “sublime ignorance.” Was it hon- pathetic fallacy and in spite of Ruskin, est-to-goodness ignorance or a sublime how can it be "evasive"?

“' assumption of it?'

Answer (from the end-man). By Answer. Silence from the Oracle, disregarding mere facts.' broken by a modest voice from over by Question. ‘All these English courses the window. 'Seems to me I read some- that are listed as a waste of time and where that the Socratic method was money does any one student have to simply the wise man's pretense of an

swallow them all? And if anyone did ignorance that longed for enlighten- have a honing to know about, say, the ment, and that “on this baited hook Bible, or Johnson and his circle, or Celwere caught the unwary whose pretense tic poetry, or the American Novel, why was to a wisdom when they had it not.' should it be forbidden him? Are they Question. “In what “mysterious

"mysterious not all honorable subjects? If one conway" does information come when it sumes his beef and bread, can't he add a is needed?'

salad, an entrée, or a dessert?' Answer (from a sad Sophomore). Answer (from the teacher). 'If he 'Sometimes, in my caseanyhow, through has a good digestion and a sharp appechagrin and bitterness, by first having tite, he may go right through the whole my ignorance exposed.'

menu, with impunity and profit, from Question. "The Ph.D. is rebuked for cocktail to cheese and coffee. Nay, for writing a treatise on something that no- the elect there are still cakes and ale, body had ever thought of before. What and ginger shall be hot in the mouth.' would be its value if somebody had Question. 'If to one who has been in thought of it before and done it? the army “the university seems as a Answer. Silence.

kingdom of shadows where ghosts Question. 'In that connection, if no- teach living men," do the professors body ever did an unthought of thing, who were in the army seem like ghosts,

what would become of pioneering and and the students who never left home, progress? Who would be in the van and like living men?' blaze the trail?'

Answer. Silence. Answer. Silence.

Question (from a Sophomore). “If the Question. When did the Ph.D. can- cynical Seniors have found out there is

didate begin being ignorant of every- * nothing in it,” why don't they pass thing else in order to write his disserta- the word down and stave off some of tion?'

this stampede toward halls of learning? Answer (from an irreverent youth Most failures don't keep on being more next the radiator). 'Since no credit is and more popular, as the colleges seem given him for the eighteen or twenty to be doing.' years of education from the kindergar- Answer (from a strangely cheerful ten through the Master's degree, he Senior). 'Pure maliciousness. They

)“ must have risen right up from his cradle like to see more silly flies walk into the to “bore, face downward, into his prob- same spider's web. lem, while the world floated by in Question (from the teacher). "The clouds, and he as unaware as a lamprey grand climax of the wholesale indictof logarithmic functions." He could ment before us is one on which you have had no more information or cul- should be able to testify. So far as your ture to start in with than a Hottentot.' own experience goes, is it true that "the


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Freshmen are keen, eager, and hungry,” his 'The Everlasting Feminine,' that and “the Seniors disillusioned, cynical, any statement whatever made about and fed up"?'

Woman is true. So is any generalizaAnswer. (Concourse of expressive tion about students and professors. grins from the class; remark from an in- Some Freshmen are indeed wonderfully corrigibly joyous Junior.) “When I was keen and eager; others are an incredible a Freshman and herded with the big miracle of sodden stupidity and indiffirst-year classes, my hunger was main- ference. Some Seniors are flaccid and

my dinner or a fight, and I was as unstrung; others are just being keyed keen and eager as the rest of the bunch up to concert pitch. Some teachers are to jump at the sound of the closing - anything you like; others are everybell. We never allowed any professor thing you do not like. Accordingly, to run over the hour.'

when it comes to students versus teach

ers, or facts versus ideas, or information The courteous innuendo of his con- versus intelligence, or summer versus clusion reminded me that our own gong winter, or food versus fresh air, the diahad sounded forty seconds before, and lectician may well take a cue from the I speedily turned the rascals out, com- canny Ruggles girl, confronted with a mending them to the next dose of choice between hard versus soft sauce, frothy and venomous facts with which and take a little of both, please.' they were being fed up ad nauseam. For in the logical realm there reAnd as I prepared to measure out an

maineth classification, interpretation, other sickening spoonful for my own and discrimination, of parent facts and helpless victims, I thought of Strun- progeny ideas; and the greatest of these sky's fallacy-puncturing observation in is discrimination.




FOR William James the facts' of chief sense is true of all philosophers, though importance in the universe were per- they are not always aware of it; but sons. He began his thinking from that James knew it and accepted it as one end. Among those who have earned of his guides to the meaning of Truth. the name of philosopher there is none His 'will to believe' is fundamentally whose philosophy is a more sincere and nothing else than the right to be yourcomplete expression of his own person- self, and to express yourself in your own ality. The kites that he flew were all way, without entangling your freedom anchored in himself. His philosophy is, in alliances with those big classificain fact, himself writ large. This in a tions or abstractions which reduce mankind to the dead levels of thought, ac- critical points in the battle of life. His tion, and character. Or, to put it from work, in consequence, has given an imthe other side, the Universe that he in- mense impetus to philosophic study all terprets is just the same kind of high- over the world. What the number of spirited, restless, inconsistent, adven- his actual disciples may be cannot of turous, unaccountable being that each course be said, though it is probably man who has attained to self-knowledge very large; but that he has raised philfinds within his own breast. Against osophic study to a higher level of imthe idea of the Universe as a Big Insti- portance, increased the number of tution, 'governed by a system of in- those who pursue it, and conferred a ‘' a

, violable law, the idea which has be- new zest upon the pursuit, is beyond come so dear to those who are bewitched question. There are few professors of by the catchwords of modern science, the subject who do not owe him a

- James reacted with the strongest heavy debt for redeeming it from the aversion; and the reason for the reac- dullness and futility into which it was tion lay in his temperamental inability otherwise falling. to live in such a world himself, or to And the secret of his influence is unconceive that any free spirit would be mistakable. Long before these letters at home under its cast-iron conditions. appeared, readers of his works were Writing to Theodore Flournoy in 1895, conscious of being in contact with a the year before the publication of mind whose insight was the direct outThe Will to Believe, he says, 'I do hope come of the breadth and depth of its [your daughters) are being educated in human sympathy. That impression is a thoroughly emancipated way, just like now confirmed. Thanks to the admirtrue American girls, with no laws ex- able selection that has been made of the cept those imposed by their own sense letters, and to the unobtrusive skill of fitness. There are those, perhaps, to with which they have been woven towhom a statement such as this will ap- gether, the reader has now a clear appear as heralding a general disrespect prehension of the man whose personalfor the Ten Commandments. The best ity he had dimly felt or imagined in his answer to their fears is the picture of published works. The effect is almost James revealed in these letters. It is as if James's philosophy had been visithe picture of a very perfect gentleman, bly acted on the stage. We see how inof a finely tempered ethical nature, of a separably connected the man and the large and tender heart, and of personal doctrine were. The only doubt that reloyalty raised to the highest power. mains is as to which is the text and Perhaps the greatest service rendered

which the commentary. by James to the spiritual life of his age

· It is not as 'a disinterested spectator is that he makes philosophy interesting of the universe' that James addresses

' to everybody. Whatever the merits of himself to the great problems that conhis doctrine may be, and that is a cern us all. On the contrary, the force question into which the present writer of his appeal springs precisely from the does not propose to enter, — there is profound and living interest that he not a doubt that philosophy in his took in the universe, and especially in hands is always something that ‘makes that part of it which consists of his fela difference,' a vitally important exer- low men. He appears before us, not as cise, which no man who would live a full a ‘spectator' at all, but as an actor in life can afford to neglect. Its problems the drama of life, and we see that his

; are not mere themes for discussion, but philosophy is merely his ‘action' con

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