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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 19, 1902)
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Vol. 2, N. 45.
The Philosophy of Despair
In a recently published essay- Dr.
David Starr Jordan writes suggestive
ly If not convincingly of "The Philos
ophy of Despair." Taking Cor his text
certain quatrains, of the Rubaiyat of
Omar Khayyam, Dr. Jordan attempts
to state what is tho reply of science to
pessimism. "In the presence of the
infinite problem of life," writes Dr.
Jordan, "tho voice of science is dumb,
for science is the co-ordinate and cor
rected expression of human experience
and human experience must stop with
tho limitations of human life. ... It is
my purpose here to indicate some part
of tho answer of science to the phil
osophy of despair. Direct reply science
has none. We can not argue against
a singer or a poet. The poet sings
of what ho feels, but science speaks
only of what we know. "We foel infin
ity but we cannot know it, for to the
highest human wisdom the ultimate
truths of the universe are no nearer
than to the child. Science knows no
ultimate truths. These are beyond the
reach of man,, and all that man know3
must- be stated in terms of his ex
perience. Butas to human experience
and conduct science has a word to say.
Therefore, science can speak of the
causes and results of pessimism. It
can touch the practical side of the rid
dle of life by asking certain questions,
the answers to which lie within the
province of human experience."
Exactly so! Science may only "touch
the practical sido of the riddle of life
by asking certain questions, .the an
swers to which lie within the province
of human experience." Of the spirit
ual side of the riddle of life science
may not speak with authority. For
answers to questions that touch vital
ly the conscience and the heart, one
must needs pass beyond the circum
scribed limitations of -science of
knowledge and enter the domain of
faith and feeling. Some one has said
was it not Walter Savage Landor?
that all life like all Gaul is di
vided into three parts and that the
mainspring of action in these separ
ated divisions may be found in the
sense of power, the sense of 'religion
and the sense of love; that the do
mains of love and of religion are con
tiguous, but that far removed from
each is the domain of power, and that
he who would be happy in this life
must needs recognize that one may
not cultivate the sense of power with
out, in large measure, obliterating the
sense of love and the sense of relig
ion. It may, therefore, be said that
tho problem of llfo may be solved
wisely only by recognizing and reck
oning with these its three distinct fea
tures, and by patiently developing
each in Its normal scope. The cure
for pessimism is to bo found not in
scienco, but rather in that moderation
that temperance in all things
which may bo attained and may be ob
tained only by nicely balancing the
three great passions of the human J
nearc wo navo mentionea. ne super
intendent of a large insane asylum
in Philadelphia, when asked from
what his patients were suffering, re
plied succinctly: "Money, lovo, re
ligion." Ho was merely concretely
expressing the idea that Landor had
already enfbrced. "The Philosophy of
Despair" is seldom philosophy, and it
is not always despair. In it there is
little of that "charm", which Milton
associates with "divine philosophy"
and there is even less of that "de
spair' 'which ordinarily suggests mis
ery. Tho philosophy of despair is, toof
often, an ill name for a not intolerable"
disease of the heart--a trick of speech
by which human vanity seeks to out
wit man's better self. New Orleans
A Century of Subjugation.
Major-General Adna R. Chaffee, for
some time past military commander in
the Philippines, comes home to tell us
that it will take 100 years to establish
a "beneficent" government in the Phil
ippines, and that our grandchildren's
children will be lucky if they see it
done in their day. In order to hold
down the Christian Filipinos in Lu
zon, he says Manila must be garri
soned with an army, and as for the im
possible Mohammedans of Mindanao
and Sulu, they can bo kept quiet only
by large pensions, in the form of tri
bute from a weaker nation, to the
tribal chiefs or sultans.
This opinion of the military com
mander seems to conflict at some im
portant points with the rose-colored
views of the high-salaried members
of tho so-called civil government In
stead of the general acceptance of
American sovereignty by the Filipinos
and ready yielding to the establish
ment of our systems, there Is the pros
pect of a century resistance to sub
jugation on the part of the Christians.
As for the Mohammedans, they will
never sirbmlt; we must pay them tri
bute "pensions," General Chaffee
calls it forever.
It probably is not so bad as this.
A Chance for the Boys.
Any intelligent boy may get a start in
The News Business
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Write today, and we will send you the ten papers to commence
business on, and supply you with all necessary information. Address
The power of the, United States ia
great enough to crush out tho patriotic
sentiment of the Filipinos in less than
100 years. But the cost will be tre
mendous. General Chaffee speaks from
the military point of 'view, and he
bases his opinion on existing condi
tions. Doubtless, with such an ef
fort and such a sacrifice as the Ameri
can people put forth to save tho union
thirty-five year3 ago, we may be able
to subjugate tho Filipinos. But is it
worth tho cost? And is it not an in
famous thing to do, anyway? Boston
When Major Phipps was in tho
thick of the glory that marked his
picturesque administration of the af
fairs of tho Blockley almshouse, he
never lost an opportunity to pose as a
model superintendent when visitors
were about. There were special cor
ridors for taem to investigate, and
special attentions that sent them
away thankful that the country took
such good care of its insane poor. One
lady whose interest in charitable
work was uncommon called there,
and was given much attention by the
various underlings. She turned to a
man looking interestedly on, and
asked: ' '
"Do you like it here?".
"xes, madam," he replied.
"They treat you well?"
. "Yes very.'
"And you get good food?"
"Very good," he answered.
When she passed on, her amazed
guide told her she had been talking
to Major Phipps himself. She was
mortified at her mistake, and, to show
how much she desired to atone, rush
ed back to the superintendent and
"I am very sorry, Major Phipps
very sorry, indeed. Never again, I
promise you, will I be governed by appearances!"
butter tests, information in regard td
care and feed of cows; photographs of
famous cows, etc It 'will prove a val-f
uable addition to the library of any
farmer and will be, IndisDonslble to
the dairyman. It ought to have a
very large sale.
The Commoner is called upon to
chronicle the death of Elder William
Walker who died in his 96th year. Ho
was a man of deep conviction. He
described himself as a free silver pop
ulist, and was an earnest supporter of
the democratic ticket in '96 and 1900.
The Dairyman's Handbook.
The National Dairy Union, 154 Lake
street, Chicago, has published a book
entitled the Creamery Patron's Hand
book, it being a book of information
for the keepers of dairy cows. It con
tains discussions of the subject by
Hon. W. D. Hoard, president of the
Dairy Union, together with articles
by H. B. Gurler and Charles Y. Knight,
officers of the Dairy Union, and reports
from the various states, milk tests,
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