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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (April 1, 1885)
THE HESPERIAN STUDENT.
line proceeds to wear out his lifo in blind mechanical, work
which is as effectual as attomptihg to lift yourself into
the nil bj' pulliug at your boot-straps. The various
theories promulgated about grcalnoss recalls to mind tho
old sloiy of the blind men and the elephant. Tho
conclusions concerning the former subject are as consist
ent as (lie latter.
It Is fortunate, however, that theso theories do not bring
practical results, or wo should bo over burdened with
great men. We may be thankful that greatness, "nascitur
"It is no proof of a man's understanding," says Sweden"
borg, "to be able to confirm whatovor ho pleases, but to
be able to discern what Is true is true, and what is false
is false, I his is the murk and character of intelligence.'
Perhaps the world would be better oft' if logic novor
had existed. It has always been the cause of much seri
ous trouble. Assuming the garb of intelligence it is
ever involving man in error misleading him with its seem,
ing sensible statements. To it is owing many terrible
oppressions. All that man has suilercd from religious
persecution dates from this cause. For it was when
religion began to be upheld by authority, to bo sustained
by argument, its claims set forth by literal logical deduct
ions, that it began its terrible war. Nor was our cscapo
from religious thraldom effected by logic. Through a
higher power, did this come, viz. intuition. For intu.
ition, after all, is the only safe guide. To perceive and
know arc the essentials; to prove is :i matter of lillle
importance Logic is thu lowest use of the mind. It is
bo imperfect Hint rarely is it fit to toacli any doctrine
of the understanding.
"What if knowledge, trying to arm us with now
-defences against natural inconveniences, has more
imprinted in our fancies their weight and greatness,
than her reasons and substitutes to secure us from
Emerson once again was brought to our notice by
tho lecture of Prof. Mills in Hits city. We could
not expect any new light to bo thrown upon his po
sition among mon-of-letter8, nor was it otherwise. His
literacy merits have been thoroughly discussed by
competent critics. Wo aro acquainted, through tho cflorts
of these, with his general characteristics. Now remains
tho final judgement as to his place in literature. But
this docb not belong to us. We, dazzled by the blaze of
his sudden appearance, cannot tell what position he is to
occupy, It is for succeeding generations to know wheth
er ho continues to shine as a star of the first magnitude,
or waning, sinks to the third or fourth.
Pro!. Mills' summary of Emcrsoc's philosophy clearly
showed that ho had grasped its silient points. The best
critics, wo think, would agico that ho gave a fair and
impartial estimate of it. Yet he touched on no points of.
importance in this, but what have been ably discussed
But the most interesting part of his lecture was tho
view it gave us of Emerson's private life. We aro al
ways interested to know how greatness appears in tho
common walks of life, how it deportB itself in tho every
day duties which wo have to perform. Too often alas
wo find great men only half mcn,who do not liyo In their
high thoughts, but only visit with them Part of the timo
they aro great, the remainder, woak liko tho rest of us.
But here was one who held to tho sublime ideas of h's
philosophy aliko in tho lowest and incanost duties, who
reconciled tho ideal to tho roal. Ho says it does not
matter what you do, the spirit in which you act is tho
only essential. Your seemingly trivial work may bo as
important as any, for, after all, it is what you bring to an
act that benefits you, ho it what it may.
Such men restore our faith, thoy toacli us that tho
ideal and tho actual arc not so far separated as thoy soom.
Thoy are connecting links between us and a fairer slato
"That men may rise on stopping-stonos of their doad
bcIvcs to higher things."
College bred mou seem to bo an especial mark for crit
icism. When one of them falls he is usually pointed
out c8 a notable instance of tho evil offects of collogo
training. If others fail, it is attributed to inability, and
nothing is thought of it. But tho collogo graduate does
not seem to be regarded like other men, but some curi
ous creature upon whom an oxperlmont has been trlod
in the shape of a short course of study, and all tho deeds
in his after life arc reforred to this. It is a very couvn
iont way of accounting for human weakuoss, but hardly
ogical. Men appoar to be very much the same, whethor
collegiatoly trained or not. Energy and force aro the
elements of success. Whoever possesses them wins. But
these must be in the man; nowhere outside can they be
acquired. A few terms in German and French, a month
in mental philosophy will not make up lor this internal
lack. The question of success has a subjoctive, not an
objective, solution. Much injustice is done collegiato
education by making it responsible for things in no
way dependent upon it. Men aro always seeking
for something to lay the blame of their ill success upon;
not discovering the true cause, thoy trump up ouo.
Often they choose the latter, not wiBhlng to know the
real truth. Colleges have received much censure and
abuse from this fact. Men must have something upon
which to shove ofi their responsibility.
The immorality of professional musicians has boon the
subject of much theorizing. Many seem to think this is
duo directly to the Influences of music. But such a con
elusion is hardly legitimate. The real oauso may be
more easily found. It is tho simple fact that musicians
have a more sensitive, passionate nature than other peo
ple. This must be so or they would not bo musicians
Strong feeling is required, a keenly alive sonso to detect
Mio subtile, delicate oxpiossions of this art. It is perfectly
natural that such mou shonld have stronger temptations,
less control over Hioii pusjions. Their roving lifo upon'
tho stage whore many of the barriers that guard society are
removed, also increases whatever evil tendencies they
The effect of music itself caunct bo otherwise than re
fining and hence indirectly moral.
Vanity as regards personal appearance has long been
a favorato subject for moralists to expand upon. Unfortu
nately this ovll is not confined to one phase of human
character, but it is quito goneral. It takes on a very
malignant type among Bo-callod literary people To ap
pear well, in tt:is field many of these sacrifice everything
They become madly conservative. Thoy worsrip the lit
erary cauons as devotodly and blindly as uny of the
most extravagant followers, tho edicts of fashion. To con.
vinco others of their proficiency in judgement of books
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