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to prepare men for this noble kind of life, and if they succeed in their task their students will leave the university capable and desirous of valuable and independent intellectual endeavor. The question which should interest us is to decide by what methods the college can best attempt the performance of this task.
For the performance of valuable intellectual work two things are necesary: first, a strong desire to do that kind of work, and, second, the necessary mental efficiency.
Colleges can help to create the desire only in very indirect ways. For example, they might bring together a company of scholars who are themselves really doing work that is worth while. Such a group of scholars might be as valuable a source of inspiration as a campanile, and at the current price of scholars far cheaper.
As to mental efficiency, the college can go to work in a much more definite way. The characteristics of mental efficiency are knowledge, and power to use it.
The knowledge part of the problem is only too easy. Even the so-called “culture colleges' seem to be very successful as reservoirs from which the intellectual pap
shall flow down the unresisting throat of the undergraduate. If they fail at all in this regard it is perhaps because, in their attempt to create a so-called intellectual background, they spread the knowledge too thinly over many fields, not realizing that a truly deep and intimate acquaintance with one branch of knowledge will often supply analogies for the appreciation of intellectual progress in general. When the mental background gets spread out very, very thin they call it intellectual atmosphere.
With regard to the power of using knowledge, that is, mental efficiency in its narrower sense, the “culture colleges” fail most lamentably. What is needed for mental efficiency is an ability for sustained and continuous work, a power to think clearly and logically, and that originality of thought which distinguishes real intellectual progress from a mere rehashing of ideas that have long been evident.
Instead of these things the “culture college” will provide you with a gentlemanly interest and a lack of accurate information in any field of knowledge that does not require too much thinking.
Although I myself have no particular interest in applied science, and deeply regret the over-materialistic ideals which usually accompany such studies, yet I think that schools of engineering and applied science far surpass the "culture colleges" in promoting mental efficiency. By the comparative severity of their requirements they accustom students to habits of sustained and continuous mental work; the very nature of their work makes it necessary to lay more stress on the ability to think clearly and logically than on the mere acquisition of knowledge; and their continued insistence on the solution of original problems, both on paper and in the laboratory, at least develops within somewhat narrow lines what little God-given originality the student may have.
Perhaps I can make my feeling of distrust for the “culture colleges" clear by characterizing, perhaps caricaturing, their graduates. They usually seem to me shallow and superficial, with little power of continuous work. They are interested in ideas because of their immediate and obvious application to human affairs, rather than for their fundamental significance. For example, their insistence that the humanities are the only subjects which have cultural value means that they themselves lack those qualities of industry, clear reasoning, and power of abstract thought which are necessary for a mastery of mathematics and the sciences, and an appreciation of their fundamental meanings for human life. Finally, they seem to me more interested in how they do a piece of intellectual work than in the important question of whether that particular piece of work was worth doing at all. Thus in literature they are clever artisans who can neatly shape and fit their words around the commonplace, rather than real artists whose ideas stand forth true and naked.
You, however, are having a different sort of training. You are learning to think clearly, exactly, and impersonally; for without that kind of thinking a mastery of the complicated and abstract fields of mathematics, physics and chemistry is impossible. And further, you must learn to apply in the fields of more general human interest those same methods of exact and impersonal thought. When you can do this you will be able to analyze history and see if it is necessarily a mere collection of interesting anecdotes about kings and their mistresses; you will be able to analyze the religion of the churches and see if by some lucky acci. dent there may not be a few grains of wisdom somehow concealed beneath that mass of nonsense and superstition; you will be able to view the structure and organization of society from an objective and impartial point of view and decide for yourself whether the rewards for business shrewdness and for administrative ability are not unduly out of proportion to the service rendered. And finally when your powers of impersonal analysis are well developed and you have become influential alumni of this university, and have forgotten the vague sentimentality of undergraduate college life, have forgotten the disgusting “golden bear with the Paderewski hair," and the absurd notion that athletic victories are somehow a credit to a university whose aims are intellectual, then I trust you will be able to turn your attention to the service of the real needs of the university, which are not more courses in hat-trimming, in poultry husbandry, or in dental porcelam, put an appreciation of the value of those high intellectual endeavors whose purpose is not so much the discovery of immediate practical applications as the permanent enrichment of the inner mental life.
THE SAGA OF FINN
Out of the North is the story, and bitter is the tale;
King Finn that ruled the Frisians a wife to him had ta'en-
she seen. Her voice was proven in statecraft; she counselled well and high. Ere they did, men asked her deeming, and still abode thereby. With her mirth was the palace gladdened, and men rejoiced in her
Men wot not why disaster with beauty still should bide,
Even at her very bride-feast broke out the sharp debate.
“Loud is the great bride-feast. Ho! harpstrings cry aloud! This day the Danes are merry. This day is Friesland proud. This day the lords of Denmark have won a wider reign. This day is the beginning of the glory of the Dane. In the tempest of the trumpets, when the war-stallions neigh, The leaguers of our foemen shall think upon this day. Well may they dread in spirit when they hear the trumpet peal,
And Denmark comes to battle with Friesland at the heel.
forth. Against the Southern cities shall they thunder from the North. 'Tis the time of the new morning. Apace the dawn doth break. All of the Earth's wide Empire is ours to give and take.'
To Finn King Hnaef said straightway: "Take ye no force of
His head is turned with the wine-cup, he has drunken over long."
Naught said the King of Friesland, but his soul was wroth within Till Hildeburh spake unto him, then at peace was the heart of Finn. For he was a good sea-king and gentle in those days. From Friesland to the Faroes the sailors sang his praise. His name was a good chantey when they brought the white oars
home, The hawk of the sea-highways, the falcon of the foam. No man forgot his forays with him that sailed the sea, And no man bitted stronglier the stallion of the tree. Woe to mankind that changes the better for the worse. The weakling of the spirit is many another's curse. Said Unferth Finn his marshal: “O Danes, we have heard your
lay. Much that was good of Denmark did your proud minstrel say, But little enough of Friesland and he left all untold The tale of the bride's dower, the silver and the gold, The plowland and the pasture, and the great hold of war That standeth on our borders, which ye promised furthermore." Hnaef gave him an easy answer, though he brooked the speech
but ill, For upon that tide to quarrel he had but little will. But to bicker unto Hengist was meat and drink withal. And his voice was a sharp weapon when he raised it in the hall.
“Frisian,” said he, “thou speakest no wise a gentle word. Ill it becomes thee, lightly at a Danish King to gird. There is no man that liveth but were well enow apaid Without a dower, if haply he might marry such a maid. Lo I will double the silver and the gold in Finn his hand, But he shall not have the fortress or a foot of Danish land. The wealth of such a treasure, and the boast of such a kinShall they not pay the Frisians? Are they not enow for Finn"
At that arose the Frisians. At that the Danes rose up. All men thought on the sword blade, all men forgot the cup. But before a sword could flicker, before a stroke could fall