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Note The University of California Publications are offered in excha.se the publications of learned societies and institutions, universities and lies. Complete lists of all the publications of the University will be sent upon re quest. For sample copies, lists of publications or other information, address the MANAGER OF THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, U. S. A. All matter sent in exchange should be addressed to THE EXCHANGE DEPARTMENT, UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA,

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THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE is the official record of the University. In it are preserved the chief addresses of general interest delivered at the University from time to time by distinguished visitors, and also as many as possible of the public addresses delivered at home or abroad by members of the faculty. Papers upon all subjects are admitted to its pages, provided the manner of their presentation is such as arouses general rather than technical interest. Each number contains also the UNIVERSITY RECORD, which presents in brief the annals of the University for the quarter-year preceding each issue of the magazine.

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THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS

1912

VOL. XIV

JULY, 1912

COMMENCEMENT DAY ADDRESS

PRESIDENT BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER

No. 3

Giving good advice has been going out of fashion these late years. Young people, it seems to me, are left to their own risks more than they used to be. They are allowed to find out by a certain process of induction what is good for them and what is bad for them. I presume it is harder nowadays to know what really is good advice,—the world has grown so complicated and the ingredients which make up situations have grown so manifold. People hesitate, I notice, to propound a simple maxim without qualifying and explaining. They even hedge about Honesty is the best Policy. They are afraid, too, of commonplaces. There is so much talking and printing abroad in the land that all the safe and sound things have long since become commonplaces, so that the modern orators toy with brilliant novelties lest they be accused of discovering the ten commandments. But Commencement Day has special privileges. It comes only once a year and for you only once in a life time and being itself withal a rather old-fashioned institution it may be allowed to offer some simple old advice in the oldfashioned way.

The business of living is chiefly a matter of getting on with people. The miners seem to be crushing rocks and the chemists pouring liquids together, but their success depends ultimately upon meeting human need and securing human help. In getting on with people the best results are obtained in general by appealing to their best, rather

than perpetually scourging their worst. If you take the world at its best, it will usually take you at your best. This is on the whole a pretty good world and it is trying hard to be better. It is sometimes to be sure very disappointing. It acts on insufficient data, has flurries of passion, does its thinking, if any, mostly in flashes, is lured by the brazen notes of the gilded chariot, oftentimes confuses reason with prejudice, and success with a claim upon things like metals or oil; and sometimes in spells of delusion it ignores its real friends, crowning the fakir and stoning the prophets. But in spite of all this it is a good world at heart, and we know this for two reasons. First, it always tends to return from its errors and to correct them by glimpses of the heavenly vision of ideals. It yearns passionately toward betterment. Second, the practice of good brings in this world peace. But peace comes of being in accord with the nature of things. The nature of things in this human world must therefore be based in the good.

Now this must be the reason why the world will take you at your best if you take the world at its best. It reciprocates the truth of your insight.

Now, first of all, in dealing with individuals, you must expect them all to have their faults. It is highly unsafe to classify summarily the people in your environment as good people and bad people. They are all mixtures of good and bad in varying proportions. And what is more, they cannot be graded according to the outer form of their actions, but only according to their ideals, i. e., their notion of what is decent and what is worth while; and it takes a long time to find this out. It is particularly hard to find it out about yourself. Correct observation of yourself is beclouded by your unwillingness to recognize the extent to which you are a machine. You like to flatter yourself you are rational and free to choose. It is certainly of great importance to your contentment and success in life that you should not count on finding any perfect people. If you are a teacher you must not be surprised or irritated

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