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March 26, 1922 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1922-03-26

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(A Review by G. D. E.)
It is only when my enemies have
been especially denunicatory that I
feel happy, that I fall into a mood
decent enough to do.justice to a really
good book; and for the last week they
have been as thoroughly dull and ob-
tuse as a Sunday school class. In-,
deed, I suspect them of being members
of some such organization.
In consequence, I feel incapable of
doing a good review of one of the best
books published in this country for
over a dozen years. It is "The Mind
in the Making," (Harpers) by James
Harvey Robinson.
Robinson has apparently tired of
the great national palaver about
Democracy, the Freedom of the World,
the Soul, Business First, Normalcy,
Hundred-per-cent-Americanism, of the
daily newspapers, of historians who
respect all the hocus above mentioned,
of Congressional speeches and Rotary
clubs, and of such sporadic phenom-
ena as "The Man Who Has Never
Been Kissed," of Frosh-bites, of the
national system of education; in brief
of all the expressions, results, prod-
ucts, and hullaballoo of the knaves
and fools with which this country
seems particularly blessed. Having
professed history in one of our great
universities, and perhaps still profess-
ing it for all that I know, Robinson
probably felt a peculiar and unremit-
ting pressure of nonsensicalities, and
no doubt the pressure brought about
a reaction which now allows us to
read a vigorous and clear-headed bit
of thought and writing.
What has Robinson to say? Namely,
that only the men of science have
shown consistent progress; that the
social and political reformers are still
accepting, respecting, and attempting
to apply outworn Ideas; and that the
religionists are not helping matters
at all by being still further behinid;
that the vast majority of men are still
hidebound In prejudice and engrossed
in finding "good reasons" rather than
"real reasons" for the things they be-
lieve. This last is, in truth, the back-
bone of the book.- Robinson goes on
to demonstrate that the average
American is automatically for or
against an issue immediately it comes
up, but without any particular reason
except that he must fall on one side
or the other. Having fallen he seeks
evidence which tends to corroborate
and fortify his "wisdom."
But, regardless of this center of
gravity in his book, Robinson is at
his best when he writes of the sus-
picion with which new ideas are re-
garded. He amply demonstrates that
a change of attitude is almost impos-
sible to the general run of mankind,
and that the leaders themselves are
against any change, usually for the
simple reason that a change means
new leaders. Anything that departs
from the normal in any real fashion
is greeted as heretical. "Thus an athe-
ist is looked upon as a fool or agent
of the devil; thus a socialist is re-
garded a bomb carrier with lice in his
whiskers; thus is anyone, for that
matter, who distrusts the present gov-
ernment, looked upon as a radical
and a dangerous fellow; thus are
Havelock Ellis books hermetically
sealed in the libraries or entirely bar-
red from the shelves. (It reminds
one of the days when the Russians
barred obstetrics from medical books
on moral grsunds), and thus is any
one who doubts or flouts the current
trend of morals rushed to the nearest
calaboose or regarded as a lewd and
untrustworthy individual. Let a man
suggest, for instance, that there is

airy Professor Tells the Truth
poetry in the biological aspect of love, pulse and counterpulse, eruptions and liberties are deprived right and left;
and he is instantly heralded from all interuptions that have attended pro- reformers go snooping up back alleys
pulpits as a carnal "free-lover" who is with search-warrants. snifihig for
sure to fry in hell, and the profes- gress and civilization.e goes from zephyrs of evaporating liquor; spies
sorial critics impale him on their pens Greek to Galileo, and alas, from Gali~ flood all the music and dance halls
in their next book on the great liter- leo to W. Gamaliel Harding, and thus and forums; and Christian zealots bar
ature of America! winds up his book with a survey of books from the mails.
"Normalcy," and the "Safety and San- All this may ha
By now, some of you are thinking ity" of ideas. The picture is painful while ts may epten in one block
that you will not enjoy this book, that to behold. God wot, I am no social- while a man gets tunked on the dome
its writer is only another flippant and ist; indeed I am opposed to their theo- in the next, the police either being
flamboyant attacker of sacred tradi- pies, but if our government isn't more none the wiser to the latter action or
tions, a shallow and pretentious fel- reactionary than those of the Mettern- not caring a whoop about it. Big con-
low, such as myself, only vastly better ichian era, then may I be sentenced cerns swallow up the little ones and
because he has had a book published. to strangulation in a vat of carbolized fight any new and dangerous enter-
Well, ,il are, in this case, erring alcohol. Big business utterly domi- prise to its death, or to its engulfing.
Well youlchareig ininthisttcasem Thus the rubber interests hav~e fought
slightly. Robinson takes up the busi- nates the country; Justice can be
ness with utter solemnity. He ddes bought at only profiteer's prices, and (Continued on Page 8)
not joke about the appalling spec-
tacle; there is neither froth nor
frenzy; the chapters of his book were
not written between cocktails.
One thing that particularly delights A t
me is Robinson's treatment of theV % ..JJk
"soul." He shows that this is no sub-
lime conception, that it is no product
of the superior mind, that, on the con-
trary, the most primitive and barbar- Agents for the
ous peoples have held the theory of
the soul, and that, as men become 9G l be-W * k
more civilized, the less certain they G lobe - W ernike
are about it. .Robinson might haye
gone further along this line if he had Sectional Bookcases Filing Cabinets
cared to. I cannothelp but wish that
he had buttonholed an immortalist Filin Cabinet Sup li
and made him tell at just what stagegs
the soul came in evolution, or how O F
soon it comes from heaven before or ,office Furmture
after the fusion of sperm and ova
But still, perhaps I expect too much Special Discount Prices
and so I humbly applaud Robinson as
far as he went. Won't someone next Get our Prices before
take up and show this matter of "will- placing your order -
power" to be merely one reaction of
graduates, are not aware of it, and
the nervous system overweighing an-
other. To be sure, this has already
been shown in the medical books, but
nine-tenths of persons, even college
hence they gravely accept the so-call-
ed "will-power" 'and memory experts
(especially those with active' pineal Wahrs University Bookstores
eyes) and all other quacks and soulfulWs
reformers. Wholesale and Retail
But I digress. Robinson sketches Books - Stationery - Office Supplies
briefly the history of science and
thought, and shows the flux and lag __ -_-_-__ ---__ --_-----_-_---------------------_-_-----_--
The Successful BusinessMan
-always majors in the study of thrift. It doesn't
matter whether he receives his education at
Michigan or in the University of Hard Knocks,
thrift, consistent, well-balanced thrift, must al-
ways be counted as one of the required subjects.
A bank , account is a good
promoter of the thrift habit
RESOURCES OVER $5,000,000.00

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