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June 04, 1922 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1922-06-04

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The Mind in the Making"
(Concluded)r
By James Harvey Robinsona
(Published by Ha'rper Brothers) choose to report of the teachings ofr
8. Some Historical eflections on the people who are already condemned ind
Philosophy of Repression (Con- their eyes?a
tinued) Of course the criticism of acceptedr
Business indeed has almost become ideas is offensive and will long remaint
ur religion; it is defended by the so. After all, talk and writing aref
ivil government even as the later Ro- forms of conduct, and, like all con-h
aan emperors and medieval princes duct, are inevitably disagreeable when
rotected the Church against attack. they depart from the current stand-..
locialists and communists are the ards of respectable behavior. To talkd
Idensians and Albigensians of our as if our established notions of relig-.f
ayheretics to be cast out, suppress- ion, morality, and property, our ideasn
d, and deported to Russia, if not di- of stealing and killing, were defectivef
etly to hell as of old, and in need of revision, is indeed more1
The Secret Service seems inclined shocking than to violate the currents
o play the part of a modern Inquisi- rules of action. For we are accus- t
on, which protects our new religion. tomed to actual crimes, misdemeanors,
ollected in its innumerable files is and sins, which are happening all thec
he evidence in regard to suspected time, but we will not tolerate any sus-
eretics who have dared to impugn pected attempt to palliate them in
business as usual," or who have dwelt theory. * * *
so lovingly on peace and good will If we are courageously to meet and
mong nations. Books and pamphlets, successfully- to overcome the dangers
ithough no longer burned by the com- with which our civilization is threat-t
on hangman, are forbidden the mails ened, it is clear that we need moreb
y so Nwhat undiscerning officials. mind than ever before. It is also clear5
e hava a pious vocabulary of high that we can have indefinitely moreI
At and noble condemnation, mind tan we already have if we but
O , they had in the Middle ages, honestly desire it and avail ourselves
nd part of it is genuine, if unintelli- of resources already at hand. Mind,
nt, as it was then. as previously defined, is our conscious
Such are some of the obstacles which knowledge and intelligence, what we
he student of human affairs must sur- know and our attitude toward it-our
nount. Yet we may hpe that it will disposition to increase our informa-
ecome increasingly clear that the re- tion, classify it, criticize it, and apply
ression of criticism (even if such it." * **
riticism becomes fault-finding and No previous generation has been so
akes the form of a denunciation of perplexed as ours, but none has ever
xisting habits and institutions) is in- been justified in holding higher hopes
xpedient and inappropriate to the sit- if it could but reconcile itself to mak-
,tion in which the world finds itself. ing bold and judicious use of its grow-
* * ing resources, material and intellec-
We constantly hear it charged that tual. Iti is fear that holds us back.
his or that individual or group advo- And fear is begotten of ignorance and
,tes the violent overthrow of the gov- uncertainty. And these mutually re-
tnment, is not loyal to the Constitu- inforce one another, for we feebly try
ton, or is openly or secretly working to condone our ignorance by our un-
or the abolition of private property or certainty and to excuse our uncertain-
he family, or, in general, is supposed ty by our ignorance.
o be 'eager to "overturn everything Our hot defense of our ideas and
cithout having anything to put in its beliefs does not indicate an estab-
lace." lished confidence in them but often
The historical student may well rec- half-distrust, which we try to hide
mmend that we be on our guard from ourselves, just as one who suf-
gainst such accusations brought fers from bashfulness offsets his sense
gainst groups and individuals, * * "* of inferiority and awkwardness by rude
ocrates was executed for corrupting aggression. If, for example, religious
'outh and infidelity to the gods; Jesus beliefs had been really firmly estab-
or proposing to overthrow the gov- lished there would have been no need
rnment; Luther was to the ofilcials of of "aids to faith"; and so with our
is time one who taught "a loose, self- business system today, our politics
,illed life, severed from all laws and and international relations. We dread
irholly brutish." to see things as they would appear
Those who questioned the popular if we thought of them honestly, for
lelusions in regard to witchcraft were it is the nature of critical thought to
leclared by clergymen, professors, and metamorphose our familiar and ap-
.udges of the seventeenth century to proved world into something strange
ie as good as atheists, who shed doubt and unfamiliar. *
in the devil's existence in order to Partisanship is our great curse. We
ead their godless lives without fear too readily assume that everything has
if future retribution. How is it pos- two sides and that it is our duty to be
ible, in view of this inveterate habit on one or the other. * * * It has
if mankind, to accept at its face value been said that the worthy people of
rhat the police or Department of Jus- Cambridge are able promptly to re-
ice or self-appointed investigators, duce the most complex social or eco-
A little farther
perhaps but the
e x t r a serbice
makes it worth
your lvhile.
State Savings Bank
ain at Washington -

omic problem to a simple moral is- inevitably alter the world with which
sue, and this is a wile of the Father we have to make terms. * *
of Lies, to which many of us yield * * * At present most of human
readily enough. organization, governmental, educa-
It is, however, possible for the in- tional, social, and religious, is directed,
dividual to overcome the fear of as it always has been, to holding things
thought. Once I was afraid that men down, and to perpetuating beliefs and
might think too much; now, I only policies which belong to the past and
dread lest they will think too little have been but too gingerly readjusted
and far too timidly, for now I see that to our new knowledge and new condi-
real thinking is rare and difficult and tions. * * *
that it needs every incentive in the * * * Just as the "freethinker"
face of innumerable ancient and in- who, in the eighteenth century, strove
herent discouragements and impedi- to discredit miracles in the name of
ments. We must first endeavor man- an all-wise and foreseeing God (who
fully to free our own minds and then could not be suspected of tampering
do what we can to hearten others to with his own laws), was accused of
free theirs. Toujours de l'audace! As being an atheist and of really believing
members of a race that has required in no God at all; so those who would
from five hundred thousand to a mil- ennoble our ideals >f social organiza-
lion years to reach its present state tion are described as "Intellectuals"
of enlightenment, there is little reason or "parlor Bolshevists" who would
to think that anyone of us is likely overthrow society and all the achieve-
to cultivate intelligence too assidu- ments of the past in order to free
ously or in harmful excess. themselves from moral and religious
restraints and mayhap "get something
17. What of Iii for nothing." The parallel is very
Our age is one of unprecedented re- exact indeed!
sponsibility. * * * The Church always argued that there
* * * Nothing is going to be set- were no new heresies. All would, on
tied in the sense in which things were examination, prove to be old and dis-
once supposed to be settled, for the credited. So the Vice-President of the
simple reason that knowledge will United States has recently declared
probably continue to increase and will - (Continued on page 4)
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I

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