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March 02, 1924 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1924-03-02
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~.LK K A.



SUND3AY, MARCH 2, 1924

.:. .


Vacuity and Perspicuity


I -have just discovered that I am
creature of moods. I, who always con-1
sidered myself as free as the winds,
am slave to a mood. Not a whim,
nothing as shallow as that, but a
My mood varies with the hour of
the day, the season of the year, the
bookdIam reading. I am in the mood
induced by a fairy talI as I write
this. I ask myself with a little men-
tal start if I am ever withQut a mood
-if I ever do aught but reflect. an
April morning, an ochre and oranje
symphonied sunset, veils of Iavendei=
in dim hills, a rollicking Kipling b-
lad, a Browning monologue, a Dn
sany fantasy, or the imbecile septi-
cism of an antediluvian Paine.
Take from me my religion, my e r
cation, my environment, myfriend
ships-is there no remainder? I vis-
ioned myself as an individual, one
independent of all men, sufficient Uto
himself. And now I suddenly realze
that t4e whole thing is nothing but the
attitude I tae in this broad mood into
which my life at the Uiversitf
thrusts me. I am what men WVbeen
termed often and often, a puppet, a
marionette, a Punch-with the rest of
my despised fellows of the world un-
wittingly and probably unwillingly
pulling the strings. And my aw(k-
ward, blundering stumbling- aout on-
ly reflect their butter-fingered handli-
ing of the cords.
The mood I am in! What avmood it
a that sent the Crusaders away
from their wives and homes aid the
trees of their woods, thousands of
Miles on a hopeless, useless quest
What a mood that sent the Spartans.
to besiege Troy for ten long years
What a mood it was that sent Colum-
bus across the Atlantic, facing alone
the terrible Unknown which put ter-
ror in the hearts of his criminal crew!
What moods sent Livingstone and
Stanley into the heart of Africa, anid
Drake to the North Pacific! ┬░in what
profound moods lived Aristotle, Kant,
Hegel, Dante, Napoleon; Confucius
Alexander, Mohammed, a host of
Individuals, all these, Representa-
tive Men, Heroes, Prophets... Mono-
maniacs, all these, prey to one de.
vouring mood, prey to no distracting
moods, ahethus to act without g es-
tioning their actions..,
I read Noyes, Vachel nday,
Wilie, and my thoughts .bat ike end-
leanly "roling .draim, like tha..srging
thud of tom-toms, and -.. I write
Edgar Guet dltties. I absorb the
careful, powerful character studies
and atmofiphere paintings of .Conrad,
Iardy, Dostoevsky, Turgeniev, TIs-
toI, and I grow cooly analytical; ac-
quaintances and strangers become
characters in exotic settings. I read
Dracula, of Stoker; Andreyev; The
Return, Qf De La Mare; and books
of a like nature, and I feel that I
cquld, call a leering slathering grin
out of velvety darkness, and . . . 1
write crude imitations of Craig-Ken-
nedy. I read Sandburg, Davis, Jeanne
d'Orge, Orrick Johns, Kreymborg,
Marianne Moore, and the rest of their
ilk; and I am immediately become in-
ordinately clever.. And Schopen-
hauer, Paulsen, and Wenley make me
exceedingly wise and sophisticated...
All nothing but mood. Nothing ex-
pressing what I have called, what you
and all others like us have called
What-I-Really-Am. I have never, can
never, tell anyone, least of all myself,
vfhat I am at bottom; what I am when
every extraneous influence is re-
moved; and I strongly suspect that I

am nothing. After all, I owe my ex-
istence, the very fact that I live, to
another. Another... . nothingf

No, I am not i. I am only an accu-I
mulation of many little characteris-
tics, which, slapped together rather
carelessly, make me what I am; not
as other men, true, but-a man. Just
a man-just a particular combination'
of goodness and badness, reason and
insanity, passion and austerity-just
like no other man, but not in myself,.
my ultimate self, any more than an
imaginary point in Space. Literally,
II am Nothing, a~id I am governed by
'the mood I am in. And I am always
governed; I am always in some happy
or sad, witty or dull mood.

An animated fantasy, of paste and
pulp, dressed in the baright clothes of
environment, and dancing idiotically
at the end of a string for a lot of fel-
I wonder what the devil one of you
is jerking that string now?
"No less damaging to American dra-
matic criticism is the dominant notion
that criticism to be valuable, must be
constructive. . One can't cure
a yellow fever patient by pointing out
to him that he should have caught
the measles. One can't improve the
sanitary condition of a neighborhood
merely by giving the outhouse a dif-
ferent coat of paint."-("The Critic
and the Drama," Nathan.)'

"The prostitute is disesteemed. to-
day, not because her trade involves
anything intrinsically degrading, or
even disagreeable, but because she is
currently assumed to have been driven
to it by dire necessity against her dig-
nity and inclination . . . the prosti-
tute commonly likes her work and
would not exchange places with a
shopgirl or a waitress for anything in
the world."-("In Defense of Women
Christ, as John writes, appeared on
earth in order to destroy the works.9t.
the devil, he might have been dis-"
pensed with if no devil had existed."-
(David Strauss, "The Old Faith and the


Horatian Stoicism

,, ..____

t 4
f 4




prn 's
First Fancy
T HE O'Rossen Suit has invaded America, but
it has been nicely modified. On avenues and
at smart luncheon tables everywhere its tailored chic
catches one s eye, and with what interesting variety!
Never twice alike. A glimpse of this collection will
tell you why for there are a surprising number of
different fabrics, a wide range of colors and details
so varid that it would be hard to say which is most
attractive. A great many women will find it pos-
sible to wear these newer tailleurs and happily, for
they do indeed make striking costumes.
The Camel 's
Hair Suiet
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M ANY Broadcloth Blouses
show their fashion worth
in two ways, by being simply
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Madras Shirts
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by George Santayana. Scribners.
Every scholar or investigator worth
his salt rejoices whenuhe finds his
corner of the garden cultivated with l,
conspicuous success at any university.
Thus, those who follow philosophyl
could hold their heads a littlef
higher fifteen years ago, thanks to the
faculty of all the talents at Harvard.
But death and resignation making
shipwreck, this conjunction became
apart of history. Mercifully, although
death is apt to close the record,
resignation may lend new opportunity.
-And one dare affirm that the impres-
-:Isive series of books produced by Mr.
"Santayana since 1911 offers notable
compensation for face-to-face traffic
wwith our young barbarians. At all
:vents, the publishers of "Scepticism
..and Animal Faith" (the latest of the
- -series, 1923), seem to think so; they
S2parade virtue pompously in their1
'blurb' with-"courageous seeking for I
-Truth . . . pursued unhampered by
,academic conventions." Our friends
protest overmuch; I wonder how the
=Scribner counting-house would fare
were academic conventions relegated
-:to the discard! Such supports happen
to be a very present help in time of
need. But there be men who are men
enough to transcend them and, even
when he wore the much-bethumped
- title 'professor,' Mr. Santayana dis-
pensed with these crutches. Here, he
=is merely going his own characteristic
way, rejoicing in artistry, prospering'
in strength, more than ever.
The subtitle, "An Introduction to the
Realms of Being," serves to remind;
one forcibly that philosophy may im-
.port many things. As his genially ma-
licious wit hints, Mr. Santayana agrees
-that it has been, still is, the happy-
hunting-ground of dogmatists with
home-made axes to grind; of amateur
,..,psychologists fain to ease their own
toothache and tell the remedy at a
price or for the mere telling's sake;
of dull Ipdagogues drooling "rules for
profitable study;" of slaves to en-
cyclopaedic facts; of malignant mindsi
set upon anathematizing heretics and
magnifying disciples; of liliputians1
adrift on a momentary current and
'uttering "our water's fne;" of
trained bores so naive that they actu-
ally tolerate each other at stated meet-i
;ngs; of timid souls whistling in the
tlark to keep their courage up. All1
these agree to suffer conventions glad- I
ly-whether academic or other makes
mighty little difference. Thus, the1
-<vit literature of Philosophy remains1
very meagre; indeed, we have been
told that all metaphysics can be found
in two books. For myself, I incline to
believe that vital philosophy has some
inseparable connection with race or,
pIutting it otherwise, with a definite;
unlierse of experience. If so, we canj
uncover Mr. Santayana's secret forth-'
with. He is a person, alive, because,
despite long immersion in Anglo- 1
Saxondoin, he remains an impeni-!
tent Latin. The Boston Brahminl
and the New England Conscience!
proved too mephitic for his com-;
fort. His initial confession were,
wholly superffuous. "I am content to,
write in English, although it was not,
my mother-tongue, and although in
speculative matters I have not much
sympathy with the English mind." For
this very reason, he has something to
say well worth marking and, at least

Thre Bar Sinister

R. M. WENLEY by emphasizing
Un- i crity of fMichiaanI appearance and
ordinary men it
as much poet as philosoper, he knows work shorter, he preservesrspect for take everything
how to say it. Nevertheless, he is no Spinoza alone. Moreover,7Tis avers- implicit reliance
devotee of dlammy aestheticism. On ions on the practical side are no less lieve to be "t
the contrary, he is that rare event, the manifest. If he will have none of senses," and thus
type of intellect resistant to defining Anglo-Saxon wooliness in thought, he abstractions for
formulae,. and therefore apt to miss is equally disgusted with Anglo-Saxon , , scien
due appreciation. Accordingly, we f morale. He detects that our fervid-so hl y here up tc
must consider his general standpoint.I paeans to Liberty mask unconscious-
Mr. Santayana places himself hypocrisy,-we wuld be free loissues f
yp y---e wuldbe reefroff may overshoot th
squarely athwart classical philosophy guidance. To thicken the plot, we 4are
so called, particularly in its Protest- in no fit state to use freedom, because cisene as merel
inferences from
ant phase. He flouts Descartes, easily we shrink from brain-work as a puppy stng in a kin
mounted on "the rock ofVugar belief," being broken to house shrinks from a hand" without v
although accepting, significantly en- frown. Even such a typical, arid to a supposititi
ough, his:assertion of substantial ex- therefore vaunted, libertarian as the IEven so, it isce
stence as one object of faith "least author of "The Way of All Flesh"' necessary to "n
open to reasonable doubt," He dis- would rank with Mr. Santayana as no the interference
misses Locke, the father of "the Whig more than "the Galileo rof mare'-f inthe end thin
idea," and thus the most potent voice nests." -He is acutely aware that the !Seim. The magn
of Anglo-Saxondom on both sides of representative individualist thrives on for example, are
the ocean, as a temporary influence in "causes," eschewing the richness of flexes derived fr
the "local perspective" of the eight- life for bleak moralistic- negations. They presuppose
eenth century. He smiles at Hume Above all, he is utterly out of syn- such that the che
and Kant with bitter-sweet indulg- pathy with the blatant gallimaufry of completely i
ence; they were no more than timid lower - middle - class prejudice and ys
iceptics prone "to set up some oracle, pinch-beck Protestantisn whereby, asphilosophy tc
independent of natural knowledge. with tell-tale unintelligence, some Yet it adopts th(
He pours vials of scorn upon the yeasty think to blaze a way to salvation at sense as a rule
Teutons and their latest spawn, the the coat-tails of one Volstead. In a contact with wh
modernists, because "sentimental and word, too sophisticated, and far too "the world of n
immoral in their spiritual economy. experienced, to be merely "1' homme nalve or quasi-n
an inimitable mixture of en- moyen sensuel," he yet sublimates we all do in da
thusiasm and pendantry, profoundity common sense into something decidely 1 Saritayana is a
and innocence." In like manner, he uncommon or, if you prefer, he evokes He will have nor
winnows pragmatism from the thresh- distinction from our clod. Iscribable, in his
ing-floor; it sports the "cancelled On the whole, modern speculative novel of which 1
dogma" that "all momentary opinions thought comes into collision with the Neverthelessdes
are equal in truth." To make short ) customary convictions of the average N
common man ami


When I consider that we implacably
demand that pencils should be either
round or hexagonal in shape, that
buildings shall be absolutely perpen-
dicular, that corners of walls must be
exactly right angled, that boards be
perfectly smooth and perfectly varn-
ished as well, that chairs be carved
and shaped and glued piece by piece,
that ceilings be absolutely smooth,
that cement be withouta blemish, that'
doorknobs be of polished and turned
brass, that dishes glazed, I begin to
realize what meticulous creatures we
are, how sensitive our aesthetic in-
stincts and how declicately organized
our sense of the fitness of things.
The seals were balancing sticks on
their nose. They looked a little sheep-
ish about it. I could hardly blame
them. For after all, it takes a man
to conceive of such grotesque occupa-
tions-no sensible seal would ever
have thought of balancing a rubber
ball on his, nose every day of his life
or would have dreamed that there
were other mammals in the world who
would willingly spenI their time in
watching him.
"I think you are so intellectual look-

subject of illusio
finish; service tc
the greatest of t
the hundred-per.
this, that or the
he ought to be
"A happy s
.the flaw."

Ing," she murmured as we wandered
out on the piaza away from the gab-
bling crowd.
"Oh, do you? I have always felt the
same about you,'" I replied, blushing-
"Really, how interesting. You know
I like sensible, common-sense fellows
like you.. You are never silly like the
rest, yet there is something about you
that is interesting. It isn't that you
are good-looking, because you know
you aren't-"
"Exactly," I broke in. Here, I
thought, is a penetrating girl, a girl
I must learn to know better. "That's
it exactly. Now you for instance. You
aaft sitil at } --tha t'v nPever '

So Mr. Santay;
he finds it in its(
put it-to the qu
to discover maa
tions. If, then,
individual, he a
save himself who
The brand is
11bUsning in this
sense and scienc
if . I reg
symbols for hom
That such exteri
I exist myself, a

aren' sit aL au - Le ays nerl
- ,.i,:; "~' Iprosperously in
make a fuss over you. There is some- prsaoth nt
thing interesting about you although arfait tedour
you are awfully plain and you never precipitated in a
bother to buy stunning gowns or do tn whchpis .
your hair in the latest fashion or fin perception.
dance the latest steps or--Iof belief mediate
I was stunned by a stinging slap on
I region of animal
my right cheek. She uttered a sound to the original a
that wasn't quite a scream nor yet a creed-that there
sob and rushed into the brilliant bail-'crsed-thatthar
is a future, that
ro.found, and things
no guarantee car
THE PROPHECY . . . I am sur
Why am I so sure that this delicate ; are often false.
mite of a babe across the aisle will in! lasts, in one for]
twenty years or so grow up and have must endure." I
clumsy hands and feet, heavy features realm of nature,
and a continual air of self-effacement j ing of existence.
and bewilderment? How can I guess by no means ex
from his soft skin and color that hej going scepticism
(Continued on Page Seven) (Continued

ill a -

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