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November 18, 1923 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1923-11-18

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College Bred Instability
Adolescent Readjustments
In these days, when the modern DOROTHY GELTZ at home. He does not often realize
American university is beginning to jIthat, even were he to be given the
undergo a change of function, and' topruito eunngt i oe
becoming a place where, instead of Something new? Decidedly so! In greater and more noble than the boy opportty of returning t his hom
worn out beliefs and traditions being all his life before this, he has never has ever dreamed of before, and ex- Iehe ld find that his tstabofscod
come across or been thrown into such hibits a depth and breadth of know- lge life had upset his established
fostered, new ideas are engendered , a situation. The ideas and mode of onduct perman-
and put into practice, (often to a I people of his pre- edge and a charm of personality thatIently
slight jiggling of the imperturbable vious acquaintance have been gener- demand and deserve genuine respect. enty.x
eqipoise) a new problem arises in ally of two classes, the desirable and Or possibly the boy goes out with
connection with the student. The the undesirable, and the dividing line a girl about whom he has heard many There are two courses open so him.
change is far frAi complete in any of between the two has been in most damning things hinted, and with Either he must evade tha issues-
cases pretty sharply drawn. Of course, whom he finds he can take liberties must retire ito a reserved and per--
esItthe college e campuses are taka he has bumped into people of the so- which he has reserved only for the haps morbidly introspective shell.
fng on the aspect of a hotly-contestedcalled undesirable type, but he has undesirable element of his previous shunning all hint of allowing his own
battle ground betwisen the "safety invariably thought of them as such, acquaintances. She swears, she ideas to be questioned by himself or
and sanity" of past generations and and they have been somewhat apart smokes, she "fusses," she laughs anyone else, or he must go about the
from his life. Perhaps he has wan- gaily and irresponsibly at things business of thoroughly questioning
the independent thought, the open- and examining 'everything with which
minded questioning, of the near fu- dered downtown with his fellows, and which utterly disgust the boy; and
ture. fallen in with one of the deplorable- yet, in her too he finds the same ap- he comes in contact, believing, noth-
"town characters" (male or female) peal to his respect that he has found ing, and actively attacking any at-
The inevitable result of all this is now and then. But these people have in the man-a certain refinement U tempt that may be made to force ideas
a similar struggle going on in the never meant anything in his life-he derneath her superficial veneer of upon him.
mind of the student who goes to col- has held then in the utter contempt blase and somewhat vulgar savoir Strangely, it is the student who
lege with a complete set of hand-me- which only youth can achieve, and he faire-an attitude toward life which, chooses (either consciously or un-
down ideas, which somehow do not has never for a moment thought of though as yet unsettled, is neverthe- consciously) the former course who is
fit in with the scheme of things when connecting his experiences with them less deliberate and rational-the re- the more hopeless. His case is pretty
he finds himself set down with no with his daily life. sult of genuine thought and careful apt to become almost psychopathic;
one td think for him. A very definite But no!. He spends an consideration. at any rate he joins the ranks of the
problem immediately arises, and upon)
its solution depends in large measure evening with a man who jokingly al- The boy is in a quandary. Added permanently emotionaly unstable. Al-
the social adjustment and mental equt- ludes to a drunken brawl of the pre- to the problems which confront him though he strictly suppresses all in-
librium of this student with this type) vious night, scoffs lightly at principles are two additional factors, the gen- cinations or thoughts that may lead
of background. Now he adjusts him- and traitions that tlie boy has pre- eral confusion of activity to be found him to doubt the infallibility of his
self to this new order may determine viously held sacred above even the in any college, and the keen pangs of doctrines, or his philosophy of life
his sbsequent success or failure in r of a doubt, and yet in the homesick longing for the even, un- (if he may be given credit for having
his life undertakings. next breath expresses thoughts far disturbed life which he has known one) his mind is nevertheless a con-
fusion of impressions, of vague ques-
Such a student enters college at tionings which he refuses to recognize
the summit of adolescence with abso- m c less attempt to answer. Because
lutely no conception of the conditions T he Precipitous r he dares not trust himself to exchange
under which he is to live for the net 1,I .J~Y ideas with his fellows for fear his
four years of his life. He has here- own may be weakened or overthrown,
tofore been more or less sheltered' rsus the . AT rl.Ahe becomes either critically or ego-
from the undesirable things of life,;J tistically introspective. Small wor-
as well as from a great many of its (ries, doubts, and feas perturb him
possibilities. He has had to make unduly, he is perpetually undecided
no particular decisions for himself- ROBERT W. COOPER and hesitant, he becomes inordinately
his elders have done that for him, on precautions or overcautious, his anxi-
the grounds that his inexperience and Our younger writers are making the knowledge which it is possible to ac- ety over various matters far exceeds
youth have rendered him less capable demand, "Why?" And they are not be- quire in this world, but only on condi- the weight of those matters them-
than e rndered im le pble tog answered. The reasoner has ques- tion that he should use none of it eith-
thnthey in coping with the problems selves, and he is troubled with a feel-
and difficulties that have arisen. Be toned such hoary' virtues as patriot- er to guide his life or for any other ing of general insufficiency and made-
may have played about after a fash- ism, political loyalty, and valor in purpose, he would turn away for fear quacy. This student seldom lasts in
;on, satisfying natural curiosity and war. To the man who sees these of pressing it. But most people csn college to the point of graduation, and
finding out for himself in a somewhat things as great fundamental mistakes, go through a university course and eves if he does, he becomes another
lackadaisical and adolescent fashion the complacency of the rest of Menc- remain as they were before, sold citi- of the legion of social maladjustments
just what the world is osade of, but ken's morons must be exasperating. zens voting the Republican ticket, be- due to distorted conceptions of life.
all of this is superficial and idealistic, Sometimes I wonder how a man vers- ieving, or professing to believe, in the The student who, on the other hand,
and in most cases very young people ed in the history and learning of the God of the old testament and in tile cultivates an attitude of lively In-
have no fundamental ideas of their past and watching the world going the U. S. army. And incidentally while vestigation and questioning is much
same old round, making the same old retaining sound confidence in those nore apt to come out on top. Of'
own. Their mentality is made up mreatocoiouonop O'
largely of a heterogeneous mass of blunders, and assuming in a kind of two institutions their minds are so fa- course, he may for a time seem the
ideas, notions, and fancies accumu- pathetic stupidity that it is facing new cile as to be able to embrace Christi- more flighty and unstable of the two,
fated frnns their various acquaint- situations and new problems, can help anity as well. They do not trouble with his wierd conglomeration of
ances, generally from older people i becoming wearily disgusted with the themselves about reconciling these es- garbled ideas, He will take up and
monotonous merry-go-round and give tablishments and creeds. They are loudly laud an idea which the next
whose philosophy of life is based upon lul ada dawihtenx
their own past experiences, which ex- up the ghost. He probably would if institutions and that is sufficient. day he condemns and rejects for an
periences the youngster himself Inay he were entirely logical, but life isn't But now comes a school of skeptics opposite bus. He will spend as much
r(,ver have. Most of his natural emo- logical. Perhaps he develops a syns- which blasphemously asserts that time, energy, and thught arguing
tios are dormant, or at any rate sup- pathetic philosophy, or become so en- some of our principles run counter to over the question of why women use
pressed under a heavy coating of in-Igrossed in the facts of history them- each other and cannot be reconciled. rouge as he would over the most
preinsso-led raheaating, in- selves that he ignores their signifi- They ridicule outrageously all the weighty problems of science or litera-
convention. The sad point is, how- cance or their interpretation. That (dear, sainted old themes of song and tore of which he has any comprehen-
ever, that his thoughts and actions seems to be the case, and this over story, the glories of war, and not a sion whatsoever. But' at any rate his
as well as his inclinations are con- msight on the part of the history en few of the blessings of peace. The thinking process as well as his ac-
trolled not through but by an acquired 'calls forth the scorn of the sardonic world has a very effective weapon tions are natural and normal, in that
rationalis which is by no means the Mr. Mencken quite frequently. with which to defend itself. In fact it i they frankly admit and bring to light
result of an effective training of his . The savants of the past and a ma- has several weapons. One of these is thoughts and impulses which, though
own brain. Jority of those now living concern the doctrine of necessity. This takes radical, are much less harmful when
themselves with acquiring and cat- various forms. In war it is applied as expressed than when represse. "..'.-
an whIn-repess-d-M.re

aloging knowledge. They no doubt follows: "He done it to me first and over, during the process of mulling
And so we find him, entering college. add to the world's fun'd of information I gotta defend myself." It is applied evervarigstearfcss u-
Possibly one of the first things he about itself, but of what value is the to many governmental irregularities. dent auto tisally collects a system
encounters is the prevalent and wide- information if it isn't used? To me Napoleon used it, not only in matters of well-defined principles by which
spread rumor that the college person- knowledge merely for the sake of of government but also in the msr- to hi 'pronal c y and
nel is composed mainly of moth-eaten knowledge is hollow. I have heard a dering of prisoners of war. It covers by theetime he ls had the softening
faculty, dizzy ,grinds of uncertain man say that if he were shown a but- a multitude of sins. Another weapon and settling influence of a few years
age, drunken rounders, and co-eds ton, the pressing of which would is the good old book. If you question of experience to trim off the rough
that are discreet courtesans. I place him in possession of all the (Continued on Page Seven) (Continued on Page Three)

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