Page:Hospitals, medical science and public health.djvu/32
HOSPITALS, MEDICAL SCIENCE,
valuable." Now he must be a very dull or a very complacent observer who supposes our modern industrial civilisation to be hitherto a great success; still what an abasement, surely an unmerited abasement of commerce, for which ancient calling this and other universities are now giving new opportunities, to suggest that it is all trivial; that it is incapable of principles, of high standards, and has no uses for an education which stores the mind with liberal knowledge and opens it to new and various ideas. We have seen that a disinterested building up of mental faculty is not a matter of this study against that, whether of literature, of social and commercial economy, of physical science, of history, and so forth, but of the larger manner of its handling; that university training does not consist in decorative accomplishment, nor in disdain of common things, but in an openness and a flexibility of mind to new ideas and issues, in the spirit brought to the study of everything; for although in nature nothing is common, no thing is smaller than another, to the common mind everything is insignificant. Herein the American surpasses the English plutocrat; he sees beyond the counter, he has faith in the best knowledge in every field; we have not this salvation. Let me contrast with such complacency the words of a teacher even more considerable: "You are citizens of the great and mighty city of Athens (a city by the way mightier than any of ours); are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth, and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all?" German commerce is teaching us the bitter lesson that even in his own material field your "practical man" over-reaches himself; that his "good workman" is unable to investigate even practical problems, to appreciate the discoveries of others, or to teach his apprentices. If he is to transform human energies into the best material results the practical man must have the best kinds of minds at his service; not merely the handy man, sharp and resourceful enough in ordinary emergencies, but of no insight and no horizons.
Portal of Qualification.
If then a university degree is to be exacted for a utilitarian teaching which, if it is to occupy only the time officially