Page:Path of Vision; pocket essays of East and West.djvu/45

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IV


MINDS AND MONOMINDS


WHEN learning was monopolized by the monks in the Middle Ages, people specialized only in warfare and statecraft. And even these were not altogether free from the scholastic influence. Gradually, however, as the monopoly was broken, the guilds came into existence. And the crafts, aided by the printing press, developed and flourished. Even then, the educated man, whether he was a tailor or a monk, a statesman or a cobbler, did not confine himself, in his pursuit of knowledge, to any one particular subject. Vocationalism was a centre that lighted and included many avocations.

This is still true of the Orient, where a tent-maker, for instance, might be a poet; a distiller of perfumes would be an authority on astronomy perhaps or jurisprudence; a professional singer, though he be of the slave cast, as in the Abbaside dynasty, often composes his own lyrics and masters one or more of the crafts as

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