Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/201

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present system of educational ideals is seen in the urgent desire of many college graduates to lead a double sort of existence, one half of the day with, and the other without, their professional interests. The attitude of so many college graduates to their profession is of such a nature that "hobbies" and "outside interests" are essential for the restoration of the mental balance which has been destroyed by the daily occupation. This "double life" necessitating a daily shift in ideals and ideas may become a prolific source of nervous disorders, varying in degree from boredom, even at the mention of intellectual topics, to pronounced mental derangements. The failure of our present collegiate-university to show that the real pleasure of life depends upon the association and not upon the divorce of intellectual interests from the daily occupation of the individual is one of the most serious defects in a system that sets a man adrift in his profession without any intelligent interest in it. The American student is so thoroughly imbued with the idea that "to be educated" is a condition or state of mind induced by teachers that he seldom realizes any of the pleasures associated with learning; and so in later years the practise of his profession becomes for him merely a method of making a living instead of being at the same time a source of enjoyment.

By exhortation, backed up by a vigorous policing, the American collegiate university has endeavored to drive students to the choice of high ideals, which are emphasized merely in order to satisfy conventional requirements. This is one of the most serious defects in our entire educational system, as it frequently becomes necessary in after life for the individual at a critical period to readjust fundamental mental mechanisms in order to meet the real issues of life. On the other hand, the cultivation of the spirit of intelligent and candid scepticism has been sadly neglected in our American universities. Students are taught to think only in accordance with the "cast iron rules" given them as guides to thought and conduct, while the more important lessons of searching diligently for the truth, and of being continually on the guard lest the rising mists of authority completely blind their vision, are seldom emphasized. The ideals of the alma mater more often suggest submission to a corporal than to the admonitions of a parent. In many of our universities to-day the doubts of the weak are crushed out of existence, while the resistance of the strong to a system of passive intellectual oppression breeds a spirit of rebellion. High ideals can not be maintained in an atmosphere where the value of intellectual honesty is not appreciated, or where the advice is not infrequently given, "Do not express your doubts in public."

Pater's affirmation, "What we have to do is to be forever curiously testing new opinions and courting new impressions, never acquiescing in a facile orthodoxy of Compte, or of Hegel, or of our own," expresses a well-known law of physiology seldom referred to in our universities.