The World's Great Age: The Story of a Century's Search for a Philosophy of Life

The World's Great Age: The Story of a Century's Search for a Philosophy of Life

The World's Great Age: The Story of a Century's Search for a Philosophy of Life

The World's Great Age: The Story of a Century's Search for a Philosophy of Life

Excerpt

Dominating the square, named in honor of his great victory, is the pillared statue of Britain's greatest sailor, Lord Nelson. Only a few yards from this imperishable memorial to the nation's hero of a great war is the reminder of the cost of another great war, the grave of the Unknown Soldier. His martyrdom--or glory--is memoralized anew under Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe in Paris; and is again the central shrine in our own Arlington Cemetery. Scarce a country that took part in that conflict but has his precious and nameless memorial. Its generals and statesmen are not much more than incidental names; the hero is the soldier who did his bit and paid with his life and name. Such is the change in the bravest adventure in the world that has come in a scant century.

The change in all the manifoldness of life is no less startling. Only a few days ago a colleague, seeing the hundreds and thousands of new students pouring into one of our mid-western universities, and knowing his responsibilities, "what shall I tell them?" he asked. "The old formulas are attractive, and these young people would eagerly accept them; but will they work?" And he is a brave teacher who will return a complacent answer. Was it not Dostoevsky, that most contemporary of all nineteenth century artists, who once remarked that the confidence that two and two will always make four is a sign not of life hut of death?

The nineteenth century--the century of change. To . . .

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