The Searching Mind of Greece

The Searching Mind of Greece

The Searching Mind of Greece

The Searching Mind of Greece

Excerpt

This book was written that the pursuit which Plato called "The noblest of them all" might, if possible, be made more attractive to my countrymen. It is a daring book, because the quest appears to be an endless one and has elicited heroic efforts from most searching minds. But I hope it may be an inspiriting one as well. Philosophy has sometimes been compared to mountain-climbing, and its purest springs of joy are then said to flow from the most rugged heights of endeavor. The figure, however, is misleading. For it has helped to foster the idea that the few who scale these heights are undertaking an icy, futile, or even unearthly venture. This, indeed, is common opinion to-day. How many accidents to human minds is not philosophy held responsible for! Our very newspapers seem to take it for granted that any untoward personal event, from a runaway youth, to a divorce, an apostasy, or a suicide, is the product of some new "philosophy." What that is, is generally left unsaid -- whereby the fearsome mystery becomes more ominous still. And yet our William James has characterized philosophy as "only an unusually obstinate effort at clear thinking."

It is time that a nearly universal desire "to see life steadily and see it whole" should be cleared from misunderstanding. We should no longer dishonor those gallant explorers, who (as a matter of history) have brought to our minds whole continents of what we call "modern" in our science, our religion, our conceptions of government, and ethical practice. They should no longer be esteemed altogether "foolish in their own conceits," dark, dismal, and dangerous men, because there have been such among them. Nor should the . . .

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