Great Thinkers: The Quest of Life for Its Meaning

Great Thinkers: The Quest of Life for Its Meaning

Great Thinkers: The Quest of Life for Its Meaning

Great Thinkers: The Quest of Life for Its Meaning

Excerpt

To one whose interest is aroused by the drama of human history, the life ideals of great thinkers play roles of unrivaled importance. He sees men of various temperaments and abilities in the midst of perplexities and difficulties struggling with ignorance and prejudice for the sanities of life, men who left the record of their successes and their failures as a heritage for us who have followed. Time has proved it is a heritage one can ill afford to ignore. For if the reflective wisdom of the past renders no other service than to free our minds of the burden of outworn theories and opinions, mistaken loyalties and cramping, sterile dogmas, its value to the world would be beyond estimate. But its great positive service lies in its pointing the direction in which clearminded men saw light, the sources from which they drew reinforcements that sustained them in the crises of life. Keeping the philosophy of life abreast of the insights that come from every quarter, from the past as well as from the present, continues to be the unfinished business of education for everyone.

In the writer's experience, the best approach to the thought of a Plato, of an Aristotle, a Kant, or of any other great thinker is by way of inquiring how the thought arose and took form in the thinker's mind, and what it all meant to him as he was feeling his way to his conclusion. Not what it meant to him when his thought was completely worked out and he was presenting his conclusions in systematic form for the technical reader.

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