Freedom of the Mind in History

Freedom of the Mind in History

Freedom of the Mind in History

Freedom of the Mind in History

Excerpt

In May 1920 I delivered the West Lectures at Leland Stanford Jr. University, selecting, as within the scope of the Founder's purpose, the subject indicated by my title-page. I spoke of the free action of the human mind through history, and tried to distinguish this agency from the grosser or more palpably determined factors shaping the fortunes of our race.

Doubtless the subject lacks definiteness. It is elusive and full of snares. Though I have since devoted a good three years to this small volume, and indeed most of my life in some way to its preparation, I feel it will be found logically reprehensible, and by no means free from inconsistencies. So is human nature. The full-minded man of many sympathies is a working union of inconsistencies. Assume him to be thoughtful and well read. Suppose that he loves literature and art; that he has looked earnestly over the vista of history, and has carried his studies in various directions. Imagine him also drawn by religious feelings, or at least sympathizing with them; and that he cares for the ultimate . . .

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