Winds Of Doctrine eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about Winds Of Doctrine.
possibility has no material power.  It is only one of an infinity of other things equally possible intrinsically, yet most of them quite unrealisable in this world of blood and mire.  The realm of eternal essences rains down no Jovian thunderbolts, but only a ghostly Uranian calm.  There is no frown there; rather, a passive and universal welcome to any who may have in them the will and the power to climb.  Whether any one has the will depends on his material constitution, and whether he has the power depends on the firm texture of that constitution and on circumstances happening to be favourable to its operation.  Otherwise what the rebel or the visionary hails as his ideal will be no picture of his destiny or of that of the world.  It will be, and will always remain, merely a picture of his heart.  This picture, indestructible in its ideal essence, will mirror also the hearts of those who may share, or may have shared, the nature of the poet who drew it.  So purely ideal and so deeply human are the visions of Shelley.  So truly does he deserve the epitaph which a clear-sighted friend wrote upon his tomb:  cor cordium, the heart of hearts.



Address delivered before the Philosophical Union of the University of California, August 25, 1911.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,—­The privilege of addressing you to-day is very welcome to me, not merely for the honour of it, which is great, nor for the pleasures of travel, which are many, when it is California that one is visiting for the first time, but also because there is something I have long wanted to say which this occasion seems particularly favourable for saying.  America is still a young country, and this part of it is especially so; and it would have been nothing extraordinary if, in this young country, material preoccupations had altogether absorbed people’s minds, and they had been too much engrossed in living to reflect upon life, or to have any philosophy.  The opposite, however, is the case.  Not only have you already found time to philosophise in California, as your society proves, but the eastern colonists from the very beginning were a sophisticated race.  As much as in clearing the land and fighting the Indians they were occupied, as they expressed it, in wrestling with the Lord.  The country was new, but the race was tried, chastened, and full of solemn memories.  It was an old wine in new bottles; and America did not have to wait for its present universities, with their departments of academic philosophy, in order to possess a living philosophy—­to have a distinct vision of the universe and definite convictions about human destiny.

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Winds Of Doctrine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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