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Excerpt from Self Education: An Address Given Before the Boston Architectural Club, April the Third, 1909
Many of you will have had the advantage of a thorough technical training in your chosen profession; be grateful for it. Others, like Topsy, just growed - or have justfailed to grow. For the solace of all such - without wishing to be understood to dis parage architectural schooling, which is grow ing increasingly excellent and increasingly necessary - I would say that there is a kind of education which is worse than none, for by filling his mind with ready-made ideas it prevents a man from ever learning to think for himself; and there is another kind which teaches him to think, indeed, but according to some arbitrary method, so that his mind be comes a canal instead of a river, flowing in a predetermined and artificial channel, and un replenished by the hidden springs of the spirit. The best education can do more than to bring into manifestation that which is in herent; it does this by means of some stimu lus from without - from books and masters - but the stimulus may equally come from within; each can develop his own mind, and in the following manner: The alternation between a state of activity and a state of passivity, which is a law of our physical being, as it is a law of all nature, is characteristic of the action of the mind as well; observation and meditation are the two poles of thought. The tendency of mod ern life and of our active American tempera ment is towards a too exclusive functioning of the mind in its outgoing state, and this re sults in a great cleverness and a great shal lowness. It is only in moments of quietmeditation that the great synthetic, funda mental truths reveal themselves. Observe ceaselessly, weigh, judge, criticise - this order of intellectual activity is important and valu able - but the mind must be steadied and strengthened by another and a diherent pro cess. The power of attention, the ability to concentrate, is the measure of mental effi ciency, and this power may be developed by a training exactly analogous to that by which a muscle is developed, for mind and muscle are alike the instruments of the silent Thinker who sits behind. The mind an instrument of something higher than the mind: here is a truth so fertile that in the language of Ori ental imagery, If you were to tell this to a dry stick, branches would grow, and leaves Sprout from it.
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