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Culture

Culture will have no pretense, no disguises. Divested of all externals, our money, our Latin and Greek, our accomplishments, taken from our customary surroundings, far from the pale of our circles and institutions, no longer relying upon the prestige of names and ancestry—what, then, is there to show? Culture takes our measure and takes it in kindness, but will not be deceived into mistaking a "forked radish" for a man. Away with semblance. Culture will have none of it. We need display no diploma, no degree, if we can show no fruit thereof. Useless that in college we studied metaphysics if now we know not our own minds, that we were proficient in psychology if we know not whether we are soul or body; to no purpose that we read philosophy if now we are discontent, or theism if we have not trust in God; mathematics, and have demonstrated no plan of life; astronomy, and can see nothing beyond the nose. In vain our economics if we profess only politics; our history if we have learned only chronology; our rhetoric if we have nothing to say and can utter no truth. Farming would teach us to plant live seed if we would harvest a crop.

There is no school for culture save life only. It is evolved, not acquired; it is not an accretion but an expansion; it is a token of growth, but of a growth which is endogenous. Nor is it derived from association with noble persons, for we but reflect their own. To cultivate the mind without the heart is to turn an arid soil that shall produce only sage brush. A truly cultivated mind has learned first the virtue of the heart, for love is the basis of a true culture. Love is the most real thing in the universe, for God is Love; and therefore it is the substance and ideal of the cultured mind, and whatever we shall say of one may be placed to the credit of the other.

From Where Dwells the Soul Serene.

The foundations of mental and spiritual health are obedience, reverence, loyalty, gratitude; in short, those inward attitudes of thought and emotion which become beings who are subjects and receivers, and which are the personal expression of our true relations to God and men alike.
When they are wanting, morality has ceased to be more than a more or less slowly dying custom and tradition, sustained by facetious terrors upheld for the sake of public convenience.
—F. J. A. Hort

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Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • Born on December 7th, 1868 in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France and died on January 6th, 1944 in New York City.
  • Graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Quoted in As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
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