The True Scholar
(The Crimson invites all men in the University to submit signed communications of timely interest. It assumes no responsibility, however, for sentiments expressed under this head and reserves the right to exclude any whose publication would be palpably inappropriate.)
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
A good deal of the recent talk about "recognizing scholarship" is it seems to me (with the utmost respect for its origin), characterized by earnest benevolence rather than by perfectly clear thinking. What keeps it from being more impressive is its essential irrelevance. The champions of the idea are palpably sincere, not to say solemn: their intentions are the best in the world, but their psychology is loss to be commended. They do not, that is, admit into their thinking the one fact which is most germane to the subject--namely, that scholarship is in its very nature a pursuit which is not fostered to any appreciable extent by overt "recognition", that it can thrive lustily even though accompanied by something less than a fanfare of trumphets. Scholarship--not to put too fine a point upon it--is like virtue, its own reward. This may sound like arrant sentimentality: it is the soberest truth. The real stimulus to the life of study is not, of course, the applause of the market place but one's own unquenchable thirst for knowledge, one's love of ideas for their own sake. Only those who, however humbly, have swung their oars in it, can know the zest of that Odyssey which is inspired by the desire "To follow knowledge like a sinking star Beyond the utmost bound of human thought."
And there is a very real danger that the furnishing of other and really adventitious stimuli will result in encouraging a certain unworthy charlatanism. For my part 1 believe that, as things are, scholarship receives all the "recognition" that it deserves or wants. Your true scholar has always been, and doubtless will continue to be, content to keep the noiseless tenor of his way without (to mix the quotations) making himself a motley to the view. F. N. ARUIN JR. '21.