DRIFTING alone with the current, one is not apt to notice the progress he is making, to see clearly where his journey is to end, or towards what shoals and snags his boat is directed. Here in college we have been drifting along in this manner, we have not stopped to think over how far we have gone; and now when a voice from the bank utters a timely warning, and points out to us o r real condition, we are startled.
Such were my reflections on reading the last number of the Advocate. I agree with the editors of that paper that our situation is appalling, but on thinking of it further I have come to the conclusion that even they have not fully realized the entirely depraved condition we are in.
They have done well in pointing out the evils which must of necessity beset those of us who, with blind infatuity, clothe ourselves; in garments made by English tailors; with unerring instinct they have discovered, and with overwhelming force have stated, the danger of having our furniture made on such demoralizing principles as those laid down by Eastlake. But is this enough to reclaim us from the evil of our ways? Are there not many other besetting sins weighing us down that should be corrected, lest we "leave college self-esteemed oligarchs, with neither the power nor the inclination to exert a superior influence for good upon others"?
In my opinion active measures should be taken at once to prevent such fearful results, and results even more to be feared. "In man there is nothing great but mind"; why then should we let anything take us for a moment from our minds? We come here to cultivate them; why then attend to anything else? It is a waste of time to take three hours a day from this short life of ours and devote them to filling our stomachs with food; to occupy precious moments (when we might be storing our minds instead of our stomachs) with an employment which requires no exercise of the intellectual powers. How many hours we fritter away in a hundred employments that we might devote to the permanent improvement of the mind! But engaged in attending to this base body of ours, we forget all higher aims. We eat, we drink, we walk, we loaf, we dance, we take off and put on our European clothes, we sleep, we busy ourselves with Eastlake furniture, when we should be cultivating our minds.
These evils, I am glad to say, the Advocate intends to correct. May I, without presumption, urge you also to join heartily in the good work? The necessity for action is only too evident when we reflect that by following our base example, and letting the ignoble body attain the ascendency over the glorious mind, hundreds will be doomed to utter darkness. Your contemporary assures us that "at Harvard, the man of fashionable illiteracy and European dress has his idolatrous imitators." Shall we not rise at once, then, like one man, and put down these evil influences? I should suggest that the first steps to be taken would be to assemble a congress of "Pocos" in the Yard immediately, divest ourselves then of all foreign habiliments, deliver them over to those whose minds are fitted only for such shackles, and oblige them at once to remove what is given them from the land. Then let us collect in a large heap that peculiarly formed furniture which exerts such a debasing effect on the only great thing in us, set fire to the mass, and henceforth devote ourselves, body and soul, to our minds. By these rigorous methods, and by these methods only, can we hope to avoid the treacherous shoals that we now know are before us.
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