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Miller Hits Student Introspection, Says Soul's 'Location' Necessary


"The current undergraduate 'silent generation' is more interested in brooding than in self-development," Alexander Miller, associate professor in Religion at Stanford, asserted last night in the first Noble Lecture, "The Self's knowledge of Itself."

Criticizing both the scientific and introspective approaches to self-under-standing, Miller stated that it is necessary to "identify oneself by relationships," not by internal or external examination.

Miller took as the theme for this lecture, the first in a series of six, the quote: "The ego is more distant than any star." After examining two popular methods of understending the soul, introspection and dissection, he called for "location" as necessary for self-understanding.

The current religious revival on college campuses has become "a force to get self-knowledge," Miller commented. He criticized this conception, stating, "The soul's maturity may be measured by the degree to which it is bored with itself. This system--introspection--seeks maturity by a system that itself is immature."

Contrary to many theologians, Miller upheld science as an integral part of Christianity, stating that science develops within the Christian gospel. Christians should understand that science is important, Miller noted, since it concerns data not affected by theology, but it cannot measure spiritual data.

After discarding both introspection and scientific dissection to gain an understanding of the soul, Miller called for self-identification by location. "Neither measurement nor introspection can give the true measurement of man's worth," Miller commented, "Man knows himself by the company he keeps."

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