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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mental and Ethical Jellyfish

“We are sending forth graduates with diffused minds, scarcely fit to take command of their own lives or to co-operate in the development of a social state; drifters into conformity and essential human futility; easy victims to specious crowd psychologies; followers of what seem easy ways out . . . . They esteem themselves only creatures of their environment and so they tend to become just that. They have little or no perception of standards—of truth, beauty, or goodness; they have no goals or purposeful perfection with which to estimate values or by which to gauge achievement. All things are to them relative—relative not to absolutes but to expediency. Truth means to them little more than a body of observable facts; beauty, conformity to fashion; goodness, doing the things that will make one comfortable or popular. Out of our most able youth, capable of high adventure, we are manufacturing mental and ethical jellyfish.”

President Stephen Bell, of Saint Stephens College. Quoted by W.A. Harper, “Character Building in Colleges.” New York: Abingdon, 1928.

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