Signs of the Times

[From the Elks Magazine, New York, New York]

A young man who effectively avails himself of opportunities for scholastic training through high school, college, and university is an educated person. If he pursues his studies, materially enlarging his fund of information derived from standard authorities, he becomes a learned man. If the learning be broadened by an appreciative study of the fine arts, he may be termed a cultured scholar. Let him add to this the lore that is to be acquired elsewhere than in textbooks, and he becomes a man of knowledge. But with all this, he may never attain to wisdom, just as he may become a truly wise man without any of these things; for wisdom is not merely information of what others have said and done, nor the mere possession of book learning. It is the capacity to think for one's self, the power to reason and draw correct conclusions, the ability to apply acquired knowledge to meet human needs and to evolve a sound philosophy of life. And this faculty involves an understanding of human nature as well as of natural laws. Above all, perhaps, it involves an appreciation of the true relationship between man and his fellows, and between man and his God.

The educated person is equipped for a fuller life than one who lacks that training. The learned man is even better equipped to enrich his own experiences. The cultured scholar is yet more independent of outward contacts for his own enjoyment of existence. But none of these, lacking wisdom, can add materially to the sum of human knowledge or the well-being of mankind. It is only the wise man who advances learning, who leads men to loftier heights, who enriches the lives of others, who really serves humanity.

November 13, 1926

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