Puslapio vaizdai

scholarship. New facts New facts no longer spelled growth to him; they were simply so much more stock on the shelves. He tried meditation in seclusion from the world on the family estates at Rayküll in Esthonia. That did not work. "I had to recognize," he says, "that it was too early for me to renounce the world." He found that, if anything, his personality began to crystallize more rapidly in retirement than in the rough-andtumble life of the world. He had to break camp and strike the trail back to the world.

He felt that a free and growing spirit "must never look upon any form as final, never feel himself identical with anything or anyone; the center of his consciousness must coincide with that of the world." As a hermit at Rayküll he could not thus keep his spirit fluid. He saw himself in danger of reducing life to a formula, fixed and final, and of becoming a crystallized personality. "The inevitable crystallization must be averted as long as possible," he says, "and I therefore determined to return to the world."

He knew that he could become more learned by further study, but he wanted to become wiser, and he knew that he could achieve a deeper wisdom only by fresh and further experience. So the purpose of his tour of the world was not to study India, China, Japan, Africa, America, and the other lands he visited. There was nothing about these places that he really wanted to learn. If that had been his aim, he would have stayed at his quiet retreat at Rayküll and studied the reports of experts on these places. What he set out to do was to go to these lands in turn and see what would happen to him internally, as he would be forced

to adjust himself to utterly alien climates, utterly different customs, and utterly new ways of thinking. He determined that, as far as possible, he would become an Indian while in India, a Chinaman while in China, an African while in Africa, and so on. "I want," he said as he set out on his journey, "to let the climate of the tropics, the Indian mode of consciousness, the Chinese code of life, and many other factors, which I cannot envisage in advance, work their spell upon me one after the other, and then watch what will become of me.. If anything at all will lead me to myself, a digression round the world will do so."

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The two volumes of his travel diary record the thoughts and queries and aspirations that passed through his mind as he submitted himself to the varied climates and civilizations to do with him what they would.

I shall not attempt to capture within this brief paper anything like a comprehensive suggestion of the vital and varied ideas that swarm out of these two volumes. I want only to suggest the one thing about this diary that seems to me to have most significance to us Westerners just now. I am at best a blundering amateur in the field of philosophy. I speak, therefore, with hesitation about Count Keyserling's importance as a philosopher, but I shall be surprised if the real pundits of philosophy find in this diary or even in Count Keyserling's other books any really new contribution to philosophical theory. This travel diary is essentially a great human document, a novel of the inner life of one of the singularly sane and sensitive spirits of our time. And from it emerges a significant spiritual

appeal to the mechanistic materialism of the Western mind. I want merely to hint at the bases of this appeal, leaving the job of making a philosophical estimate of this diary to more expert hands.

What is this spiritual appeal to Western civilization that emerges from this diary? In answering this question we may pass over Count Keyserling's reactions to the Chinese and Japanese scenes and to the various way-stations of his journey, and center our attention upon his reactions to India and to the United States. We shall thus lose much of the picture and, perhaps, do less than justice to Count Keyserling's philosophy, but we shall at least catch hold of a thread that will lead us through the labyrinth of his pages. Count Keyserling comes out of India to tell us Westerners that, if we are to realize renaissance instead of ruin, we must become wise as well as learned, that we must come to know the inner meaning as well as the outer facts of life, that we must add to the perfection of our purely critical faculties a deepening of spiritual insight. Only so, suggests Count Keyserling, can we approach the ideal of human perfection, which is to free ourselves from slavery to the objective facts of life by piercing to the heart of their meaning. There is, of course, nothing new in this. It is lifted entire from Hindu metaphysics. This conception was old when the first philosopher began practising his trade. I heard its echo years ago from the lips of an unlettered lecturer at a county fair in Missouri, when he said: "What's all your automobiles amount to, if there ain't nobody drivin' 'em? What 's all our fine houses amount to, if

there 's just a lot o' little dudes and dudines runnin' in an' out over the door-sill like ants?" Here was the same insistence upon the supremacy of spiritual perfection over material progress.

It has been said by various reviewers that Count Keyserling's original contribution lies in the fact that he has put this ancient metaphysical assumption to practical use by making it the starting-point of a new ethical system based upon concentration. That is to say, he tells us Westerners that we cannot penetrate to the inner meaning of things by merely working harder at the job of learning more facts, but that we must actually perfect ourselves spiritually, lift ourselves to higher levels of consciousness, and that we may lift ourselves from the purely physical and intellectual plane to the psychic plane by various methods and devices of concentration. But here, again, we have an idea that is lifted entire from Hindu Yoga. It is true, however, that Count Keyserling adapts this Indian idea of concentration to the Western mind by suggestions that smack of psychoanalysis. He does not leave us with the lean advice that we can overleap the physical world of fact and gain residence in the metaphysical world of meaning by the simple device of just sitting and thinking or just sitting and waiting. He conceives this life of "understanding" in contrast to the life of "scholarship" as a creative process; he says that "a meaning, deeply understood, creates a new condition of facts." He means, of course, that understanding will first create new psychic or spiritual facts, but that later these new psychic facts will create new facts in the more

objective world of affairs. It is here that he appears as the prophet of a new Western civilization. New understanding will create new men, and new men will create new civilizations.

If we were to stop here with our consideration of Count Keyserling we would be forced to place him as just another mystic who would have us renounce the world and flee to some quiet retreat in quest of psychic perfection. But the picture changes when we eavesdrop his thoughts as he completes his visit to the United States. I do not mean that America transformed him into an apostle of mass production and motor-cars, or made him think that the noisy hurry of Fifth Avenue is a better school for the soul than the holy quiet of a mystic retreat. In fact, Count Keyserling's American meditations might have been plagiarized from Sinclair Lewis. Count Keyserling did not come to console Babbitt in his banalities. He let his finely disciplined critical faculties play upon all that is sordid and superficial in American life, but he brought his spiritual insight into play, and saw here something that should be united in marriage to the things he saw in India.

The flip satirist may miss the spiritual reserves of material America; the fanciful mystic may underestimate the material shortcomings of meditative India. Count Keyserling does neither. The sanity of his mind and the insight of his spirit comprehend both. He obviously regards the Eastern aim of spiritual perfection as superior to the Western aim of material progress, but throughout his diary there is a haunting sense that

there is something missing in the wisdom of the East. In the deeper sense of the word, the Easterner dodges the facts of life instead of dominating them. The Easterner runs away from the world in order to be good. Is that necessary? Count Keyserling suspects that it is not. The brooding Easterner and the bustling Westerner are alike only half-men. If it were possible to combine in one personality a successful American and a saintly Indian, we might find that we had the only sort of man who can set the tides of renaissance running throughout Western civilization.

Count Keyserling is a practical mystic and a spiritual reformer, of which we have too few. Enamoured as he is of the spiritual ideals of the East, he does not think the West can realize the millennium by the simple device of taking out its telephones, although the jangling bell that has interrupted me so often this morning almost makes me think it might. In short, Count Keyserling has greater hope that we may touch with spiritual light the dynamic efficiencies of the West than that we may lead the dreaming East to pay adequate attention to its material well-being. The mere fact that material America has more bath-tubs than meditative India does not mean that India rather than America will be the breeding-ground of the new humanity. It is all right for the Indian to bathe in thought, but the American will be an even better man if he can be induced to think in his bath. The West has builded a magnificent body for a great civilization. Can we breathe into it the breath of life?

Some New Books We Have Read

Adventures in Criticism and Reporting



The Life and Letters of John Muir. By William Frederic Badé. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2 vols.

All John Muir's books are essentially autobiographic, and there remained less for his biographer to do than might have been expected, in view of the fact that Muir lived so much of his life in the wilderness and left few traces. The traces which he did leave, however, have now been carefully picked up by Mr. Badé, who with taste and discretion fits the record together from all available sources and enriches it with many of the charming letters which Muir wrote to various correspondents. Muir emerges from this treatment as remarkable a man as anybody ever thought he was. He was a creature of the natural world, and, though born in Scotland, he took the American continent for his home. From Wisconsin, where the Muir family had settled, he tramped to Florida, and then went on to California. Up and down the long Pacific coast, from Alaska to Mexico, he spent the rest of his life, writing his best books about the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His His Calvinistic upbringing and his university studies had done nothing to tame his restless spirit. Though part

of the time he had a home to go to, he was most comfortable in the wilderness. toward the things he wanted with the A vast energy drove him. He went directness of an eagle. He no more suffered from the need of society than a bear. Alert as a fox, he was forever on the lookout for all that went on, and he managed to be present at the most unusual happenings out of doors. He knew how to fend for himself in dangerous situations. Willing to kill another animal if he needed it for food, he nevertheless lived at peace with animals and seems to have been accepted by them. At the same time, he was a man constantly drawing conclusions from his experiences, adding wisdom to his insight, setting down at intervals the records of his adventures for others to read. What sustained him through all this was, apparently, more than curiosity; it was ecstasy. Eager as a child, he burned with the continuous excitement of an untiring poet.

His books, along with his biography and letters, present an amazing variety of life. As botanist, zoölogist, geologist, Muir made important observations, but he was less a cool scientist than a seer hot upon the trail of the secrets of the earth. To accompany him is to put off the burdens of civilization and to go back to primitive condi

tions in which man lives in nature without feeling obliged to dominate or to exploit it. Those conditions Muir describes in rich and picturesque detail. He seems to have studied every flower or tree or mountain-peak or waterfall or bird or beast till he was as familiar with it as with his own hand; yet his account never suffers from monotony, so brightly does it move and so vividly does it communicate its enthusiasms. When he brings human beings into his picture, he reports their appearance and their behavior with the same interest as he feels for the non-human citizens of his world. He is dramatic because he deals little with still life and much with movement. He has no dead levels of narrative or description. He is precise to the verge of wit, as in his note on the voice of the Douglas squirrel: "His musical, piney gossip is savory to the ear as balsam to the palate; and though he has not exactly the gift of song, some of his notes are sweet as those of a linnet-almost flute-like in softness; while others prick and tingle like thistles." More often, however, Muir strikes the note of rapture and so lifts himself above dullness. In any but a traveler of extraordinary fire and passion, this rapture could have become now and then mere sentimentalism. With Muir it never does. He takes his readers actually with him to his peaks, as when he says: "Come with me along the glaciers and see God making landscapes." C. V. D.


Adventures of a Scholar Tramp. By Glen H. Mullin. The Century Co. In writing about his experiences as an amateur on the road of vagabondage, Glen Mullin must have been

tempted to answer the most obvious of the questions which have been asked him since he came back to civilization, and to let it go at that. Where he could count upon so much ignorance among his audience, almost anything he might say would be novel. But instead he has given far more than almost any one knew how to inquire about. True, his book is, as it has been called, a handy guide for bums and beggars; it contains as much information as the average man needs to know before trusting himself to the wandering underworld. But Mr. Mullin's record is so modest that it does not hint at that superior audacity in him which transformed him so quickly from "a gay cat" to a blowedin-the-glass "stiff”—that is, from an amateur to an expert in his temporary craft. Let the average man try to beat his way seven thousand miles in a summer and see how he fares. And the same audacity which made Mr. Mullin successful on the smoky trail has made him successful in his book about it. It is not a mere bald chronicle; it is a work of art, equaled by no recent tramp book except W. H. Davies's "Autobiography of a SuperTramp," and unsurpassed by that. "Adventures" appears to be, indeed, a plain story. The materials are so well disposed that the narrative nowhere lags under its burden of information. The work, however, is really a comedy which depends little upon its value as a document. Mr. Mullin, of course, knows a great deal more about hoboes than John Gay knew about beggars when he wrote "The Beggars' Opera," and Mr. Mullin has chosen a form between the autobiography and the novel instead of a form between a comedy and an opera. But in a sense

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