Mission of the University by José Ortega y Gasset

By José Ortega y Gasset

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But it is certain that all the other things he does in life, including parts of his profession itself which transcend its proper academic boundaries, will turn out unfortunately. His political ideas and actions will be in e p t; his affairs o f the heart, beginning with the type of woman he will prefer, will be crude and ridiculous; he will bring to his family life an atmosphere o f unreality and cramped narrowness, which will warp the upbringing o f his children ; and outside, with his friends, he will emit thoughts that are monstrosities, and opinions that are a torrent of drivel and bluff.

Briefly, to be in form means never indulging in any dissipation whatever. And that indulgence of oneself— your “ let it go anyhow ” , “ lt>s all the same ” , “ a bit more or less ” , “ what of it? ” — that is slovenliness. ” But a group does not acquire this form unless it has disciplined itself, and continues to discipline itself; unless it sees with perfect clarity what it proposes to do. 1 A u t h o r ’s N o t e : For a number of years I have had to find a room outside the university buildings, because the habitual shouting of our precious students, standing around in the halls, makes it impossible to hear oneself talk in the classrooms.

Anything short o f this is no real resolution, it is simply wishing. Y ou rinse your imagination in the idea, you work yourself into a voluptuous excitement over it, and you spend your force in a vague effervescence of enthusiasm. In his Philosophy of Universal History, Hegel asserts that passion, without doubt, is responsible for all the significant accomplishments in history; but— he qualifies— cool passion. When passion is simply a frenzy o f tur­ bulent emotion, it is of no use at all. Anyone could be passionate, that way.

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