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August 31, 1837
An oration delivered before the
Phi Beta Kappa Society,
at Cambridge University

by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in the American Scholar Magazine
(Essay contains 7,558 worrds.)

        CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- I greet you on the re-commencement of our literary year. Our anniversary is one of hope, and, perhaps, not enough of labor. We do not meet for games of strength or skill, for the recitation of histories, tragedies, and odes, like the ancient Greeks; for parliaments of love and poesy, like the Troubadours; nor for the advancement of science, like our cotemporaries in the British and European capitals.
         Thus far, our holiday has been simply a friendly sign of the survival of the love of letters amongst a people too busy to give to letters any more. As such, it is precious as the sign of an indestructible instinct. Perhaps the time is already come, when it ought to be, and will be, something else; when the sluggard intellect of this continent will look from under its iron lids, and fill the postponed expectation of the world with something better than the exertions of mechanical skill. Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close.
          The millions, that around us are rushing into life, cannot always be fed on the sere remains of foreign harvests. Events, actions arise, that must be sung, that will sing themselves. Who can doubt, that poetry will revive and lead in a new age, as the star in the constellation Harp, which now flames in our zenith, astronomers announce, shall one day be the pole-star for a thousand years?
         In this hope, I accept the topic which not only usage, but the nature of our association, seem to prescribe to this day, — the AMERICAN SCHOLAR. Year by year, we come up hither to read one more chapter of his biography. Let us inquire what light new days and events have thrown on his character, and his hopes. It is one of those fables, which, out of an unknown antiquity, convey an unlooked-for wisdom, that the gods, in the beginning, divided Man into men, that he might be more helpful to himself; just as the hand was divided into fingers, the better to answer its end.
         The old fable covers a doctrine ever new and sublime; that there is One Man, — present to all particular men only partially, or through one faculty; and that you must take the whole society to find the whole man. Man is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer, and soldier. In the divided or social state, these functions are parcelled out to individuals, each of whom aims to do his stint of the joint work, whilst each other performs his.
         The fable implies, that the individual, to possess himself, must sometimes return from his own labor to embrace all the other laborers. But unfortunately, this original unit, this fountain of power, has been so distributed to multitudes, has been so minutely subdivided and peddled out, that it is spilled into drops, and cannot be gathered. The state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters, — a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.
         Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things. The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man on the farm. The tradesman scarcely ever gives an ideal worth to his work, but is ridden by the routine of his craft, and the soul is subject to dollars. The priest becomes a form; the attorney, a statute-book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship.
         In this distribution of functions, the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking. In this view of him, as Man Thinking, the theory of his office is contained. Him nature solicits with all her placid, all her monitory pictures; him the past instructs; him the future invites. Is not, indeed, every man a student, and do not all things exist for the student's behoof? And, finally, is not the true scholar the only true master? But the old oracle said, `All things have two handles: beware of the wrong one.' In life, too often, the scholar errs with mankind and forfeits his privilege. Let us see him in his school, and consider him in reference to the main influences he receives.
         The first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature. Every day, the sun; and, after sunset, night and her stars. Ever the winds blow; ever the grass grows. Every day, men and women, conversing, beholding and beholden. The scholar is he of all men whom this spectacle most engages. He must settle its value in his mind. What is nature to him? There is never a beginning, there is never an end, to the inexplicable continuity of this web of God, but always circular power returning into itself.
         Therein it resembles his own spirit, whose beginning, whose ending, he never can find, — so entire, so boundless. Far, too, as her splendors shine, system on system shooting like rays, upward, downward, without centre, without circumference, — in the mass and in the particle, nature hastens to render account of herself to the mind. Classification begins. To the young mind, every thing is individual, stands by itself.
         By and by, it finds how to join two things, and see in them one nature; then three, then three thousand; and so, tyrannized over by its own unifying instinct, it goes on tying things together, diminishing anomalies, discovering roots running under ground, whereby contrary and remote things cohere, and flower out from one stem. It presently learns, that, since the dawn of history, there has been a constant accumulation and classifying of facts. But what is classification but the perceiving that these objects are not chaotic, and are not foreign, but have a law which is also a law of the human mind?
         The astronomer discovers that geometry, a pure abstraction of the human mind, is the measure of planetary motion. The chemist finds proportions and intelligible method throughout matter; and science is nothing but the finding of analogy, identity, in the most remote parts. The ambitious soul sits down before each refractory fact; one after another, reduces all strange constitutions, all new powers, to their class and their law, and goes on for ever to animate the last fibre of organization, the outskirts of nature, by insight.
         Thus to him, to this school-boy under the bending dome of day, is suggested, that he and it proceed from one root; one is leaf and one is flower; relation, sympathy, stirring in every vein. And what is that Root? Is not that the soul of his soul? — A thought too bold, — a dream too wild. Yet when this spiritual light shall have revealed the law of more earthly natures, — when he has learned to worship the soul, and to see that the natural philosophy that now is, is only the first gropings of its gigantic hand, he shall look forward to an ever expanding knowledge as to a becoming creator. He shall see, that nature is the opposite of the soul, answering to it part for part. One is seal, and one is print. Its beauty is the beauty of his own mind. Its laws are the laws of his own mind. Nature then becomes to him the measure of his attainments. So much of nature as he is ignorant of, so much of his own mind does he not yet possess. And, in fine, the ancient precept, "Know thyself," and the modern precept, "Study nature," become at last one maxim.
         The next great influence into the spirit of the scholar, is, the mind of the Past, — in whatever form, whether of literature, of art, of institutions, that mind is inscribed. Books are the best type of the influence of the past, and perhaps we shall get at the truth, — learn the amount of this influence more conveniently, — by considering their value alone. The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him, truth. It came to him, short-lived actions; it went out from him, immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.
         I might say, it depends on how far the process had gone, of transmuting life into truth. In proportion to the completeness of the distillation, so will the purity and imperishableness of the product be. But none is quite perfect. As no air-pump can by any means make a perfect vacuum, so neither can any artist entirely exclude the conventional, the local, the perishable from his book, or write a book of pure thought, that shall be as efficient, in all respects, to a remote posterity, as to cotemporaries, or rather to the second age. Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this.
         Yet hence arises a grave mischief. The sacredness which attaches to the act of creation, — the act of thought, — is transferred to the record. The poet chanting, was felt to be a divine man: henceforth the chant is divine also. The writer was a just and wise spirit: henceforward it is settled, the book is perfect; as love of the hero corrupts into worship of his statue. Instantly, the book becomes noxious: the guide is a tyrant. The sluggish and perverted mind of the multitude, slow to open to the incursions of Reason, having once so opened, having once received this book, stands upon it, and makes an outcry, if it is disparaged.
         Colleges are built on it. Books are written on it by thinkers, not by Man Thinking; by men of talent, that is, who start wrong, who set out from accepted dogmas, not from their own sight of principles. Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books. Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm. Hence, the book-learned class, who value books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with the world and the soul. Hence, the restorers of readings, the emendators, the bibliomaniacs of all degrees.
         Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire. I had better never see a book, than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system. The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul. This every man is entitled to; this every man contains within him, although, in almost all men, obstructed, and as yet unborn. The soul active sees absolute truth; and utters truth, or creates. In this action, it is genius; not the privilege of here and there a favorite, but the sound estate of every man. In its essence, it is progressive.
         The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius. This is good, say they, — let us hold by this. They pin me down. They look backward and not forward. But genius looks forward: the eyes of man are set in his forehead, not in his hindhead: man hopes: genius creates. Whatever talents may be, if the man create not, the pure efflux of the Deity is not his; — cinders and smoke there may be, but not yet flame. There are creative manners, there are creative actions, and creative words; manners, actions, words, that is, indicative of no custom or authority, but springing spontaneous from the mind's own sense of good and fair.
         On the other part, instead of being its own seer, let it receive from another mind its truth, though it were in torrents of light, without periods of solitude, inquest, and self-recovery, and a fatal disservice is done. Genius is always sufficiently the enemy of genius by over influence. The literature of every nation bear me witness. The English dramatic poets have Shakspearized now for two hundred years.
          Undoubtedly there is a right way of reading, so it be sternly subordinated. Man Thinking must not be subdued by his instruments. Books are for the scholar's idle times. When he can read God directly, the hour is too precious to be wasted in other men's transcripts of their readings. But when the intervals of darkness come, as come they must, — when the sun is hid, and the stars withdraw their shining, — we repair to the lamps which were kindled by their ray, to guide our steps to the East again, where the dawn is. We hear, that we may speak. The Arabian proverb says, "A fig tree, looking on a fig tree, becometh fruitful."
         It is remarkable, the character of the pleasure we derive from the best books. They impress us with the conviction, that one nature wrote and the same reads. We read the verses of one of the great English poets, of Chaucer, of Marvell, of Dryden, with the most modern joy, — with a pleasure, I mean, which is in great part caused by the abstraction of all time from their verses. There is some awe mixed with the joy of our surprise, when this poet, who lived in some past world, two or three hundred years ago, says that which lies close to my own soul, that which I also had wellnigh thought and said. But for the evidence thence afforded to the philosophical doctrine of the identity of all minds, we should suppose some preestablished harmony, some foresight of souls that were to be, and some preparation of stores for their future wants, like the fact observed in insects, who lay up food before death for the young grub they shall never see.
         I would not be hurried by any love of system, by any exaggeration of instincts, to underrate the Book. We all know, that, as the human body can be nourished on any food, though it were boiled grass and the broth of shoes, so the human mind can be fed by any knowledge. And great and heroic men have existed, who had almost no other information than by the printed page. I only would say, that it needs a strong head to bear that diet. One must be an inventor to read well. As the proverb says, "He that would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry out the wealth of the Indies." There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every sentence is doubly significant, and the sense of our author is as broad as the world. We then see, what is always true, that, as the seer's hour of vision is short and rare among heavy days and months, so is its record, perchance, the least part of his volume. The discerning will read, in his Plato or Shakspeare, only that least part, — only the authentic utterances of the oracle; — all the rest he rejects, were it never so many times Plato's and Shakspeare's.
         Of course, there is a portion of reading quite indispensable to a wise man. History and exact science he must learn by laborious reading. Colleges, in like manner, have their indispensable office, — to teach elements. But they can only highly serve us, when they aim not to drill, but to create; when they gather from far every ray of various genius to their hospitable halls, and, by the concentrated fires, set the hearts of their youth on flame. Thought and knowledge are natures in which apparatus and pretension avail nothing. Gowns, and pecuniary foundations, though of towns of gold, can never countervail the least sentence or syllable of wit. Forget this, and our American colleges will recede in their public importance, whilst they grow richer every year.
         There goes in the world a notion, that the scholar should be a recluse, a valetudinarian, — as unfit for any handiwork or public labor, as a penknife for an axe. The so-called `practical men' sneer at speculative men, as if, because they speculate or see, they could do nothing. I have heard it said that the clergy, — who are always, more universally than any other class, the scholars of their day, — are addressed as women; that the rough, spontaneous conversation of men they do not hear, but only a mincing and diluted speech. They are often virtually disfranchised; and, indeed, there are advocates for their celibacy. As far as this is true of the studious classes, it is not just and wise. Action is with the scholar subordinate, but it is essential. Without it, he is not yet man. Without it, thought can never ripen into truth. Whilst the world hangs before the eye as a cloud of beauty, we cannot even see its beauty. Inaction is cowardice, but there can be no scholar without the heroic mind. The preamble of thought, the transition through which it passes from the unconscious to the conscious, is action. Only so much do I know, as I have lived. Instantly we know whose words are loaded with life, and whose not.
         The world, — this shadow of the soul, or other me, lies wide around. Its attractions are the keys which unlock my thoughts and make me acquainted with myself. I run eagerly into this resounding tumult. I grasp the hands of those next me, and take my place in the ring to suffer and to work, taught by an instinct, that so shall the dumb abyss be vocal with speech. I pierce its order; I dissipate its fear; I dispose of it within the circuit of my expanding life. So much only of life as I know by experience, so much of the wilderness have I vanquished and planted, or so far have I extended my being, my dominion. I do not see how any man can afford, for the sake of his nerves and his nap, to spare any action in which he can partake. It is pearls and rubies to his discourse. Drudgery, calamity, exasperation, want, are instructers in eloquence and wisdom. The true scholar grudges every opportunity of action past by, as a loss of power.
         It is the raw material out of which the intellect moulds her splendid products. A strange process too, this, by which experience is converted into thought, as a mulberry leaf is converted into satin. The manufacture goes forward at all hours. The actions and events of our childhood and youth, are now matters of calmest observation. They lie like fair pictures in the air. Not so with our recent actions, — with the business which we now have in hand. On this we are quite unable to speculate. Our affections as yet circulate through it. We no more feel or know it, than we feel the feet, or the hand, or the brain of our body. The new deed is yet a part of life, — remains for a time immersed in our unconscious life.
         In some contemplative hour, it detaches itself from the life like a ripe fruit, to become a thought of the mind. Instantly, it is raised, transfigured; the corruptible has put on incorruption. Henceforth it is an object of beauty, however base its origin and neighborhood. Observe, too, the impossibility of antedating this act. In its grub state, it cannot fly, it cannot shine, it is a dull grub. But suddenly, without observation, the selfsame thing unfurls beautiful wings, and is an angel of wisdom. So is there no fact, no event, in our private history, which shall not, sooner or later, lose its adhesive, inert form, and astonish us by soaring from our body into the empyrean.
         Cradle and infancy, school and playground, the fear of boys, and dogs, and ferules, the love of little maids and berries, and many another fact that once filled the whole sky, are gone already; friend and relative, profession and party, town and country, nation and world, must also soar and sing.
         Of course, he who has put forth his total strength in fit actions, has the richest return of wisdom. I will not shut myself out of this globe of action, and transplant an oak into a flower-pot, there to hunger and pine; nor trust the revenue of some single faculty, and exhaust one vein of thought, much like those Savoyards, who, getting their livelihood by carving shepherds, shepherdesses, and smoking Dutchmen, for all Europe, went out one day to the mountain to find stock, and discovered that they had whittled up the last of their pine-trees. Authors we have, in numbers, who have written out their vein, and who, moved by a commendable prudence, sail for Greece or Palestine, follow the trapper into the prairie, or ramble round Algiers, to replenish their merchantable stock.
         If it were only for a vocabulary, the scholar would be covetous of action. Life is our dictionary. Years are well spent in country labors; in town, — in the insight into trades and manufactures; in frank discussion with many men and women; in science; in art; to the one end of mastering in all their facts a language by which to illustrate and embody our perceptions. I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of to-day. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.
         But the final value of action, like that of books, and better than books, is, that it is a resource. That great principle of Undulation in nature, that shows itself in the inspiring and expiring of the breath; in desire and satiety; in the ebb and flow of the sea; in day and night; in heat and cold; and as yet more deeply ingrained in every atom and every fluid, is known to us under the name of Polarity, — these "fits of easy transmission and reflection," as Newton called them, are the law of nature because they are the law of spirit.
         The mind now thinks; now acts; and each fit reproduces the other. When the artist has exhausted his materials, when the fancy no longer paints, when thoughts are no longer apprehended, and books are a weariness, — he has always the resource to live. Character is higher than intellect. Thinking is the function. Living is the functionary. The stream retreats to its source. A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think. Does he lack organ or medium to impart his truths? He can still fall back on this elemental force of living them. This is a total act. Thinking is a partial act. Let the grandeur of justice shine in his affairs. Let the beauty of affection cheer his lowly roof. Those 'far from fame,' who dwell and act with him, will feel the force of his constitution in the doings and passages of the day better than it can be measured by any public and designed display. Time shall teach him, that the scholar loses no hour which the man lives. Herein he unfolds the sacred germ of his instinct, screened from influence. What is lost in seemliness is gained in strength. Not out of those, on whom systems of education have exhausted their culture, comes the helpful giant to destroy the old or to build the new, but out of unhandselled savage nature, out of terrible Druids and Berserkirs, come at last Alfred and Shakspeare.
          I hear therefore with joy whatever is beginning to be said of the dignity and necessity of labor to every citizen. There is virtue yet in the hoe and the spade, for learned as well as for unlearned hands. And labor is everywhere welcome; always we are invited to work; only be this limitation observed, that a man shall not for the sake of wider activity sacrifice any opinion to the popular judgments and modes of action.
         I have now spoken of the education of the scholar by nature, by books, and by action. It remains to say somewhat of his duties. They are such as become Man Thinking. They may all be comprised in self-trust. The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances. He plies the slow, unhonored, and unpaid task of observation. Flamsteed and Herschel, in their glazed observatories, may catalogue the stars with the praise of all men, and, the results being splendid and useful, honor is sure. But he, in his private observatory, cataloguing obscure and nebulous stars of the human mind, which as yet no man has thought of as such, — watching days and months, sometimes, for a few facts; correcting still his old records; — must relinquish display and immediate fame. In the long period of his preparation, he must betray often an ignorance and shiftlessness in popular arts, incurring the disdain of the able who shoulder him aside.
         Long he must stammer in his speech; often forego the living for the dead. Worse yet, he must accept, — how often! poverty and solitude. For the ease and pleasure of treading the old road, accepting the fashions, the education, the religion of society, he takes the cross of making his own, and, of course, the self-accusation, the faint heart, the frequent uncertainty and loss of time, which are the nettles and tangling vines in the way of the self-relying and self-directed; and the state of virtual hostility in which he seems to stand to society, and especially to educated society. For all this loss and scorn, what offset? He is to find consolation in exercising the highest functions of human nature. He is one, who raises himself from private considerations, and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. He is the world's eye. He is the world's heart. He is to resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades ever to barbarism, by preserving and communicating heroic sentiments, noble biographies, melodious verse, and the conclusions of history. Whatsoever oracles the human heart, in all emergencies, in all solemn hours, has uttered as its commentary on the world of actions, — these he shall receive and impart. And whatsoever new verdict Reason from her inviolable seat pronounces on the passing men and events of to-day, — this he shall hear and promulgate.
        These being his functions, it becomes him to feel all confidence in himself, and to defer never to the popular cry. He and he only knows the world. The world of any moment is the merest appearance. Some great decorum, some fetish of a government, some ephemeral trade, or war, or man, is cried up by half mankind and cried down by the other half, as if all depended on this particular up or down. The odds are that the whole question is not worth the poorest thought which the scholar has lost in listening to the controversy. Let him not quit his belief that a popgun is a popgun, though the ancient and honorable of the earth affirm it to be the crack of doom. In silence, in steadiness, in severe abstraction, let him hold by himself; add observation to observation, patient of neglect, patient of reproach; and bide his own time, — happy enough, if he can satisfy himself alone, that this day he has seen something truly. Success treads on every right step. For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks. He then learns, that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds.
         He learns that he who has mastered any law in his private thoughts, is master to that extent of all men whose language he speaks, and of all into whose language his own can be translated. The poet, in utter solitude remembering his spontaneous thoughts and recording them, is found to have recorded that, which men in crowded cities find true for them also. The orator distrusts at first the fitness of his frank confessions, — his want of knowledge of the persons he addresses, — until he finds that he is the complement of his hearers; — that they drink his words because he fulfils for them their own nature; the deeper he dives into his privatest, secretest presentiment, to his wonder he finds, this is the most acceptable, most public, and universally true. The people delight in it; the better part of every man feels, This is my music; this is myself.
        In self-trust, all the virtues are comprehended. Free should the scholar be, — free and brave. Free even to the definition of freedom, "without any hindrance that does not arise out of his own constitution." Brave; for fear is a thing, which a scholar by his very function puts behind him. Fear always springs from ignorance. It is a shame to him if his tranquillity, amid dangerous times, arise from the presumption, that, like children and women, his is a protected class; or if he seek a temporary peace by the diversion of his thoughts from politics or vexed questions, hiding his head like an ostrich in the flowering bushes, peeping into microscopes, and turning rhymes, as a boy whistles to keep his courage up. So is the danger a danger still; so is the fear worse. Manlike let him turn and face it.
         Let him look into its eye and search its nature, inspect its origin, — see the whelping of this lion, — which lies no great way back; he will then find in himself a perfect comprehension of its nature and extent; he will have made his hands meet on the other side, and can henceforth defy it, and pass on superior. The world is his, who can see through its pretension. What deafness, what stone-blind custom, what overgrown error you behold, is there only by sufferance, — by your sufferance. See it to be a lie, and you have already dealt it its mortal blow.
        Yes, we are the cowed, — we the trustless. It is a mischievous notion that we are come late into nature; that the world was finished a long time ago. As the world was plastic and fluid in the hands of God, so it is ever to so much of his attributes as we bring to it. To ignorance and sin, it is flint. They adapt themselves to it as they may; but in proportion as a man has any thing in him divine, the firmament flows before him and takes his signet and form. Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind. They are the kings of the world who give the color of their present thought to all nature and all art, and persuade men by the cheerful serenity of their carrying the matter, that this thing which they do, is the apple which the ages have desired to pluck, now at last ripe, and inviting nations to the harvest. The great man makes the great thing. Wherever Macdonald sits, there is the head of the table. Linnaeus makes botany the most alluring of studies, and wins it from the farmer and the herb-woman; Davy, chemistry; and Cuvier, fossils. The day is always his, who works in it with serenity and great aims. The unstable estimates of men crowd to him whose mind is filled with a truth, as the heaped waves of the Atlantic follow the moon.
        For this self-trust, the reason is deeper than can be fathomed, — darker than can be enlightened. I might not carry with me the feeling of my audience in stating my own belief. But I have already shown the ground of my hope, in adverting to the doctrine that man is one. I believe man has been wronged; he has wronged himself. He has almost lost the light, that can lead him back to his prerogatives. Men are become of no account. Men in history, men in the world of to-day are bugs, are spawn, and are called `the mass' and `the herd.' In a century, in a millennium, one or two men; that is to say, — one or two approximations to the right state of every man. All the rest behold in the hero or the poet their own green and crude being, — ripened; yes, and are content to be less, so that may attain to its full stature. What a testimony, — full of grandeur, full of pity, is borne to the demands of his own nature, by the poor clansman, the poor partisan, who rejoices in the glory of his chief. The poor and the low find some amends to their immense moral capacity, for their acquiescence in a political and social inferiority. They are content to be brushed like flies from the path of a great person, so that justice shall be done by him to that common nature which it is the dearest desire of all to see enlarged and glorified. They sun themselves in the great man's light, and feel it to be their own element. They cast the dignity of man from their downtrod selves upon the shoulders of a hero, and will perish to add one drop of blood to make that great heart beat, those giant sinews combat and conquer. He lives for us, and we live in him.
        Men such as they are, very naturally seek money or power; and power because it is as good as money, — the "spoils," so called, "of office." And why not? for they aspire to the highest, and this, in their sleep-walking, they dream is highest. Wake them, and they shall quit the false good, and leap to the true, and leave governments to clerks and desks. This revolution is to be wrought by the gradual domestication of the idea of Culture. The main enterprise of the world for splendor, for extent, is the upbuilding of a man. Here are the materials strown along the ground. The private life of one man shall be a more illustrious monarchy, — more formidable to its enemy, more sweet and serene in its influence to its friend, than any kingdom in history. For a man, rightly viewed, comprehendeth the particular natures of all men. Each philosopher, each bard, each actor, has only done for me, as by a delegate, what one day I can do for myself. The books which once we valued more than the apple of the eye, we have quite exhausted. What is that but saying, that we have come up with the point of view which the universal mind took through the eyes of one scribe; we have been that man, and have passed on. First, one; then, another; we drain all cisterns, and, waxing greater by all these supplies, we crave a better and more abundant food. The man has never lived that can feed us ever. The human mind cannot be enshrined in a person, who shall set a barrier on any one side to this unbounded, unboundable empire. It is one central fire, which, flaming now out of the lips of Etna, lightens the capes of Sicily; and, now out of the throat of Vesuvius, illuminates the towers and vineyards of Naples. It is one light which beams out of a thousand stars. It is one soul which animates all men.
        But I have dwelt perhaps tediously upon this abstraction of the Scholar. I ought not to delay longer to add what I have to say, of nearer reference to the time and to this country. Historically, there is thought to be a difference in the ideas which predominate over successive epochs, and there are data for marking the genius of the Classic, of the Romantic, and now of the Reflective or Philosophical age. With the views I have intimated of the oneness or the identity of the mind through all individuals, I do not much dwell on these differences. In fact, I believe each individual passes through all three. The boy is a Greek; the youth, romantic; the adult, reflective. I deny not, however, that a revolution in the leading idea may be distinctly enough traced.
        Our age is bewailed as the age of Introversion. Must that needs be evil? We, it seems, are critical; we are embarrassed with second thoughts; we cannot enjoy any thing for hankering to know whereof the pleasure consists; we are lined with eyes; we see with our feet; the time is infected with Hamlet's unhappiness, — "Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought."
        Is it so bad then? Sight is the last thing to be pitied. Would we be blind? Do we fear lest we should outsee nature and God, and drink truth dry? I look upon the discontent of the literary class, as a mere announcement of the fact, that they find themselves not in the state of mind of their fathers, and regret the coming state as untried; as a boy dreads the water before he has learned that he can swim. If there is any period one would desire to be born in, — is it not the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side, and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men are searched by fear and by hope; when the historic glories of the old, can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era? This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.I read with joy some of the auspicious signs of the coming
       days, as they glimmer already through poetry and art, through philosophy and science, through church and state.

One of these signs is the fact, that the same movement which effected the elevation of what was called the lowest class in the state, assumed in literature a very marked and as benign an aspect. Instead of the sublime and beautiful; the near, the low, the common, was explored and poetized. That, which had been negligently trodden under foot by those who were harnessing and provisioning themselves for long journeys into far countries, is suddenly found to be richer than all foreign parts. The literature of the poor, the feelings of the child, the philosophy of the street, the meaning of household life, are the topics of the time. It is a great stride. It is a sign, — is it not? of new vigor, when the extremities are made active, when currents of warm life run into the hands and the feet. I ask not for the great, the remote, the romantic; what is doing in Italy or Arabia; what is Greek art, or Provencal minstrelsy; I embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds. What would we really know the meaning of? The meal in the firkin; the milk in the pan; the ballad in the street; the news of the boat; the glance of the eye; the form and the gait of the body; — show me the ultimate reason of these matters; show me the sublime presence of the highest spiritual cause lurking, as always it does lurk, in these suburbs and extremities of nature; let me see every trifle bristling with the polarity that ranges it instantly on an eternal law; and the shop, the plough, and the leger, referred to the like cause by which light undulates and poets sing; — and the world lies no longer a dull miscellany and lumber-room, but has form and order; there is no trifle; there is no puzzle; but one design unites and animates the farthest pinnacle and the lowest trench.

This idea has inspired the genius of Goldsmith, Burns, Cowper, and, in a newer time, of Goethe, Wordsworth, and Carlyle. This idea they have differently followed and with various success. In contrast with their writing, the style of Pope, of Johnson, of Gibbon, looks cold and pedantic. This writing is blood-warm. Man is surprised to find that things near are not less beautiful and wondrous than things remote. The near explains the far. The drop is a small ocean. A man is related to all nature. This perception of the worth of the vulgar is fruitful in discoveries. Goethe, in this very thing the most modern of the moderns, has shown us, as none ever did, the genius of the ancients.

There is one man of genius, who has done much for this philosophy of life, whose literary value has never yet been rightly estimated; — I mean Emanuel Swedenborg. The most imaginative of men, yet writing with the precision of a mathematician, he endeavored to engraft a purely philosophical Ethics on the popular Christianity of his time. Such an attempt, of course, must have difficulty, which no genius could surmount. But he saw and showed the connection between nature and the affections of the soul. He pierced the emblematic or spiritual character of the visible, audible, tangible world. Especially did his shade-loving muse hover over and interpret the lower parts of nature; he showed the mysterious bond that allies moral evil to the foul material forms, and has given in epical parables a theory of isanity, of beasts, of unclean and fearful things.

Another sign of our times, also marked by an analogous political movement, is, the new importance given to the single person. Every thing that tends to insulate the individual, — to surround him with barriers of natural respect, so that each man shall feel the world is his, and man shall treat with man as a sovereign state with a sovereign state; — tends to true union as well as greatness. "I learned," said the melancholy Pestalozzi, "that no man in God's wide earth is either willing or able to help any other man." Help must come from the bosom alone. The scholar is that man who must take up into himself all the ability of the time, all the contributions of the past, all the hopes of the future. He must be an university of knowledges.         
        If there be one lesson more than another, which should pierce his ear, it is, The world is nothing, the man is all; in yourself is the law of all nature, and you know not yet how a globule of sap ascends; in yourself slumbers the whole of Reason; it is for you to know all, it is for you to dare all. Mr. President and Gentlemen, this confidence in the unsearched might of man belongs, by all motives, by all prophecy, by all preparation, to the American Scholar. We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe. The spirit of the American freeman is already suspected to be timid, imitative, tame. Public and private avarice make the air we breathe thick and fat.
         The scholar is decent, indolent, complaisant. See already the tragic consequence. The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself. There is no work for any but the decorous and the complaisant. Young men of the fairest promise, who begin life upon our shores, inflated by the mountain winds, shined upon by all the stars of God, find the earth below not in unison with these, — but are hindered from action by the disgust which the principles on which business is managed inspire, and turn drudges, or die of disgust, — some of them suicides.
             What is the remedy? They did not yet see, and thousands of young men as hopeful now crowding to the barriers for the career, do not yet see, that, if the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him. Patience, — patience; — with the shades of all the good and great for company; and for solace, the perspective of your own infinite life; and for work, the study and the communication of principles, the making those instincts prevalent, the conversion of the world.
         Is it not the chief disgrace in the world, not to be an unit; — not to be reckoned one character; — not to yield that peculiar fruit which each man was created to bear, but to be reckoned in the gross, in the hundred, or the thousand, of the party, the section, to which we belong; and our opinion predicted geographically, as the north, or the south? Not so, brothers and friends, — please God, ours shall not be so. We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds. The study of letters shall be no longer a name for pity, for doubt, and for sensual indulgence.
         The dread of man and the love of man shall be a wall of defence and a wreath of joy around all. A nation of men will for the first time exist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men.

[Editor's Note: An Oration delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge.]


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~ Feature Story Update ~
February 11, 2004
Growing up in Southern Missouri
On The Eve Of World Destruction

Howard E. Hobbs, Ph.D. President
Valley Press Media Network   

Old Missouri mule!       CLOVIS -- In this memoir I will attempt   to   express certain American principles and  attitudes  with which I came into contact as  a  child growing up in the State of Missouri,   the  South they  called the “Midwest”.
    A great many important aspects of American life have been ignored or treated very briefly,  sometimes because they were or because I thought myself incompetent to handle them.
    I have been writing on American topics for more than fifty years.As readers will soon discover, this is a personal revelation. I have made assertions because I thought them to be true and relevant, not because they had a weight of independent authority behind them.
   There may result from this, something that the reader will find interesting about the best country in the world and the way we were in the interesting and intelligible times of my childhood along the Missouri River.
    Above all, I have tried to make plain that there is no parallel in history to the experiment of free government on the American scale. The sheer size of this undertaking accounts for a great deal, including the apparent justification at some periods and in some views of American life for pessimism about the present or the future of the nation. In the past, the pessimists have always been wrong. I think they are still wrong, although it is a good practice to keep one’s eye on the ball, just in case it doesn’t work out that way.
    When I went to the movies in Kansas City in the late 1930's I witnessed a magnificent sight that I still remember -- a huge serene, and ominous Zeppelin, was moving past on the movie screen. It had been in New York and the narrator said it would be in Frankfort Germany by the very next day. A gigantic black and red swastika was plainly visible on its side as it moved on.
A shadow was crossing Western Missouri, too. How remote it all from me, and how much more remote from the people of Midwest America, with fifteen hundred miles each way between them and the oceans in 1938.
    The Kansas City Star newspaper reminded local citizens of larger European cities and the newspapers there. I went with my family to see relatives who lived in a small town in Kansas. We went together to the corner drugstore to get ice cream after supper.
     It was a typical scene in Main Street America on a Saturday night in late Indian Summer. The boys and girls were there in their white summer clothes; there were endless cars; it was possible that here, as in other American towns like this there was over the street and over the town that indefinable American air of happiness and ease, at least for the young.
     There was that general friendliness and candor. Here, as much as in the rest old urban Kansas in those days, people called each other by their "last names". It was a world in which the older boys and girls spent their evenings milling around outside the drugstores.
    Most adults we knew showed signs of fatigue and worry. They had reason. This was a farm based economy and the farmers were having a rough time. Across the Missouri River it was a drought year. In Emporia, Kansas, it was still doubtful, I later learned, whether they could reopen the local Normal College in the Fall.
    There might not be enough water. That entire region had been badly hit by crop failures, by bank failures. But there was still an impression of hope, of recovery. There was an air of confident adaptation to their way of life in the dress, the speech, the manners of the young.
    In the drugstore there was the usual stock of gadgets, of remedies for all ills. There were soft drinks, and a large book and magazine rack. There were books, too. Books that had been made into films, like the book Last of The Mohicans.
    If you wanted to know about love, about astrology, about business success, about child training, about how to be happy on a small piece of land, the Old Farmer’s Almanac and Life Magazine were there. And the radio blasted the soft summer night and the heat did not empty the movie house.
    There might be a Kansas City Star newspaper with comics and cartoons like Gasoline Alley bringing home the bitter truth about the world of work. No doubt some residents in the town bad traveled and knew about the outside world.
     Perhaps the librarian or the English teacher told the women's club of a tour to the Chicago World’s Fair. Some veterans had memories of the Civil War. Others had memories of France in the World War, the Great War, the War to end all Wars.
     The local newspaper was doing a first class job, a better job than was being done by most other small town papers, to awaken the people to the truth of the new iron age that we were all living in, to the significance of Manchukuo, to the menace of international war in Spain.
     Perhaps, the Parent-Teachers' Association had asked for more instruction in civics and in current affairs. Certainly, appeals for charity, for Chinese, or for Spaniards had been or would be answered as soon as made.
    But in the warmth and ease of that summer night, the inevitable, the right, the human character of American natural isolationism was brought home to me as I gathered fire-flies in a quart Mason Jar in our front yard .
    The great highway to the Gulf was the Mississippi. Control of that muddy watercourse was obtained in a long series of bloody engagements. Lincoln and the Republican Party came from the adjoining State of Illinois had come the leader of the victorious Republican Party. Now Lincoln was long dead and in his tomb up north in Springfield.
     The whole region had been under French control when Clark had burned the French settlements of Kaskaskia from the English. It was a century or more since his brother William and Meriwether Lewis got his orders from President Thomas Jefferson, to open the frontier all the west to the Pacific Ocean, preparing the for what he called the "manifest destiny" of the American nation. But in 1938, it was calm and the clamors of “Imperialism” were too far away to be of any concern.
    There was no way in which the inevitable, deplorable, maddening impact of the outside world on whole Mississippi Valley could be brought home to those of us who lived here. Worse yet, in 1938 we were hearing about something called "peace in our time," but the war in Europe seemed far distant and the plausibility of peace was of little concern to us.
    However, in a short six years, it was war and not peace that came to the eastern shores of the US when German submarines were sinking American ships in the mouth of the Mississippi and all cities of the Mississippi Valley were getting set against air raids, against desperate, forlorn hopes in which the Nazis planned to strike, whatever the cost, at the most typical, representative, important cities of the Midwest.
    As the shadow over Europe grew longer and darker, the problem of the American temper became more urgent. It was largely a question of time and distance. The American people were not prepared for another world war. All over the United States there was the experience in which the outside world was thought to be growing more and more remote, backward, and was thought to be relatively weak.
    On the new concrete roads, new-model cars made American nomads of week-end travel. Into the great railway station centers trains rolled both night and day. There was the Illinois Central, the New York Central, the Union Pacific, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, and of course, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Not everyone rode the rails.
     Riders on the trains would see an occasional Rolls-Royce among the Lincolns, Packards, Buicks, Chevrolets, and Fords.
     The airspace above the trains and cars was filled with the new passenger planes, and the airports more numerous and more splendid than my imagination dreamt of.


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April 11, 1996
An Open Source Electronic Commons
A Public Service of the Robert F. Hobbs Foundation
A Division of Web Portal Inc., a 501(c)(3) Corp.

    FRESNO DESK - While the rise of electronic commerce excites visions of a new economy, the Internet continues to produce explosive growth in free, public communication. The sheer scale and variety of the electronic public domain are staggering, but the promise is not simply an information cornucopia.
     Despite all its problems, the Internet has the potential to remedy some historic defects of public communication. It has already begun to do so, and with additional capital and new forms of organization, it can do much more. Several distinct developments contribute to the transformation of the public domain.
     First, much work in the public domain in the legal sense (that is, not subject to copyright or patent) has been traditionally available to only an ...electronic-commons!


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April 15, 2003
Character Counts
By Amy Williams Staff Writer

    VISALIA -- The Tulare County Office of Education announced today the National Character Counts Week in Tulare County.
     The Tulare County Office of Education and County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Vidak, are joint sponsors of the highly successful program which has quickly spread nationwide with the help of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

Another Tulare County Program is Friday Night Live. It builds partnerships for positive and healthy youth development which engage youth as active leaders and resources in their communities. Serving 56 counties across California, the California Friday Night Live Partnership acts as an umbrella for four innovative youth development programs targeted at three distinct age groups: Friday Night Live (grades 9-12); Club Live (grades 7-8); Friday Night Live Kids (grades 4-6); and Friday Night Live Mentoring (grades 7-12).
     There is also a very widely known Stanford Ethics in Society Program that brings together scholars, students, citizens and citizen activists to reflect critically about the political and moral challenges which have arisen in our collective life in the hope that such reflection can improve society through raising the quality of deliberation, in bringing research to bear on important local, national and global problems, and by preparing students to live lives committed to the values of personal integrity and social justice. The work of the Program is guided by the idea that ethics is not merely a theoretical exercise, it must also be developed, tested, and used in our lives.
 Another character building program in Tulare is the Nature oriented SCICON. This has an instructional staff of over 20 individuals who introduce children to the beauty of nature and the importance of caring for and conserving our natural resources.
     The majority of the instruction takes place "on the trail" as students study animal and plant life, geology, astronomy, Native American and pioneer history, as well as the interdependence of all living things.
     Learning is firsthand and experiential as students use dip nets to search for aquatic insects in the stream, visit the quartz mine to search for quartz crystals or view the heavens through the large SCICON telescope.
     The SCICON curriculum is being expanded to the 1100-acre outdoor classroom.  
      Santa Clara University is sponsoring a new web site on Applied Ethics which offers articles, cases, briefings, and dialogue in all fields of applied ethics.


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~Book Review~
Decermber 31, 2002
Wealth and Democracy

Decline and Fall of the American Empire
By John B. Judis

FRESNO STATE -- When future historians want to understand the politics of the last half of the 20th century, they will treasure Kevin Phillips's books, particularly ''The Emerging Republican Majority'' and ''Post-Conservative America.'' Phillips's latest book, ''Wealth and Democracy,'' has its moments, principally as a jeremiad against the financial excesses of the late 1990's, but it lacks the force and clarity of his earlier works.
     It is annoyingly repetitious and contains what seems like needless detail about things like how many millionaires lived in Philadelphia in 1845. And to the extent that it has a central premise, the premise is not one that commands assent.
     As he has done before, Phillips argues that America is the latest victim of the cyclical rise and fall of great imperial powers -- from Greece and Rome through Britain and the United States.
     He portrays the United States ''against the warning backdrop and decline symptoms of its three predecessors -- Britain, Holland, and Hapsburg Spain.'' This view of history, which was popular among the nation's founders, was revived in the late 1980's by Phillips and the historian Paul Kennedy. (I also did my bit in ''Grand Illusion: Critics and Champions of the American Century.'')
     The idea fell into disfavor during the boom of the 1990's, but Phillips insists that what many Americans took for symptoms of a new economy were further signs that the United States is about to suffer the same dismal fate as its imperial predecessors.
     Phillips focuses on the similarities between the United States now and the 17th-century Netherlands and early-20th-century Britain. Among other things, he cites ''financialization,'' a preoccupation with success in ''finance, technology and services'' and the neglect of ''basic manufacturing,'' speculation and the recurrence of bubbles and manias (from Dutch tulips to America's dot-coms), the export of capital and jobs, the reliance on foreigners to fill domestic jobs, growing inequality of wealth and income and the ''exposure . . . to war.''
     The trouble is that similar symptoms don't necessarily reflect similarity in causes and conditions: the fact that the British had to enlist ''foreigners to aid or run chemical and electrical industries'' may have been a sign of their imminent decline, but the influx of skilled Asian workers, many of whom have become American citizens, into Silicon Valley during the 1990's has contributed to the United States' economic vitality.
     If you look at the actual causes of decline in the Netherlands and Britain, they do not seem present in the United States today. The Netherlands was felled by European tariffs against its textiles, British discrimination against its ships and its vulnerability to military attack from its neighbors.
     Britain declined in the early 20th century because it lagged behind the United States and Germany in making the transition from owner-operated manufacturing companies to large-scale corporate capitalism. In the late 1980's, it did seem that the United States would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Japan and West Germany, but just as they began to catch up in basic manufacturing, the locus of growth and innovation changed from industrial to postindustrial capitalism -- from hardware to software (much of which is misleadingly labeled services). The United States was better suited for this new phase of capitalism, and has once again pulled ahead of its rivals.
     Phillips could have benefited from a quick glance at the statistics. He writes that ''the United States of 2000 was roughly as distant from its post-1945 peak share of world production as the Britain of 1910-14 had been from her own.''
     The facts are these. In 1950, when Europe and Japan had still not recovered from World War II, the United States accounted for 27 percent of the world's output; 50 years later, with Europe and Japan fully recovered, the United States accounted for 23 percent of the world's output, with America's gross domestic product almost double that of Germany and Japan combined.
     By comparison, Britain in 1914 accounted for only 8.3 percent of the world's G.D.P., with its total already less than half that of the United States. The United States is obviously not without problems -- most notably, the growing economic inequality that Phillips cites -- but its flaws cannot plausibly be attributed to a dynamic of imperial decline.
     In the book's last chapters, Phillips introduces a different cycle of history. With a nod to Will and Ariel Durant and Arthur Schlesinger, he suggests that the United States has alternated between periods of ''wealth laudation'' and ''democracy.'' For the last two decades it has been in the throes of the former and could move still farther toward establishing ''plutocracy by some other name.'' But it could also undergo a Schlesingerian reaction against plutocracy.
     The reaction, Phillips says, could take one of two forms, ''progressive'' or ''radical.'' The progressive reaction would consist of a mobilization like that of Theodore Roosevelt ''against corruption, polarization and market Darwinism,'' reviving America and prolonging its ascendancy atop the pyramid of nations.
     The radical reaction would reflect American decline, recalling the politics of the Dutch Patriot Revolt of the late 18th century or the situation of the British Labor Party after World War II. Dreams of international pre-eminence would be abandoned; ''economic nationalism'' would be stressed.
     Among other things, America would impose ''import duties to recapture the U.S. internal market for domestic producers and workers.''
    Like Phillips's schema of imperial decline, this theory of cycles doesn't entirely fit the facts, especially the facts of the politics of the last decade. Phillips, for instance, puts Theodore Roosevelt's administration squarely in the camp of democracy and progressivism and the Clinton administration in the camp of plutocracy and conservatism. But in fact the two administrations were similar both in what they attempted and what they accomplished.
     Phillips sees the T.R. years as countering ''Gilded Age wealth and income trends.'' He asserts that ''farmers and workers seem to have gained ground between 1900 and 1914.''
     Statistics from the turn of the last century are hard to come by, but one estimate -- cited in George W. Mowry's ''Era of Theodore Roosevelt'' and echoed by other historians -- is that the average real wages of urban workers was lower from 1900 to 1912 than from 1890 to 1900. Corporate consolidation and the destruction of the older craft industries also proceeded apace during the T.R. years. That doesn't mean T.R. wasn't a progressive reformer, only that he was frustrated by underlying economic trends as well as by political opposition.
     Very similar conclusions can be drawn about the Clinton years. Phillips says that ''the top percentiles became richer than ever while the lower portions of the society lost ground.''
     The first part of this statement is correct, but the second isn't. During Clinton's second term, real wages finally began to rise, the result of low unemployment and of Clinton's earned income tax credit. Clinton was certainly not in T.R.'s class as a reformer, but he was by no means a friend of plutocracy. His administration was much more a reaction to than a continuation of Reagan's conservative policies.
     Phillips's division of American politics among plutocrats, progressives and radicals is not altogether mistaken. It's just that the tripartition has been going on since at least 1992 and has been central to every subsequent presidential election.
     The two Bushes and Bob Dole represented, with appropriate reservations, the party of business and the market; Clinton and Gore were, for better or worse, representatives of a new T.R.-style progressivism; and Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot (and to some extent Ralph Nader) represented an angry economic nationalism.
     The terrorist attack of 9/11 has postponed the final resolution, but it will probably occur before the decade is over. Phillips deserves credit for laying out the alternatives, but his analysis is clouded by simplistic models of cyclical change.

    [Editor's Note: John B. Judis is a senior editor of The New Republic and the co-author, with Ruy Teixeira, of ''The Emerging Democratic Majority,'' to be published this summer.] 


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Friday December 13, 2002
Lott's Choice
An American Tragedy
By Howard Hobbs PhD Editor & Publisher

                                                WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Thursday openly denounced Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, for intemperate comments that shocked and may have cost the Republican majority in Congress the goodwill of the nation.
     Bush's censure came as calls for the Mississippi senator to resign his congressional leadership post rang out at the Capitol.
    President Bush angrily told reporters...More! 


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Wednesday, September 4, 2002
World Largest
Online Media Store

Goes On The Block!

By California Star Business Writers

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Bertelsmann AG, Germany's biggest new media firm, said Tuesday it is looking for a buyer for its online book retailer BOL, halting further the decade of the firm's expansion into Internet businesses by former CEO Thomas Middelhoff.
     Company sources revealed, however, it would retain its U.S. online music seller BeMusic as well as its stake in online retailer, but said talks with interested buyers for the sale of BOL were ongoing.
     Patty Smith of declined to comment on media reports of a deal to strengthen markets in Europe.
     Bertelsmann promoted veteran insider Gunter Thielen to replace Middelhoff in July after rejecting his wish to dilute their control by selling shares on the stock market.
     Thielen said Middelhoff's strategy included acquisitions and Internet ventures, and the sake or closing off of unprofitable businesses.``We see the Internet no longer as a business in itself, but rather as part of our core businesses and primarily as a distribution channel,'' he said.
     Bertelsmann is expected to focus on businesses such as RTL, Europe's biggest television company, the U.S. book giant Random House and its BMG music division.
     The company, the only bidder for bankrupt Napster's assets before a U.S. court, wanted to kick-pstart the online music exchange as an industry-approved subscription service. But early this week, a bankruptcy judge in Delaware blocked the Napster's sale.``We accept the court's decision that the sale of Napster's assets to Bertelsmann has been denied and that the purchase will not proceed,'' Koslowski told reporters.
     BOL, which sells books, compact discs and software over the Internet in five European countries as well as China, is part of Bertelsmann's unprofitable DirectGroup retailing and e-commerce division.
     DirectGroup lost $118.5 million in the first half on sales of $1.4 billion, the company said. That was the worst performance among its seven units, which together helped Bertelsmann to lift net profit to $1.6 billion in the first half year period.
     Bertelsmann told reporters it would hold onto the retailer's joint ventures in Italy and China, which are being folded into the international book clubs that Bertelsmann said will be the future hub of DirectGroup's business.
     Thielen last month replaced the head of the unit with chief operating officer, Ewald Walgenbach."If we part with BOL now, it is because of new strategic priorities within DirectGroup,'' he said Tuesday.   
     In an interview on Monday Mr. Thielenannounced Bertelsmann was going ahead with approval for Albert Frere, to sell up to a fourth of the company on the stock market in in the next thre years.


© Copyright 1846-2004 Graphics By The California Star Newspaper.
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Saturday, June 10, 1848

Gold Discovered!
Excitement and enthusiasm of Gold
Washing still continues—increases!
[From the archives of The California Star, Volume I, June 10, 1848]

By Sam Brannan, California Star Editor & Publisher

       SAN FRANCISCO -- The excitement and enthusiasm of Gold Washing still continues - increases. Many of our countrymen are not disposed to do us justice as regards the opinion we have at different times expressed of the employment in which over two thirds of the white population of the country are engaged.
     There appears to have gone abroad a belief that we should raise our voices against what some one has denominated an “infatuation.” We are very far from it, and would invite a calm recapitulation of our articles touching the matter, as in themselves amply satisfactory.
     We shall continue to report the progress of the work, to speak within bounds, and to approve, admonish, or openly censure whatever, in our opinion, may require it at our hands. It is quite unnecessary to remind our readers of the “prospects of California” at this time, as the effects of this gold washing enthusiasm, upon the country, through every branch of business are unmistakably apparent to every one.
     Suffice it that there is no abatement, and that active measures will probably be taken to prevent really serious and alarming consequences. Every seaport as far south as San Diego, and every interior town, and nearly every rancho from the base of the mountains in which the gold has been found, to the Mission of San Luis, south, has become suddenly drained of human beings. Americans, Californians, Indians and Sandwich Islanders, men, women and children, indiscriminately.
     Should there be that success which has repaid the efforts of those employed for the last month, during the present and next, as many are sanguine in their expectations, and we confess to unhesitatingly believe probably, not only will witness the depopulation of every town, the desertion of every rancho, and the desolation of the once promising crops of the country, but it will also draw largely upon adjacent territories—awake Sonora, and call down upon us, despite her Indian battles, a great many of the good people of Oregon.
     There are at this time over one thousand souls busied in washing gold, and the yield per diem may be safely estimated at from fifteen to twenty dollars, each individual.
     We have by every launch from the embarcadera of New Helvetia, returns of enthusiastic gold seekers—heads of families, to effect transportation of their households to the scene of their successful labors, or others, merely returned to more fully equip themselves for a protracted, or perhaps permanent stay.
     Spades, shovels, picks, wooden bowls, Indian baskets (for washing), etc., find ready purchase, and are very frequently disposed of at extortionate prices.
     The gold region, so called, thus far explored, is about one hundred miles in length and twenty in width. These imperfect explorations contribute to establish the certainty of the placera extending much further south, probably three or four hundred miles, as we have before stated, while it is believed to terminate about a league north of the point at which first discovered.
     The probable amount taken from these mountains since the first of May last, we are informed is $100,000, and which is at this time principally in the hands of the mechanical, agricultural and laboring classes.
     There is an area explored, within which a body of 50,000 men can advantageously labor. Without maliciously interfering with each other, then, there need be no cause for contention and discord, where as yet, we are gratified to know, there is harmony and good feeling existing.
     We really hope no unpleasant occurrences will grow out of this enthusiasm, and that our apprehensions may be quieted by continued patience and good will among the washers.


© Copyright 1846-2004 Graphics By The California Star Newspaper.
All rights reserved.

Indian Country
Free Land For The Taking!
By Yosemite News Staff Writers

    YOSEMITE VALLEY -- Two hundred years ago today, the United States, British Canada, Oregon Country, Mexico, the Texas Republic—all encircled a vast and mysterious land, the subject of much speculation and not much careful thought.
     Call it Indian Territory for now, for it contained survivors of the displaced, decimated eastern tribes and the great...More!

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

Hetch Hetchy Power Debacle Continuing Yosemite Threat -- 1898: The private Spring Valley Water Co. has gained monopoly control of water service in San Francisco, but the limited rainfall runoff that feeds its tiny reservoir system can't possibly keep pace with the needs of a growing city. After crossing off 15 alternative sites, Mayor Phelan files in April 1902 for water rights on the Tuolumne River with money from his own pocket...More!
The American Pioneers of the Ship Brooklyn of 1856 -- The Twentieth Century had a close look on Thursday at a historical event which happened 150 years ago in San Francisco Bay. That spot is now a few blocks inland from the Aquatic Park at Hyde Street Pier. An enthusiastic crowd of more than 5,000 were stunned by the sheer power of the simple 4-inch Army shore cannon used to signal the approaching Ship Brooklyn. The Ship Brooklyn answered with its own guns...More!

Flumes Penetrating the Primevil Forests of the Sierra Nevada -- Yearly since 1854, there have been sawmills in the mountains of Fresno County cutting the timber with which nature clothed the western slope of the Sierras. Still there are vast tracts of pine and fir which have yet scarcely heard the sound of the woodsman's ax...More!

Western Wildflower Walks -- The American Nature lover looks forward to this time of year in California. Cars are pulling off the freeways. Drivers step out, and stare unblinkingly at the billions of flowers and blooming shrubs along the Pacific Coast and the Sierra uplands...More!

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