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(Philosophy 10, April 14th, 1954.)

...really want to take the step from the idea to the science, we have to get organized. You have to get an institution. If you want to make theology into the new science, as Ab‚lard and Anselm of Canterbury tried to make it, it isn't im- -- it is impossible to carry it on by personal sacrifice, so to speak, all the time. You have to get organized. And I told you beforehand that the result of their teaching was the universities of the Middle Ages.

And now we shall observe the founding of the three great universities of the Middle Ages for theology, for law, and for medicine. And we shall learn what a university is, which you do not know. There is at this moment no university in the United States in the sense in which universities were created. There are fiveand-ten stores of science, and there are Gimbel's and Macy's, but there are no universities. And you ought to know this, gentlemen. There are, as we shall -- later see, academies, which is something very different. That is, there are research stations in this country. But there are no universities, because the principle of a university was stated by Anselm and Ab‚lard long before there were universities, by their saying that in any one moment there -- the human mind was in process of going excessively beyond the mind so far established.

You remember the story of progress in theology, that a new consciousness of any one new sinner demanded a new, greater, co- -- larger conception of the divine, that we had to exceed our pre-conceptions, that no system of theology therefore could last. It had always to be improved upon.

The second thing Ab‚lard discovered was that there were contradictions in the tradition of the Church. You remember the last thing we tal- -- said before the vacations was that there -- he wrote a book on "Yes" and "No," and said on the one-hand side, the fathers of the Church have said one thing. On the other, they have said the opposite. What is true between the two? By logical reasons, we must deduce what really -- how to reconcile these contradictions.

The university, gentlemen, is the application of these two principles, of a constant excess over the knowledge as it exists. The -- it isn't good enough what we know. We must know better. And the university is then based on a reversal of the ordinary process of thinking. You think, and then you try to improve on your thinking. That's your self-education. But gentlemen, a science can only live if that which is known is replaced by something yet unknown.

The university is based then on two -- on this principle of learned ignorance. {Ducta ignorantia} is the famous term through the whole Middle Ages of the university principle. You are just ignorant. There is no merit in this. And you try to become learned, you see. That is the way of all flesh. But the way of the spirit is the opposite. The way of the spirit, gentlemen, is to be equipped with all the learning Dartmouth College can offer you. And if you want to go into research -- in physics, for example -- to be able to question everything you have learned and lay new foundations for the next generation -- that is, to jump down from the peak of knowledge to the abyss of ignorance -- voluntary ignorance is the secret of research. Voluntary ignorance. And unlifed -- unloved ignorance, an ignorance which makes you suspect, you see, that you are not then a regular fellow.

You don't know the risks of research. The risk of research: that you risk your reputation if you say something that is not in tune with the accepted principles of knowledge. When the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., who at that time, as you know, was even teaching at Dartmouth College, had the bright idea that puerperal fever was infectious, which nobody knew 100 years ago, he was laughed at, and ridiculed. And so he stuck his neck out and he risked his reputation, because according to the scientific standards of his time, this was ridiculous.

That's a typical story of how puerperal fever needed courage to be found for what it was. The ordinary, soft-spoken Mr. Stevens, secretary of war, could never had said so, you see, because it wasn't done. The people whom you adore, who are -- are received into secret and open society, the joiners, the -- people who are appointed to all the -- ambas- -- amba- -- embassies in this country, you see, all our diplomatic representatives -- as soon as -- they are beyond the career diplomats, the -- Mr. -- Mrs. Mesta, as you know. "Call Me Madam." This is your idea of humanity, by and large, for public life. For research, it's the opposite. The man who's not polite, who is tough, and gruesome, and -- and quarrelsome, is probably the man who has the real idea.

You don't believe it. You hate it. That's why no wor- -- scientific progress has ever been made in the United States so far. It's all bought from abroad. Imported. You can't make it, because you want -- people to -- to agree with you, and you want to agree with the people. And if you want to do this, you cannot have progress.

So the {ducta ignorance} allows the fighter, gentlemen, the knight to turn from the weapons of battle to the weapons of the spirit. And the great symbol is the sword of the faith of St. Paul, which at that time in the 12th century became the great symbol of the new scientific progress, the sword of the faith -- of faith, the knighthood of the doctors.

In the Middle Ages, gentlemen, when a man became a doctor, at commencement, he had to take an oath on the open Bible, for example, or the open law book, or the open medicine book -- whatever his doctorate would be -- and he had to say that he would read it. And then the clo- -- book had to be closed. And he had to say that he would ponder over it and doubt it. And then he was given a sword and his knighthood of the doctorate, that he would -- then would swing the truth -- the sword of truth.

There was a total imitation of knighthood for the first form of university life in medieval Europe, because it was felt that this was a crusade, that this was a -- a sublimation or -- how would you say? -- transfiguration of a mental fight, you see. And when you read in the famous poem by Blake, "I shall not cease from mental fight," you remember? Who knows this? "I shall not cease from mental fight"? Well, that's the second national anthem of England. You've never heard of it? They sing it now for the last 30 years, there -- as -- a national anthem. Don't you know this? "Jerusalem," by Blake? Wie?

Do- -- who does not know? Who does know this? Gentlemen, I'm amazed. One person? How does it begin? Have you never heard of the satanic mills? Gee. I thought this -- could -- take it for granted.

Paul, will you kindly bring this poem to class next time?


Ja. It's a great poem, gentlemen. And as I said, every English -- schoolchild knows it by heart. So you better get acquainted with it. And there is this word which you could pick up -- it's quite unusual phrase: "I shall not cease from mental fight." And that's taken from the university of the 12th century. Mental fight was unknown before. There were fights of religion, of faith, of -- but there was no mental fight. That is, no fight in the classroom. The schools were very, you see, tepid affairs, lukewarm -- as your behavior here. You are not in a mental fight. You are in a coma.

The second principle, this is the learned ignorance, the jumping-down, leaping-down into the abyss of a new ignorance in order to get higher the second time, the next time, the dismissal of the prejudices, you see, of the mind. In organized science, that is the way of progress. Very different from -- you think always of evolution, gentlemen. That doesn't exist. Nobody has ever seen evolution, except decay. Evolution is the same as decay. If you have anything long enough, it decays, and that's evolution. Don't be betre- -- betrayed. Evolution always means degeneration.

You have a piece of grass long enough, it has patina. It evolves a patina. And you have city government, and at the end, it's rotten, that's evolution. And then you have to start a revolution to build it up again. That's not ever done by evolution, any reform. Never. But you are -- have perhaps this wonderful Darwinian idea, spread by the -- by the robber barons in the '70s of this -- of the last century in this country, that everything went by revo- -- evolution, so that they could explain their tremendous gains to the people. Th- -- they had to be justified, the injustices that happened.

Gentlemen, there is no evolution in the human universe. There is progress. And progress is done at the risk of abandonment, abandon the old self- -- securities. You cannot have progress without sacrificing safety. You cannot. You wouldn't fly if we had just gone straight -- safe to this day, obviously, you see. Somebody had to try to get up in the air, and many lost their lives in the process.

In a similar way, only by jumping downwards, so to speak, into ignorance, all research jeopardizes -- jeopardizes the knowledge so far attained by questioning it.

The second principle is the principle of a higher logic. The Middle Ages, gentlemen, are far better logicians than people today who boast that they are -- the {border} courses in logic, I think fall very short of their performance -- because they knew that there is not just a logic of the syllogism. That's child's play. The multiplication table of logic, gentlemen, who cares what -- how five times five, I mean. For this, you can have a machine. But higher mathematics, calculus, that's something. Now in a similar way, logic on the higher plane of the Middle Ages -- Middle Ages and their universities was paradoxical.

A paradox means that Socrates is a man, all men are mortals, and Socrates must die; Socrates is a spirit, spirit are immortal, and so Socrates cannot die. That is, so to speak, on this level -- it's an arbitrary example -- the Middle Ages would begin to think. They wouldn't think anything of such a cheap statement that all men are mortals, Socrates is a mortal, therefore Socrates must die. Well, that's taken for granted. That's for children, you see.

But how about the fact that he isn't dead, that he is still alive? And he's dead all at the same time. The thing becomes interesting, because obviously, you have now to distinguish, and you have to make very sure that you understand, you see, in how far he is dead, and how far he is not dead.

If you have contradictory statements, gentlemen, there the university has its meat, has its center of attention. And in America, gentlemen, where you use always common sense, there is no science, no higher logic, because you actually

think that you can find the truth by syllogisms. But gentlemen, obviously you are half-dead and half-alive. If I say that you are alive, have great vitality, I flatter you. If I say that you are sound asleep, I am scolding you. But obviously you are half-asleep and half-alive. That will -- amount probably to the truth. We all are, by the way. God made us sleepy. He doesn't make { } very intelligent.

That is, the paradox, gentlemen -- will you take this down? -- the paradox is the basis of university logic. We do not worry about the first class grammar school logic. That's understood. That's just an explanation of what we say, actually. But the explanation of the fact that we have to make contradictory statements, that's important. I mean, if I say, "Socrates is a mortal," I really only unfold what I have said in the first place, that he's one of the mortal men. The syllogism doesn't amount to any discovery. It's just a restatement of my terms, a defining of my terms. That's what you love.

But gentlemen, the thing only becomes important if anything is at the same time one thing and the other. That's called "dialectics," isn't it? In Marxism. And the Middle Ag- -- medieval people were great dialecticians. They knew that from the point of view of -- of Americans, America is free and Europe is not free. And from the point of Russia, as you know, we are -- they think our freedom is anarchy.

You s- -- talk to a Russian about American freedom, he says, "Yes, it is terrible how the women run around the- -- run around there." That's what they think is our freedom, the obscenity of Hollywood. That's really very -- they think that is freedom. That's dialectics, you see. Their freedom and our freedom are completely contradictory. And both are right. I mean, from their point of view, our freedom is terrible; and from our point of view, their tyranny is terrible. And that's dialectics. That is, there are two truths, and they have to co- -- cohabit. Very difficult.

But life only is there where there is such higher insight into the contradictions of life. We love and we hate. Now the sweetness-and-light school says, "Oh, you always must love," you see. And the belligerent McCarthy say, "Oh, we always must hate." Well, obviously both are not interesting, you see. The gist of the matter is that you must hate evil and the devil, and you must love your neighbor and God as your -- you see, and now you do this, and then you begin to see how difficult it is.

I was told a -- an important story, which may illustrate this, gentlemen. And I think it's -- although it seems to be a side issue, I think it is more practical for your understanding. This country, you see, has no university tradition on political -- on war and peace. And pacificism has ruined the imagination of most of

you to such an extent that you do not carry the virtues of peace into the war. When a man is a soldier in this country, even his chaplain has not the courage or not the imagination to teach him gallantry against the enemy.

I had two friends who were chaplains on Sai-Pan. Did I tell you the story already?




And they saw two naked Japanese lying there, corpses, in the fields. And they stared at them and they went home. And I said to them, as they told me this story, "And you didn't bury them?"

"No, no. We didn't. They were Japanese, after all."

These people call themselves chap- -- chaplains. Well, you don't even understand my disgust with these people. What's the reason for this untold barbarism. You don't even understand that it's barbaric, that -- what they did. They were chaplains. The first thing a man has to do is bury the dead. But you have a book, The Naked and the Dead. Who has read it? Well, of course, it's so obscene. And -- and in this book it is said that an innocent prisoner is shot, and the whole country has not accused this man of high treason, because he has insulted the American army, why? Because it is a true story.

This could never have happened in another army. This -- country is so pacifist that when it comes to war, all the governesses, and all the nice schoolteachers, and all the women's clubs, and all the chaplains, and all the clergymen, and the all the teachers stand by and say, "Well, it doesn't matter. War is so bad, you can't help it, anyway."

And they do not bring the paradox of human existence into the war: that you have to be a gallant soldier, that you have to be a compassionate soldier, and that you are not allowed to shoot a prisoner, or -- or to rape a girl, as a 13-year-old girl in Holland -- as her grandmother told me the other day -- was raped by an American soldier -- an Allied country. An Allied country. And the 13-year-old girl raped by an American soldier. It has never happened by -- in a -- by -- in another army. Why? Because this man had been told, "War is forbidden. War -- you should not go to war." Now he goes to war. He breaks the taboo. So he says, "It doesn't matter. I -- I'm in hell, anyway. War is hell."

I've discussed this with -- with friends, and they say, "War is hell, anyway, so what does it matter?"

What does this mean, gentlemen? That you want to have a school-class logic. Here is war, that's hell. Here is peace, that's Heaven. So in -- in peacetime, we behave. In war, we don't behave. Gentlemen, the higher logic of real grown-up people consists in your being able to be the civilian while you are in uniform, and to be the soldier while you are in civilian clothes. There only life begins. And you are so -- so utterly schizophrenic that you cannot have any paradoxical logic. You deny it. You say it's impossible. You have been told that the only thing that exists is the multiplication table and the syllogism.

Gentlemen, that's for children. Grown-up people know that they love and they hate. They know that there are saints and sinners -- the same person. There are no saints here and sinners there. That's the whole Gospel. That's the Gospel of the remission of sins, that we all are sinners and saints in one person. As long as you do not understand this, you cannot live, not really live. You are the slaves of the situation. Here you are in civilian clothes, and you are sheep. And then you are in uniform, then you are wolves.

Is that -- is that a decision? Is that an order? Is that making a reputation for the United States of America? You have to be both, sheep and wolf, because we are tigers, and lions, and doves, and -- and -- and -- and -- and parrots, and everything. We are everything. This is our paradox. And that's why this army has lost sight of this -- of its -- its true mission, to spread the good name of the civilian America while wearing the uniform. It's no -- it's nothing unnatural about this. It's natural. Man is always more than one thing. He's always two at least.

Gentlemen, this is Ab‚lard's discovery, that the same thing may be true and not true at the same time. Therefore, the great invention of the university captivates, and eternalizes, perpetuates this great discovery, which shows you that the Middle Ages were far in advance mentally from our own times. They were far ahead of you and me in their daily practice of living the paradox, of forgiving the enemy and fighting him at the same time, as occasion arises. You can't do this. You are so primitive.

A university, gentlemen -- take this down in writing -- a university is -- is -- is a place where at the same time opposite truths are taught on the same subject.

(I didn't hear that.)

A university is an institution of learning where, at the same time, on the same topic, opposite opinions are taught to the same student. So from the very first

day, a student of a university is told that two honorable people may very well have to tell opposite opinions on the same -- thing. And if you have 50 opinions on the same subject, you don't have a university. They have to be contradictory. That is, they have to face each other. The man who says, "If this is so, the pope should be superior to the emperor," for example in the Middle Ages would have to be confronted by another teacher who says "the emperor must be beyond the pope." If you have just an opinion which says any -- 50 opinions are no opinions, you see. We have universities, as I said; they are like five-and-ten stores. You can have everything, and that's why you can have nothing.

The truth can only be had in dialectics. One or the other. One or the other. It's like treading water in alternation. In the flood -- in the sea of troubles in which we live, you have to emphasize at one time the one, and at other times the other truth in living -- by living people. And a professor at a university, gentlemen, is a man engaged in the representation of one of two opposite opinions. That's why we always have schools of thought.

And I tried to bring this out in the -- my 9th commandment, teacher -- that all teachers need opposition, that Plato needs Aristotle, that you must not enslave the human mind ever as a teacher by not -- by ignoring the fact that somebody else must also hold the opposite thesis. That's higher logic, gentlemen. It's worth your meditation. And in war and peace, it is -- that's the -- today your task, gentlemen. We must re-found American mental life around a real philosophy, or theology, or religion, or however you call it, a doctrine of war and peace. Or we are lost with the hydrogen bomb. If you do not understand that it is not -- the human mind is always absolute. Reality is never absolute. Our mind is not able to -- ever to think out the whole universe. So we need opposition. We need opponents.

In England, they pay the leader of the opposition for this reason, because the country would go to pieces without an opposition. And this is only the application of the medieval university -- principle. It was unknown in antiquity. There were no parties, you see, not recognized. They became -- they thought it was bad, you see, was faction. We know that it is the -- the heart of life, that our minds are so tyrannical, so absolutist, that the -- mind must be opposed by mind.

It is no merit to have unanimity, gentlemen, in mental cases. The hearts must be united, and the minds must oppose each other. You have the opposite idea. You want always to agree with the other fellow. You have to disagree with the other fellow if you want to live with him. Don't you see this? Your heart must be united, but not your mind. Otherwise you two together will become the worst tyrants of the world, if you are always in agreement, because it will become one prejudice, one big prejudice, your mind.

The minds must be in disagreement. And as soon as you have no opposition, gentlemen, you have no mental life. "I shall not cease from mental fight," as Blake says -- William Blake -- means that the university embodies a discovery of the Christian era, gentlemen.

The last formula today is: as long as human souls remain united, it is vital that the minds shall disagree -- should disagree. This is important, gentlemen, because we discover here the dis- -- distinction between soul and mind. The soul -- who has taken Philosophy 9? You remember we are -- we made this point there, that soul and mind are totally different. Here you discover the practical application. In all the sciences, you need opponents. You need dialectics, you see. One person saying, "This illness comes from this reason," and the other saying the very opposite. And they must not stone each other, but they must invite opposition in the mind. As long as their souls remain united, you see. The soul is one, the heart one. The hearts of man must remain one. The minds must split. It's the opposite from what you do.

Thank you.

Who has not handed in his paper on...