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The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer
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Order books by and about Robert Ingersoll now.

Word On Education

Robert Green Ingersoll


                     A WORD ABOUT EDUCATION.

                              1891

     The end of life -- the object of life -- is happiness. Nothing
can be better than that -- nothing higher. In order to be really
happy, man must be in harmony with his surroundings, with the
conditions of well-being. In order to know these surroundings, he
must be educated, and education is of value only as it contributes

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               14

                     A WORD ABOUT EDUCATION.

to the well-being of man, and only that is education which
increases the power of man to gratify his real wants -- wants of
body and of mind.

     The educated man knows the necessity of finding out the facts
in nature, the relations between himself and his fellow-men,
between himself and the world, to the end that he may take
advantage of these facts and relations for the benefit of himself
and others. He knows that a man may understand Latin and Greek,
Hebrew and Sanscrit, and be as ignorant of the great facts and
forces in nature as a native of Central Africa.

     The educated man knows something that he can use, not only for
the benefit of himself, but for the benefit of others. Every
skilled mechanic, every good farmer, every man who knows some of
the real facts in nature that touch him, is to that extent an
educated man. The skilled mechanic and the intelligent farmer may
not be what we call "scholars," and what we call scholars may not
be educated men.

     Man is in constant need. He must protect himself from cold and
heat, from sun and storm. He needs food and raiment for the body,
and he needs what we call art for the development and gratification
of his brain. Beginning with what are called the necessaries of
life, he rises to what are known as the luxuries, and the luxuries
become necessaries, and above luxuries he rises to the highest
wants of the soul.

     The man who is fitted to take care of himself, in the
conditions he may be placed, is, in a very important sense, an
educated man. The savage who understands the habits of animals, who
is a good hunter and fisher, is a man of education, taking into
consideration his circumstances. The graduate of a university who
cannot take care of himself -- no matter how much he may have
studied -- is not an educated man.

     In our time, an educated man, whether a mechanic, a farmer, or
one who follows a profession, should know something about what the
world has discovered. He should have an idea of the outlines of the
sciences. He should have read a little, at least, of the best that
has been written. He should know something of mechanics, a little
about politics, commerce, and metaphysics; and in addition to all
this, he should know how to make something. His hands should be
educated, so that he can, if necessary, supply his own wants by
supplying the wants of others.

     There are mental misers -- men who gather learning all their
lives and keep it to themselves. They are worse than hoarders of
gold, because when they die their learning dies with them, while
the metal miser is compelled to leave his gold for others.

     The first duty of man is to support himself -- to see to it
that he does not become a burden. His next duty is to help others
if he has a surplus, and if he really believes they deserve to be
helped.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               15

                     A WORD ABOUT EDUCATION.

     It is not necessary to have what is called a university
education in order to be useful or to be happy, any more than it is
necessary to be rich, to be happy. Great wealth is a great burden,
and to have more than you can use, is to care for more than you
want. The happiest are those who are prosperous, and who by
reasonable endeavor can supply their reasonable wants and have a
little surplus year by year for the winter of their lives.

     So, it is no use to learn thousands and thousands of useless
facts, or to fill the brain with unspoken tongues. This is
burdening yourself with more than you can use. The best way is to
learn the useful.

     We all know that men in moderate circumstances can have just
as comfortable houses as the richest, just as comfortable clothing,
just as good food. They can see just as fine paintings, just as
marvelous statues, and they can hear just as good music: They can
attend the same theaters and the same operas. They can enjoy the
same sunshine, and above all, can love and be loved just as well as
kings and millionaires.

     So the conclusion of the whole matter is, that he is educated
who knows how to take care of himself; and that the happy man is
the successful man, and that it is only a burden to have more than
you want, or to learn those things that you cannot use.

          The High School Register. Omaha, Nebraska, January, 1891.

                          ****     ****

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and information for today. If you have such books please contact
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                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               16

Bank of Wisdom

The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.

Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201

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The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer
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