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Unintelligent, impractical, and unself-reliant men proudly announce their possession of a degree. The worship of degrees often makes me laugh. An education which mistakes books for facts, words for things, and talk for action has produced individuals who over-value degrees and under-value life. I have met too many academic nonentities to be much impressed by an academic qualification. I do not have to have a diploma. There is no academic or professional post which I would accept were it to be offered me. I am in a position where I do not need the honours or even the emoluments which the world can give. I cherish my independence and freedom. I do not share the superficial joy of the typical hunter of academic distinctions any more than I share the infantile elation of the average climber in the social pyramid. My heart is elsewhere and my head is otherwise occupied. With mystical knowledge and experience of an unusual character already in my possession, with an assured place in world literature, there was no need from the point of view of personal advantage to trouble to secure a scholastic honour. Nevertheless I know that while conventional society believes and accepts such values, I can use them for the advancement of true ideas where I would not lift a finger to use them for the advancement of P.B. This is sufficient justification for not discarding the title derived from the college degree which I hold. I sought and obtained this degree for one reason alone and that was for the benefit of the backing of such a weighty academic honour as a Ph.D. For then people will think that the man who holds it has some brains at least and that if he takes up the teachings there may be something worthwhile in them after all. This is quite apart from, and has nothing to do with, the fact that the possession of this degree is an indication to the reading public that I have at least the mental equipment properly to handle the subject of philosophy. And this indication remains and is even strengthened by the further fact that it was granted not on the basis of examination, but partly on a philosophical thesis submitted which was judged as showing capacity for original research and as making a contribution toward existing knowledge and partly in recognition of distinguished service to the cause of Oriental research. And I became a candidate specifically for a doctorate of philosophy because this would be a recognition of attainment in the field wherewith my future publications would be most concerned.


-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 6: The Profane and The Profound > # 216






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