Dan Mott and Steve Maxwell stopped here Friday night and Saturday. Steve may come to Earlham next year, and Dan is looking into various colleges. They are riding their motorcycles to Florida, hoping to work with the National Park Service. I think they were very wise to not attend college right after Scattergood.
Letter from Stephen Evans 12/22/1970 (excerpts)
This may be a very messy letter; for I am making an attempt to type on my mother’s new (actually old–it is second hand) French typewriter; and the letters are strangely placed. For instance; the semi-colon is where the comma should be and vice versa. The period is a shift of the semi-colon, and the numbers are the shifts of the symbols. Please bear with me.
I am finally at home for Christmas vacation. I tried to write to you immediately after receiving your letter, but various afflictions of academicitis prevented any such action. I did start one (letter), but I left it on my desk and came back to find obscenities scrawled all over it. I think the fellow next door was angry at me for not allowing him to borrow my typewriter. The fellow next door is a perfect example of the effects of prolonged academicitis: miserable; easily irritated, apathetic about everything except purely physiological actions, and generally frustrated in the last respect.
(body of letter continues regarding applying to Haverford College…)
I am looking forward to hearing from you again. Send me a passage from your journal; so I can decide whether or not you are really profound.
“To generalize is to be an idiot, and general knowledge is the knowledge that idiots possess…” –William Blake, which is a generalization if I ever read one.
When I first began writing a journal, my religious outlook was more intellectual than spiritual, I think. I thought that by reasoning you could discern the will of God. I thought a rational, objective argument could be developed for both sides of an issue–but after contemplation, it would become clear which was the right position.
I’ve become more inclined to think in terms of the “leading of the spirit”, recently. One reason is because of the draft issue. You can go round and round with arguments for several positions–though some seem clearly wrong, but in the end, I think the decision is going to have to be a feeling, a leading of the spirit.
I think faith is the willingness to follow leadings before the reasons for the action become clear.
It is much too easy to continue as “normal”, forgetting to examine the assumptions we are living on. Our actions are guided by contemporary trends of the world, be they right or wrong. We must be attuned to God as much as possible, that we might not do injustice without thinking, without feeling, without caring.
Confronted with a difficult situation, we often have trouble making a decision. We have an inkling–probably a strong inkling, of what God’s will is, and yet we are thrown into confusion, either because we are trying to reconcile this inkling with our conflicting, selfish worldly desires, or we are waiting until the reasons behind this inkling, or spirit, become clear. We must throw off our worldliness, and act on the spirit of God; for the reasons will reveal themselves later.
(Note: Evidently I tried to use calculus to symbolize life)