Blog Genevieve Stebbins Norman Astley

The Quest of the Spirit, by A Pilgrim of the Way

This book was published in 1913 simultaneously in New York by Edgar S. Werner and in London by Henry J. Glaisher.  Genevieve Stebbins is listed as editor and arranger, and in an editorial note writes that the book is less than one quarter of the full manuscript she was given by a longtime friend.  Here are passages that struck me as especially interesting:

A careful survey of ancient philosophy from Plato and Aristotle to the Summa of St. Thomas of Aquinas and (together with the more important recent writers), the modern school from Berkeley to Hegel, convinces us beyond the peradventure of a doubt that a true philosophy of life is the work of the future, in which the great philosophical systems of the past will form but  a very subordinate part of the structure.  We are convinced that the chief foundation-stones will be discovered in the works of Eucken, Bergson, and James. (p. 32)

Warned therefore by the failures of the past, we shall attempt the building of no system of thought.  Admonished by the vagaries of intellectual speculation, when based upon the nonexistent, we shall ever rest upon the foundations of experience.  Chastened in mind by the fantastic creations of an unbridled imagination, we shall conjure up no enchanted image of a final solution; but, keeping in view the finiteness of the self, and the infinity of the world, unbiased, enter upon the quest.  With a humble and contrite heart, we begin the journey as pilgrims of  “The Way.”(p. 40)