chapter
30 Pages

A Philosophic Mind in the Making

IT is difficult to decide with what age an intellectual autobiography should begin. As the twig is bent so the tree grows and mental habits and directions of interest acquired at a very early age distinctively condition later development. My father and mother were omnivorous readers and both delighted in reading aloud, so that before the age of twelve I was familiar with far more literature than is generally required for college entrance, an overweighted portion of it poetry. They had something of a passion for complete editions. To read Scott, Dickens, Carlisle, or Macaulay meant to read their complete works. This "all or none" law of reading got its hold on me early and is still manifest in my behaviour, for I am still distinctly uncomfortable when I have to read some but not all of a philosopher's writings and frequently prefer to read none when time forbids reading all rather than face the mental uneasiness omissions entail.