JUNE 19, 1952
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Max Lerner, in his newspaper column published Tuesday, bid goodbye to the graduating students at Brandeis University, where he is an instructor. At the end of the piece he had some interesting words of wisdom. He said: "I think what has happened to the college students of today is that they have seen so many dreams collapsing and so many wounds inflicted on the sensitive, that they have drawn a protective sheath around themselves. Who can blame them for a kind of animal wisdom that this shows? But they will learn in time that while people who try to light fires often get burned, they also with their blaze dispel some of the darkness."
Of course, in this world, if you love much you probably will be hurt much. But in the end you will be glad that you really knew love. If you believe in the great and the good, you often will be disillusioned and disappointed, but in the end you will know that it was better to have beliefs and convictions and fight for them.
You will find yourself, over and over again, up against situations that you don't seem able to understand, and where the answers to problems continue to elude you no matter how much effort and thought you bring to their solution. But with each effort you will grow, and in the end you will realize that while not all problems have solutions the effort to solve them may be the thing that gives you the quality of mind and heart to attract the people who may solve the unsolvable and help you to greater understanding.
Two days in succession of wearing academic robes is quite an ordeal.
On Tuesday afternoon I attended the commencement exercises at Yeshiva University and received an honorary degree. This university has great plans for growth. Next year they hope to start their medical college and, like Brandeis University, they will accept students regardless of race or creed.
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I saw "Mrs. McThing" for the second time, on Tuesday evening, with a young lady of my acquaintance. And I enjoyed it almost more the second time through the eyes and ears of this youngster. I love the scene when the conspiring group marches off the stage at the end of the first scene of the second act, and the last scene in the play is my favorite scene of all.
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Yesterday was quite the warmest and muggiest day we have had and everybody I met was fairly drenched in perspiration. I suppose it is not unusual to have a little heat at this season, but it seems to me more like July than middle June. And I do not look forward to my trip to Washington next week where it will be far hotter than it is here.
Though I haven't freed myself of a number of engagements as yet, still I have a certain sense of freedom because I do not have to wend my way to the United Nations building at a certain hour each morning and stay there until 6 p.m.
I hope, therefore, to find myself slowly freed from engagements and able to finish some work I have on hand before I begin my summer vacation.