||THE HUMANITIES AND ARTS 17 As for philosophy, again in the broadest sense, it is, I suppose, what William James described as "an unusually persistent attempt to think clearly." It is what we do when we are compelled, like the hapless victims of Socrates, to go beyond our casual assumptions and try to answer the query, "Yes, but what do we mean really?" Like poetry and religion, philosophy may raise questions ultimately unanswerable; like them, it may be both a consolation and a criticism of life. In terms of the near horizon, it can do for our world what it can do for any: help us to see ourselves and our times in the perspective of thought, give unity and meaning to what we are and know, and above all, supply the great want of modern education with its ideal of dispassionate neutrality, a sense of values. Some things are better than other things; not all ideas are equal either now or under the aspect of eternity. It is the function of the humanities in general and of philosophy in particular to enable men to sit in judgment within their mortal city. I submit that this is useful. V If we were obliged to choose only three disciplines within the broad field of the humanities, we would be wise, I think, to settle for history, philosophy, and literature. The nature of words â€" sound become meaning and thus the bearer at once of thought and passion â€" explains why literature is for the school the exemplar of the arts. This is a matter of mass availability, not pre-eminence. None would deny to the speech of Brahms or Giotto powers in their own way matching poetry's; none, remembering the names of Goya, Grosz, and Daumier, or the impact of marching music and the unity of song, would deny these powers their pressure on the curve of politics. And through the great mass media â€" radio, the moving picture, and the press â€" art exerts a force statesman and teacher may alike regard with hope, envy, despair, and apprehension. It has become dangerous for a people to be literate, unless they are also educated. All the arts are vehicles of feeling; because they are art, and hence form, they discipline what they express. Let us beware of saying that the arts express feeling only, for they do more. Let us beware also of belittling the range and depth of feeling, its potency for good and evil, and therefore the agents of emotional discipline, discrimination, and control. We may say with Santayana, "All worth leads us back to feeling somewhere," and likewise with Burges Johnson, "Emotional dissipation is more widely practiced than the alcoholic variety and is more harmful to the individual and society in the long run." 14 To distinguish among emotive causes and effects, to choose the sound from the shoddy or sentimental, to know when one has a right to be moved, to extend the range of one's sympathies and perceptions, to be sensitive to whatever things are true and honest and lovely and of good report â€" is quite as important to men and nations as to distinguish among party platforms and foreign policies. Indeed, if one cannot do the first he can scarcely be trusted to do the second. Judgment is impossible without perception, character without a sense of values; and uCampus versus Classroom (New York: Ives Washburn, 1946), p. 268. See the whole discussion, pp. 261-271.