Those Unusual Bereans
Legend tells of Procrustes, the Greek bandit, who forced his victims to lie on a certain bed. If they were shorter than the bed they were stretched to bed length; if too long they were lopped off to fit. Old Procrustes would have uniformity, regardless.
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Equality of opportunity should be granted to all; after that everyone is on his own. No institution can add to or take from the original human stuff the student brings to class with him. After years of observation I am forced to conclude that some persons simply cannot profit from their educational opportunities. Beyond providing them with a few items of information they might not otherwise acquire, a college course does them little good. Their years of enforced study leave them without improved tastes, without perspective and without wisdom. Some persons can gain a good education from life; others cannot manage to become educated by life plus long years in the best institutions of higher learning. Yet our educators continue to apply their Procrustean rules to each new generation, stretching and cutting till they achieve a uniformity Mother Nature obviously never intended.
In the field of religion things are no better. Within the holy precincts of the church Procrustes works on, cutting and tugging till everyone looks, thinks and acts like everyone else. To achieve this he must destroy our originality, make us afraid to be different and persuade us that conformity is synonymous with godliness and nonconformity a sin. And this he does with astonishing success.
Experience proves that uniformity almost always degenerates into mediocrity. It is easier to go down to the contented many than to rise above them; it is easier to memorize than to think through; it is easier to imitate than to initiate. . . .