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Entered as second-class matter Oct. 4, 1922, at the Post Office at Floral Park, N. Y., under act of March 3, 1879. Copyright, 1926, The Reader's Digest Association.
Condensed from Collier's, The National Weekly (May 29, '26)
An Interview with Dr. Charles W. Eliot, by John B. Kennedy
R. CHARLES W. ELIOT, president emeritus of Harvard University, the accepted oracle of his country, looks at the world in his 92nd year and from a vista of four generations of distinguished service sees a prospect more promising than ever for the youth of America.
"If I had the opportunity to say a final word to all the young people of America, it would be this: Don't think too much about yourselves. Try to cultivate the habit of thinking of others; this will reward you. Nourish your minds by good reading, constant reading. Discover what your life work is, work in which you can be happiest. Be unafraid in all things when you know you are in the right. "America must cling to ideals and promote them. Selfishness is no less fatal to national than to individual fulfillment.
"The minute you begin to think of yourself only you are in a bad way. You cannot develop because you are choking the source of development, which is spiritual expansion through thought for others.
"And so with the nation. If we remain in purse-proud isolation we may be secure, but that security will be purchased at the cost of our souls. America must take the responsibility
vested in her nature and be a partner,
not a patron, of all the world.
"Selfishness always brings its own revenge. It cannot be escaped.
"Be unselfish. That is the first and final commandment for those who would be useful, and happy in their usefulness.
"Have no fear for the future. It will take care of itself if we take care of ourselves.
"Too much has been written and talked about the willfulness and wildness of young Americans. I have seen children grow into men and women during four generations. The manners of our youth today are queer, but their morals are no worse than those of their predecessors.
"The freer condition of women politically and in the field of livelihoodearning has brought about social change. I see nothing to regret in that unless it be that American women are getting away from motherhood.
"Our high standard of living, with its impulse to continuous pleasureseeking, carries a penalty. It forces on life rigid economic regulation; it tends to put selfishness at a premium.
"This standard has been steadily improved for working people. The days are happily gone when American workmen received a dollar a day and