221 CHRONICLESnvocabulary among those babies as they come into theirnlanguage. We have come through the Shirleys and Scarlets andnJennifers. Next semester’s roll will say what we have come to.nBut their papers will no doubt still be full of “in my opinions,”nour moment of history having so heavily emphasized as if anfundamental truth that, in a society of the autonomous (asnopposed to a community of the dependent), every mind’snopinion has the same validity as any other mind’s.nWhat I then go on to point out to my students is that,nthough they use much the same vocabulary and are restrictednby the assignment to examine precisely the same two texts,neach of the 30-odd papers is unique. Each is, more or lessnprecisely, a revelation of the mind using those common words.nShort of plagiarism, no two papers are the same, though thenproblem each addresses is the same and the evidence to solve itnis the same. Nothing is likely to bring home the point that thisnrange of difference reveals levels of personal accomplishmentnso much as to read aloud a good paper and a bad one. Thenconditions—the limits of the papers—are rather commonlynperceived by the exercise itself Those students who accept onentennis player as superior to another, having accepted the linesnof the court and the rules of play, sometimes begin to see thatnsimilar distinctions are possible even in intellectual “games.”nBut what I am most concerned to reveal to the individualnstudent is that, beyond these dissimilarities in native gifts ofnintellect and habits of diligence, there is a recognizablenpresence of his own mind in the paper. There he may begin tondiscover the limits of his own gift. Since those limits are not yetnarrived at, within the recognition lies incentive and direction tona development, insofar as he will take up the point. Incidentally,nhe notices a conspicuous dissimilarity in the imagery usednby Poe and by Lanier. He sees a common world separatelyntaken through a common language by the two minds. Henbegins to discover the presence of a distinctly discrete mind inncommon language. And at last, if grace allow, he begins tondiscover a collocation of several minds in the words he takes tonbe his very own as he writes his name and date on the paper innexpectation of my judgment of him. There really is, then, ancommunity of minds within the words he has set down, thoughnhe has set them down in such a way that they are as distinctlynhis words as the handwriting is distinctly his.nWe go on from there to talk about the particular presence ofnPoe in his words, of Lanier in his. We may discover, by the endnof the course, that having read a poem identified as by RobertnFrost, one may take up an anonymous poem and discover itnalso written by Frost, or by someone imitating Frost. Individualnpapers identifying accurately Frost as the poet of the anonymousnpoem nevertheless vary considerably in the authoritynwith which each student shows the point, a considerationnwhich makes professional judgment a requirement. One doesnat last have to say that this is an A paper and this is a C paper,neven though each paper may have named the right poet. For, innaddition to the fundamental concern of leading each mind tonoccupy its potential with authority, students’ authority difFers inndegree as does teachers’ authority. As some poems are betternthan others, though all are poems, some minds are better thannothers, though all are minds. Both the teacher and the studentnhave a double responsibility: to the individual mind in itsnpotential; to the community mind in its necessities. What isnconfusing, given our world’s distortions of both judgment andnthe ends suitable to intellect, is a mistaking of moral judgmentnnnas implied in the student’s A or C, a point I shall return to.nOut of such exercise the point will have been made thatnmind is responsible both to and for words — it leaves marks onnthe words it uses for good or ill. In judging and in signing one’snjudgment, the only moral danger to the student lies in his notndiscovering and accepting and working with the gifts that makenhim a discrete person. It is not easy to bring a student toncelebrate his C in these days, when most have unexamined A’snand B’s, anymore than it is easy to be certain beyond hesitationnthat one’s own judgment as teacher in these matters isnvalid. One professes with a constantly justified—that is, reexamined—authority,nbut one must profess. And the inescapablenground of profession is a confidence that words wellnspent reveal the educated mind: that is, an active mindnengaging active minds is the context of any labor suitably calledn”education.”nThe importance of such student exercises in my view, then,nis to make clear to the growing student mind the importance ofnseeing and identifying and judging the various fingerprints thatncling to this coin of the realm, that cling to words. To do so is tondiscover the multiplying presences that gather in words, thenminds in one’s words as potentially infinite as angels on a pinnhead. For here we are on the border of a mystery in words: Innthe words lies the focus of community, a community independentnof time and inhabiting the house of language. In wordsnare such presences that in a very real and not fanciful way wenbecome members of a company of minds. And here I meanncompany, not in its commercial sense, but in that sense wenmean when we announce to our household, “company isncoming.” There follows from such an announcement ancleaning and ordering of the house so that we may receive thatncompany. That is what significant education must be mostnconcerned with, the cleaning and ordering of the head andnheart, into which place may come a various company indeed.nHomer and Plato; Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein; thenSaturday politician and the Sunday priest. The list of invitednand uninvited guests goes on and on. Among the marvels isnthat any invited guest happily attends. The danger is thatnuninvited guests may. And in a disorderly house, the disorderlynguest is safest from detection.nIn either instance, then, the authority is, and it shouldnproperly be, that of the host or hostess of heart and mind, thenparticular consciousness issuing invitations or leaving the doornajar for the surreptitious interloper. If we, through neglect ofnour own house, make it equally available to whatever guestnwould enter, many strange and curious presences will attend,nsome settling down to a parasitic existence which if unnoticednand uncorrected may eventually dislodge the host. For thoughnideas have consequences and enter mind through words andnare sent forth from the mind in words to wander in the world,nthose consequences may be either good or bad. For there arenbad and good ideas no less than good and bad intentions. Thenconsequences are upon the life of the individual mind andnsubsequently upon the community of mind. Even welcomednguests may bring unwelcomed ideas into the mind. That is anpoint I make by caveat against Plato’s argument of theninevitable good to the particular soul from its education, and itnreturns us to our confusion of a well-ordered intellect asncertifying moral virtue. The enlightened mind, our Platonseems to believe, must be consequently a good mind, and evil anmatter of ignorance rather than of willfulness.n