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Brains. (Lecture.)

For ages, men and women have been trying to get food, clothing and shelter without the aid of brains. They have not been even moderately successful. Here and there a man has awakened to the realization that KNOWING HOW to do things and get things is an element of tremendous power. If it is worthwhile to live at all, it is worthwhile to live well, to live nobly, to live happily.

Man is something more than a bundle of instincts and impulses. He has intelligence; he has the capacity to think. Most men do not use this capacity. They trust to luck. They pin their faith to the magic of a rabbit's foot, a horse chestnut or some other charm, and turn their "think tank" into a cold storage room.

Reader, what are you doing? Have you ever taken an inventory of your brain resources, have you ever taken an inventory of the resources of this great round world? Or have you been taking a long Rip Van Winkle sleep.

The call for brains, enriched brains, educated brains, has gone out throughout the world, in this, the beginning of the greatest century. Do you want wealth, do you want position, do you want power? If you have brains, two seeing eyes, two hearing ears and two willing hands, you can have what you WANT. Behold the world's natural resources! These are your natural resources, your raw materials lying about loose in the earth. They are so much junk, worthless until transformed by the creative hand of intelligence.

Not one man in a thousand ever discovers the riches buried in his own brains. Confidentially, most people have brains, but they are not using them. They have left their own brain farms and gone out into the highways and byways, slaves to the intelligence of those who they call bosses, the few owners of the earth.

On every crossroad, on every street, throngs of youth cry out that opportunity is for sons and daughters of the rich. They recount to every passerby their own disadvantages, and they cling tenaciously to their own delusions. To tell the truth bluntly, their so-called disadvantages are advantages. How frequently the rich man tries to awaken his son by saying to him: "If I had only your advantages, what wouldn't I have accomplished as a young man!" This is not true. With his son's unearned spending money, with his son's fine clothes, with his son's spendthrift associates he, too, would have been a cipher, a nothing.

Young man, young woman, this is the hour when the great, busy, hustling world calls for brains, educated brains, self-directing brains. School calling to you, offers you the key to the world's greatest treasure house. Every robust boy and girl who hungers and thirsts for knowledge and power can hear the call.

All the great institutions of learning should be taxed beyond their capacity. In every human vocation the call rings out for men and women whose brains and hands are trained for service.

Wake up, father and mothers; wake up young men and young women, and use your own brains. Quit working on shares, and work of yourselves. You are never too old to DO something and BE something. The flower and fruit of every age is man, master of his own mental resources; man master of the world's resources; man realizing all of his best possibilities; man, fulfilling his divine mission.

Source: Newton, Roy, editor. Life and Works of Woodbridge N. Ferris. (Big Rapids, Michigan: n.p., 1960), 222-224.