Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 2. March 20, 1946
Assuming that the contributions to "Rostrum" for 1945 are a representative selection, I cannot but feel very keenly how much I have grown out of touch with some currents of thought in the University. Using the writer's own quaint indirectness of phrase, "I would Refer" in particular to an article on the metaphysic of interestingness of Mr. J. Witten-Hannah, to be found on page 28 of the above periodical.
In the midst of a welter of normal prose, "The First Page of my Journal" shines out with short, essential statements, each one of which sends me into a trance of contemplation, an extraordinarily sustained volley of staggering sentences, the culmination, it seems, in the juxtaposition of every term and phrase in the vocabulary of philosophy. One must concede that the writer has crystallised a great deal on to one page of his journal, and it is a source of some regret to me that in this elaborate and considered synthesis I find no significance whatever.
The path I am following is straight and well-defined, and I realize that at some future date I am likely to be the target for a heavy metaphysical barrage from Mr. W. H. and those who publish excerpts from their own similar journals. They will perhaps feel justified in answering that such an article does not impress, influence, or have any meaning for me, because I am not intimately familiar with its heavily charged philosophical jargon. While I am tempted to dismiss this with the scorn which it deserves, I must nevertheless confess that it is their strongest argument, but on the basis of it, Mr. W. H. is surely writing for his own amusement, and his article belongs inside the covers of his journal, or among the dog-eared essays of a last-year's honours class in philosophy. To publish it in "Rostrum" seems to me patent exhibitionism.
In all languages and in every age, the best and truest in literature has resulted from the spontaneous expression of ideas and sentiments conditioned by the times and the particular stage of human development, and that which is precious, academic, and detached has always remained so branded. The significant movement of our time is the world-wide struggle of the masses of the people to whom we belong, against external forces which have hitherto completely dominated our history, a struggle which is finally nearing its climax. I believe it to be the manifest duty of the artist, the writer, and the philosopher to express and interpret this movement, and to identify themselves with the people, who need their guidance. Urged on by this most powerful of all forces, we must follow the strong main current of its development to the end, and leave the clutter of detached intellectuality rotating in its backwaters and eddies.
I therefore dismiss Mr. W.H. feeling that he has voluntarily segregated himself from the battle of his age and that his essay shows him to be wandering in a maze he has created for his own delectation. Further, reading it and evaluating it many times as best I can, I am convinced that, in spite of the studied nonchalance of the title, there are no other pages in his journal.