The second method of learning a science, therefore, is to take advantage of all that has been done and, instead of beginning with facts and working up to principles, begin with principles and work down to a practical application amongst facts.
There are many ways of learning principles. One may memorize them from books, or have them set forth and explained by an instructor or lecturer, or stumble upon them in general reading, or work out a series of carefully prescribed experiments in a laboratory, leading up to an enunciation of the principles or, through its intelligent application in the world of work, establish it in one’s consciousness.
The student who learns his laws and principles out of books may have a very clear and definite understanding of them. He may be able to add to them or to teach them. But he has little skill in their practical application as compared with the student who learns them in a laboratory. Furthermore, the laboratory student is at a disadvantage, probably, as compared with the man who makes intelligent application of the laws and principles to his daily work. So well recognized by educators is this truth that no attempt is made in our colleges and universities and, for the most part, even in our high schools, to teach sciences involving observation, logical reasoning and sound judgment purely out of books. Medicine, surgery, agriculture, horticulture, mechanics and other such sciences are now taught almost entirely by a combination of text books and actual practice. This rule also applies to the science of character analysis.
The first step in the mastery and practical use of the science of character analysis is to learn the principles and the laws which underlie them. These principles and laws are comparatively few in number and comparatively simple. They are all classified under and grouped around the nine fundamental variables, a list of which was given in the preceding chapter.