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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 89 pages of information about Common Sense, How to Exercise It.

“Common sense” he assures us, “is the wisest physician whom it is possible to consult.

“If we followed its advice, we should avoid the thousand and one little annoyances of illnesses caused by imprudence.

“The choice of clothing would be regulated according to the existing temperature.

“One would avoid the passing at once from extreme heat to extreme cold.

“One would never proffer this stupid reflection:  Bah!  I shall take care of myself, which impudent people declare when exposing themselves carelessly to take cold.

“We should understand that disease is a cause of unparalleled disorder and discord.

“In addition to the thought of possible sufferings, that of grief for those whom we love, joined to the apprehension of a cessation of social functions, on whose achievement depends our fortune, would suffice to eliminate all idea of imprudence, if we had the habit of allowing common sense to participate in all our actions of daily life.

“To those who walk under its guidance; it manifests itself without ceasing; it dominates all actions without their being compelled to separate themselves from it.

“It is unconsciously that they appeal to common sense and they have no need of making an effort to follow its laws.

“Common sense is the intelligence of instinct.”

LESSON VII

POWER OF DEDUCTION

Before entering the path which relates directly to the intellectual efforts concerning the acquisition of common sense, the Shogun calls our attention to the power of deduction.

“It is only,” said he, “where we are sufficiently permeated with all the principles of judgment that we shall be able to think of acquiring this quality, so necessary to the harmony of life.

“The most important of all the mental operations which ought to be practised by him who desires common sense to reign supreme in all his actions and decisions, is incontestably deduction.

“When the union of ideas, which judgment permits, is made with perception and exactness, there results always an analysis, which, if practised frequently, will end by becoming almost a mechanical act.

“It is, however, well to study the phases of this analysis, in order to organize them methodically first.

“Later, when the mind shall be sufficiently drilled in this kind of gymnastics, all their movements will be repeated in an almost unconscious way, and deduction, that essential principle of common sense, will be self-imposed.

“In order that deductions may be a natural development, the element relating to those which should be the object of judgment should be grouped first.

“The association of statements is an excellent method for it introduces into thought the existence of productive agents.

“We have already spoken of the grouping of thoughts, which is a more synthetical form of that selection.

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