Common Sense, How to Exercise It eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Common Sense, How to Exercise It.

“In this case we must act like a man who must determine the color of a material at a distance where the tiny designs stand out in a relief of white on a background of black.

“Suppose that he is placed at a distance too great to perceive this detail.

“What should he do to be able to give the best possible description?

“He will proceed by elimination.

“The material is neither red nor green; orange and violet must be set aside, as well as all the subordinate shades.

“It has a dull appearance, hence, it is gray; unless....  And here mental activity comes into play and will suggest to him that gray is composed of black and white.

“He will then be sure to form a judgment which will not be spoiled by falsity, if he declares that the material is a mixture of black and white.

“Later, by drawing nearer, he will be able to analyze the designs and to convince himself of their respective form and color, but by deducing that the material was made up of the mixture of two colors he will have come as near as possible to the truth: 

“Deduction never prejudges; it is based on facts; only on things accomplished; it unfolds the teaching that we ought to obtain as a result.”

Again the Shogun recommends to us the union of thoughts and the continuous examination of past incidents in the practise of deductions.

“If on entering a room,” said he, “we are at times confused, it happens also that we correct this impression after a more attentive examination.

“The gilding is of inferior quality; the materials are of cotton, the paintings ordinary, and the mattings coarse.

“At first sight we should have deduced, judging from appearances, that the possessor of this house was a very rich man, but a second examination will cause us to discover embarrassment and anxiety.

“It is the same with all decisions that we must make.

“Before devoting ourselves to deductions inspired by the general aspect of things, it is well to examine them one by one and to discover their defects or recognize their good qualities.

“We shall be able thus to acquire that penetration of mind whose development, by leading us toward wise deductions, will bring us to the discovery of the truth.”



Common Sense is a science, whatever may be said; according to Yoritomo, it does not blossom naturally in the minds of men; it demands cultivation, and the art of reasoning is acquired like all the faculties which go to make up moral equilibrium.

“This quality,” said the philosopher, “is obscure and intangible, like the air we breathe.

“Like the air we breathe, it is necessary to our existence, it surrounds us, envelops us, and is indispensable to the harmony of our mental life.

“To acquire this precious gift, many conditions are obligatory, the principle ones being: 

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Common Sense, How to Exercise It from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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