“The philosopher profited by this fact to disarm their excitement, and, little by little, all the time indulging in a thousand eccentricities, which had no other object than to protect himself against them, he demonstrated their aberration to them.”
Could not this story serve as an example to the majority of contemporary critics?
Is it not often necessary to appear to be denuded of common sense, to make the voice of reason dominate?
In the fable of Yoritomo, his philosopher proved his profound knowledge of the human heart, while he put in practise the power of practical sense in apparent opposition, however, to common sense.
We said this at the opening of the chapter: practical sense and common sense are two very near relatives, but they are two and not one.
THE MOST THOROUGH BUSINESS MAN
One of the principle advantages of common sense is that it protects the man who is gifted with it from hazardous enterprises, the risky character of which he scents.
Only to risk when possessing perfect knowledge of a subject is the sure means of never being drawn into a transaction by illusory hopes.
An exact conception of things is more indispensable to perfect success than a thousand other more brilliant but less substantial gifts.
“However,” says Yoritomo, “in order to make success our own, it is not sufficient to have the knowledge of things, one must above all know oneself.
“On the great world-stage, each one occupies a place which at the start may not always be in the first rank.
“Nevertheless, work, intelligence, directness of thought and, above all, common sense, can exert a positive influence on the future superiority of the situation.
“Before everything else, it is indispensable that we should never delude ourselves about the position which we occupy.
“To define it exactly, one should call to mind the wise adage which says: Know thyself.
“But this knowledge is rare.
“Presumptuous persons readily imagine that they attract the eyes of every one, even if they be in the last rank.
“Timid persons will hide themselves behind others and, notwithstanding, they are very much aggrieved not to be seen.
“Ambitious persons push away the troublesome ones, in order that they themselves may get the first places.
“Lazy persons just let them do it.
“Irresolute persons hesitate before sitting down in vacant places and are consumed with regrets from the time they perceive that others, better prepared, take possession of them; the more so as they no longer get back their own, for, during their hesitation, another has seated, himself there.
“Enthusiasts fight to reach the first rank, but are so fatigued by their violent struggles that they fall, tired out, before they have attained their object.