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

“All projects built on the quicksands of false deductions will perish without even leaving behind them material sufficient to reconstruct them.

“It is impossible to combat strongly enough this tendency to self-delusion, which inclines us to become the prey of untruth, by preventing the birth of faith, based on preceding success.

“Sincere conviction, on the contrary, will lead us to refute strongly all the false arguments, which impede thought and would choke it in order to allow unadulterated pleasure to be installed on the ruins of common sense.

“The battle of life demands warriors and conquerors as well as critics, less brilliant, perhaps, but just as worthy of admiration, for their mission is equally important, altho infinitely more obscure.

“Whether he be a peasant tilling his field or a rich capitalist manipulating his gold, he who works in order to satisfy the needs or luxury of his existence is a fighter whose hours are spent in occupations more or less dangerous.

“From time to time, however, a cessation of hostilities is produced; such always follows the appearance of common sense which, by giving to things their true proportions, causes the greater part of inequalities to disappear.

“Finally, he who cultivates this virtue unostentatiously will always be protected from the caprices of fortune; if he is poor, common sense will indicate to him the way to cease to be poor, and, if chance has given him birth in opulence, the counsels of experience will demonstrate to him the frailty of possessions that one has not acquired by personal effort.”

This conclusion is strikingly true, for it is certain that prosperity attained by personal effort is less likely to fade away than an inherited fortune, whose owner can only understand the ordinary pleasure of a possession which he has not ardently desired.

He who is the maker of his own position is more able to maintain it; he knows the price of the efforts which he had to make in order to construct it, and, armed with common sense, he is as able to defend his treasure as to enjoy the sweet savor of a thing which he has desired, longed for, and won by the force of his will and judgment, placed at the service of circumstances and directed toward success.

LESSON XI

COMMON SENSE AND SELF-CONTROL

“Where life manifests itself,” says Yoritomo, “antagonism always springs up.”

“In the eternal struggle between the individual and social soul, each of which, in its turn, is victorious or vanquished, a truce is declared only if self-control is allied to common sense, in order to maintain the equilibrium between individual sentiment, natural to each one of us, and the ideas of mankind as a whole.

“All classes of society are subject to this law, and, from the proudest prince to the humblest peasant, every one is obliged to harmonize their social duties with their personal obligations.

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