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Common Sense, How to Exercise It eBook

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

“In the one case, as in the other, it ought not to excite anxiety any longer, but contempt or the desire to fight it.

“For those whose mind is not yet strong enough to resolve on one or other of these decisions it will be well to take up again the argument indicated in the preceding pages, and to say: 

“Either the object of my fear really exists, and, in this case, I must determine its nature exactly, in order to use the proper means first to combat it and then to conquer it.

“Or it is only an illusion, and I am going to seek actively for that which produces it, in order never again to fall into the error of which my senses have just been the dupes.”

Looking over these manuscripts, so rich in valuable advice, we find once more the following lines: 

“Self-control and cool-headedness are above all necessary to aid in dissimulating impressions.

“It is very bad to allow one of the speakers in a dialog to read the mind of him who speaks to him like an open book.

“He whose thoughts are imprest vividly on the surface is always placed at a glaring disadvantage.

“The thought of glorifying hypocrisy is far from our minds, for it has nothing to do with the attitude which we recommend.

“The hypocrite strives to assume emotions which he does not feel.

“The man gifted with cool-headedness is intent on never allowing them to be seen.

“It keeps his adversary in ignorance of the effect produced by his reasoning and allows him to take his chance, until the moment when, in spite of this feigned indifference, he reveals himself and permits his mind to be seen.

“Now, to know the designs of a rival, when he is ignorant of those that we have conceived, is one of the essential factors of success.

“In every way, he who is informed about the projects of his adversary walks preceded by a torch of light, while the adversary, if he can not divine his opponent’s plans, continues to fight in darkness.”

The most elementary common sense counsels then cool-headedness when exchanging ideas, even when the discussion is of quite an amicable nature.

From this habit there will result a very praiseworthy propensity to exercise self-control, which is only a sort of superior cool-headedness.

It is also the cause of a noble pride, because it is more difficult to win a victory over one’s passions than to conquer ordinary enemies, and he who, with the support of common sense, succeeds in ruling himself, can calculate, without arrogance, the hour when he will reign over the minds of others.

LESSON XII

COMMON SENSE DOES NOT EXCLUDE GREAT ASPIRATIONS

“A very common error,” says Yoritomo, “is that which consists in classifying common sense among the amorphous virtues, only applicable to things and to people whose fundamental principle is materiality.

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