COMMON SENSE, HOW TO EXERCISE IT ***
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THE MENTAL EFFICIENCY SERIES
COMMON SENSE HOW TO EXERCISE IT
ANNOTATED BY: B. DANGENNES
TRANSLATED BY: MME. LEON J. BERTHELOT DE LA BOILEVEBIB
The quality popularly designated as "Common Sense" comprehends, according to the modern point of view, the sound judgment of mankind when reflecting upon problems of truth and conduct without bias from logical subtleties or selfish interests. It is one of Nature's priceless gifts; an income in itself, it is as valuable as its application is rare.
How often we hear the expression "Why, I never thought of that!" Why? Because we have failed to exercise Common Sense--that genius of mankind, which, when properly directed is the one attribute that will carry man and his kind successfully through the perplexities of life. Common Sense is as a plant of delicate growth, in need of careful training and continued watching so that it may bear fruit at all seasons. In the teachings that follow, the venerable Shogun, Yoritomo-Tashi, points out that Common Sense is a composite product consisting of (1) Perception; (2) Memory; (3) Thought; (4) Alertness; (5) Deduction; (6) Foresight; (7) Reason, and (8) Judgment. Discussing each of these separately, he indicates their relations and how they may be successfully employed. Further, he warns one against the dangers that lurk in moral inertia, indifference, sentimentality, egotism, etc.
Common Sense is a quality that must be developed if it is to be utilized to the full of its practical value. Indispensable to this development are such qualifications--(1) Ability to grasp situations; (2) Ability to concentrate the mind; (3) Keenness of perception; (4) Exercise of the reasoning power; (5) Power of approximation; (6) Calmness; (7) Self-control, etc. Once mastered, these qualifications enable one to reap the reward of a fine and an exalted sense, and of a practical common sense which sees things as they are and does things as they should be done.
The desire for knowledge, like the thirst for wealth, increases by acquisition, but as Bishop Lee has told us, "Knowledge without common sense is folly; without method it is waste; without kindness it is fanaticism; without religion it is death." But, Dean Farrar added: "With common sense, it is wisdom; with method it is power; with charity beneficence; with religion it is virtue, life, and peace."
In these pages, Yoritomo-Tashi teaches his readers how to overcome such defects of the understanding as may beset them. He shows them how to acquire and develop common sense and practical sense, how to apply them in their daily lives, and how to utilize them profitably in the business world.
To him common sense is the crown of all faculties. Exercised vigilantly, it leads to progress and prosperity, therefore, says he "enthusiasm is as brittle as crystal, but common sense is durable as brass."
Why should I hesitate to express the pleasure I felt on learning that the public, already deeply interested in the teachings of Yoritomo-Tashi, desired to be made familiar with them in a new form?
This knowledge meant many interesting and pleasant hours of work in prospect for me, recalling the time passed in an atmosphere of that peace which gives birth to vibrations of healthful thoughts whose radiance vitalizes the soul.
It was also with a zeal, intensified by memories of the little deserted room in the provincial museum, where silence alone could lend rhythm to meditation, that I turned over again and again the leaves of those precious manuscripts, translating the opinions of him whose keen and ornate psychology we have so often enjoyed together.
It was with the enthusiastic attention of the disciple that once more I scanned the pages, where the broadest and most humane compassion allies itself with those splendid virtues: energy, will and reason.
For altho Yoritomo glorifies the will and energy under all their aspects, he knows also how to find, in his heart, that tenderness which transforms these forces, occasionally somewhat brutal, into powers for good, whose presence are always an indication of favorable results.
He knows how to clothe his teachings in fable and appealing legend, and his exotic soul, so near and yet so far, reminds one of a flower, whose familiar aspect is transmuted into rare perfume.
By him the sternest questions are stripped of their hostile aspects and present themselves in the alluring form of the simplest allegories of striking poetic intensity.