When reading his works, one recalls unconsciously the orations of the ancient philosophers, delivered in those dazzling gardens, luxuriant in sunlight and fragrant with flowers.
In this far-away past, one sees also the silhouette of a majestic figure, whose school of philosophy became a religion, which interested the world because it spoke both of love and goodness.
But in spite of this fact, the doctrines of Yoritomo are of an imaginative type. His kingdom belongs to this world, and his theories seek less the joys of the hereafter than of that tangible happiness which is found in the realization of the manly virtues and in that effort to create perfect harmony from which flows perfect peace.
He takes us by the hand, in order to lead us to the center of that Eden of Knowledge where we have already discovered the art of persuasion, and that art, most difficult of all to acquire--the mastery of timidity.
Following him, we shall penetrate once more this Eden, that we may study with Yoritomo the manner of acquiring this art--somewhat unattractive perhaps but essentially primordial--called Common Sense.
I. Common Sense: What Is It?
II. The Fight Against Illusion
III. The Development of the Reasoning Power
IV. Common Sense and Impulse
V. The Dangers of Sentimentality
VI. The Utility of Common Sense in Daily Life
VII. Power of Deduction
VIII. How to Acquire Common Sense
IX. Common Sense and Action
X. The Most Thorough Business Man
XI. Common Sense and Self-Control
XII. Common Sense Does Not Exclude Great Aspirations
COMMON SENSE: WHAT IS IT?
One beautiful evening, Yoritomo-Tashi was strolling in the gardens of his master, Lang-Ho, listening to the wise counsels which he knew so well how to give in all attractiveness of allegory, when, suddenly, he paused to describe a part of the land where the gardener's industry was less apparent.
Here parasitic plants had, by means of their tendrils, crept up the shrubbery and stifled the greater part of its flowers.
Only a few of them reached the center of the crowded bunches of the grain stalks and of the trailing vines that interlaced the tiny bands which held them against the wall.
One plant alone, of somber blossom and rough leaves, was able to flourish even in close proximity to the wild verdure. It seemed that this plant had succeeded in avoiding the dangerous entanglements of the poisonous plants because of its tenacious and fearless qualities, at the same time its shadow was not welcome to the useless and noxious creeping plants.
"Behold, my son," said the Sage, "and learn how to understand the teachings of nature: The parasitic plants represent negligence against the force of which the best of intentions vanish."
Energy, however, succeeds in overcoming these obstacles which increase daily; it marks out its course among entanglements and rises from the midst of the most encumbered centers, beautiful and strong.
Ambition and audacity show themselves also after having passed through thousands of difficulties and having overcome them all.
Common sense rarely needs to strive; it unfolds itself in an atmosphere of peace, far from the tumult of obstructions and snares that are not easily avoided.
Its flower is less alluring than many others, but it never allows itself to be completely hidden through the wild growth of neighboring branches.
It dominates them easily, because it has always kept them at a distance.
Modest but self-sustaining, it is seen blossoming far from the struggles which always retard the blossoming of plants and which render their flowering slower and, at times, short-lived.
A most absurd prejudice has occasionally considered common sense to be an inferior quality of mind.
This error arises from the fact that it can adapt itself as well to the most elevated conceptions as to the most elemental mentalities.
To those who possess common sense is given the faculty of placing everything in its proper rank.
It does not underestimate the value of sentiments by attributing to them an exaggerated importance.
It permits us to consider fictitious reasons with reservation and of resolutely rejecting those that resort to the weapons of hypocrisy.
Persons who cultivate common sense never refuse to admit their errors.
One may truly affirm that they are rarely far from the truth, because they practise directness of thought and force themselves never to deviate from this mental attitude.