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03 September 2017

Commonplace Book: August

A sample from my commonplace book, and brief instructions for how to keep one.

A commonplace is a traditional self-education tool: as you read, grab a notebook. Write down things that embody Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Write down notable quotes, with or without your own thoughts about them. Write down the questions you have as a result of the text you are reading. You will find the book becomes a record of your own growth, and it becomes a touchstone for memory of things you have studied in the past. These are a selection of the passages that I've included in my commonplace book this month:

But a nobler animal was wanted, and Man was made. It is not known whether the creator made him of divine materials, or whether in the the earth, so lately separated from heaven, there lurked still some heavenly seeds. Prometheus took some of this earth, and kneading it up with water, made men in the image of the gods. He gave him an upright stature, so that while all the other animals turn their faces downward, and look to the earth, he raises his to heaven, and gazes on the stars.
-Bulfinch, Age of Fable, 10

No gain I experience must remain unshared.
-Charlotte Mason 6:9

Put forth your ability to learn as fast as you can, and gather all the strength of mind and principle of faith you possibly can, and then distribute your knowledge to the people. Give them virtue, knowledge, principle, truth, godliness.
-Brigham Young JD 8:144

Education is the highest of the arts in the sense that it imposes forms (ideas and ideals) not on matter, as do other arts (for instance carpentry or sculpture) but on mind. These forms are received by the student not passively but through active cooperation. In true liberal education, as Newman explained, the essential activity of the student is to relate the facts learned into a unified, organic whole, to assimilate them as the body assimilates food or as a rose assimilates food from the soil and increases in size, vitality, and beauty. A learner must use mental hooks and eyes to join the facts together to form a significant whole. This makes learning easier, more interesting, and much more valuable. The accumulation of facts is mere information and is not worthy to be called education since it burdens the mind and stultifies it instead of developing, enlightening, and perfecting it. Even if one forgets many of the facts once learned and related, the mind retains the vigor and perfection gained by its exercise upon them. It can do this, however, only by grappling with facts and ideas. Moreover, it si much easier to remember related ideas than unrelated ideas.
-Sister Miriam Joseph, The Trivium, 7

But, when we compare the mind with the body, we perceive that three "square" meals a day are generally necessary to health, and that a casual diet of ideas is poor and meager.
-Charlotte Mason 6:25

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