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02 August 2017

Commonplace Book: July

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:

The best dividends on labor invested have invariably come from seeking more knowledge rather than more power.
-Orville & Wilbur Wright, quoted in The Wright Brothers by McCullough, 125

Darkness cannot persist in the presence of light. I do not know, I do not know anybody who does know, how to put darkness into a room to make light vanish.
-Boyd K. Packer, quoted on Instagram

Madam How is never idle for an instant. Nothing is too great or too small for her; and she keeps her work before her eye in the same moment, and makes every separate bit of it help every other bit. She will keep the sun and the stars in order, while she looks after poor old Mrs. Daddy-long-legs there and her eggs. She will spend thousands of years in building up a mountain, and thousands of years grinding it down again; and then carefully polish every grain of sand which falls from that mountain, and put it in its right place, where it will be wanted thousands of years hence; and she will take just as much trouble about that one grain of sand as she did about the whole mountain... Most patient indeed is Madam How. She does not mind the least seeing her work destroyed; she knows that it must be destroyed. There is a spell upon her, and a fate, that everything she makes she must unmake again; and yet, good an wise woman as she is, she never frets, nor tires, nor fudges her work, as we say in school... Madam  How is wiser than that. She knows that it will come to something.
-Madam How and Lady Why, 9-10

If no other knowledge deserves to be called useful but that which helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in society, then mythology has no claim no the appellation. But if that which tends to make us happier and better can be called useful then we claim the epithet for our subject. For mythology is the handmaid of literature; and literature is one of the best allies of virtue and promoters of happiness.
-Bullfinch, Age of Fable, vii\

Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship... There are three aspects to perspective. The first has to do with how size of objects seems to diminish according to distance; the second, the manner in which colors change the further away they are from the eye; the third defines how objects ought to be finished less carefully the farther away they are.
-attributed to Leonardo DaVinci

... we must continue to understand and educate ourselves if we wish to have success in educating our children.
-Dean & Karen Andreola, Introduction to the Original Homeschooling Series, Charlotte Mason, 6:iv

We fail to recognize that as the body requires wholesome food and cannot nourish itself upon ANY substance so the mind too requires meat after its kind. If the war [WWI]  taught nothing else it taught us that men are spirits, and that the spirit, mind, of a man is more than his flesh, that his spirit IS the man, that for the thoughts of his heart he gives the breath of his body. As a consequence of this recognition of our spiritual nature, the lesson for us at the moment is that great thoughts, great events, great considerations, which form the background of our national thought, shall be the content education we pass on.
-Charlotte Mason, 6:5


Anne Chovies said...

I may have to start doing something like this. There are often times I'll read something that catches my attention but I know if I don't write it down somehow I'll never remember it or ever be able to come back to it and find it again.

Ritsumei said...

I really enjoy it. My book isn't anything particularly special, just a nicer spiral notebook. I used a 5 subject notebook, the kind with the plastic cover, for a while, but I've switched to smaller ones now. I like them better than the big ones. It's cool to thumb through and see what you've learned. And the act of writing makes a difference in how I interact with the books. Interestingly, this month not writing anything in my book has alerted me to the fact that, while I'm enjoying the series I'm reading right now... they're just fluff. It's the first time that the absence of something to tuck into my commonplace was meaningful to me.

Annette V said...

some interesting quotes you pulled up there. thanks for sharing them with me. :)


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