Thursday, February 09, 2017


The Desire to Learn

Battista Guarino (1434-1503), De Ordine Docendi et Studendi 3 (tr. Craig W. Kallendorf):
Nevertheless before we come to the precepts of study and teaching, it is highly relevant to our undertaking to advise young people themselves, first, to acquire spontaneously a real desire to learn—something a teacher can't give them from the outside—and act like a case of dropsy, for whom, as Ovid says,
the more water it drinks, the more it thirsts for. [Ovid, Fasti 1.216]
And so the more knowledge they acquire each day, the more knowledge they are stimulated to seize and drink in, as though longing to quench a chronic thirst. Let them always keep in mind the teaching of the Greek Socrates: if you are eager to learn, you will learn much.

Antequam tamen ad studendi docendique praecepta veniamus, haudquaquam a proposito nostro alienum esse videbirur, si adolescentes ipsos admonuerimus, primum ut quam eis praeceptor extriinsecus tradere non potest discendi cupiditatem, ipsi per se sponte illam arripiant, et ad hydropis similitudinem se conforment, cui, ut inquit Ovidius,
quo plus sunt potae, plus sitiuntur aquae.
Sic et ipsi quo plura in dies didicerint, eo plura percipere et haurire tamquam diuturnam sitim extinguere cupientes incitentur. Teneantque illud assidue ante mentis oculos quod Socrates graecus praecipit: si eris discendi studiosus, multa disces.
Update and correction here.

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