Sunday, February 05, 2017


The Life of the Mind

C.G. Cobet (1813-1889), Protrepticus ad Studia Humanitatis (Leiden: Hazenburg, 1854), p. 7 (my translation):
To cultivate heart and mind with learning; to sharpen all one's natural intellectual endowments by observation and knowledge of useful subjects; to increase day by day the ability to comprehend; to know the past, and to correct and extend what is known; to make new discoveries by research; to investigate the causes of phenomena; to examine thoroughly the sources and progress of events; to explain the present by the past; to unlock hidden and complicated matters; to set right what is wrong and flawed; to refute, topple, and destroy foolishness and nonsense; and, summing up, to see the truth—this in the final analysis is a task worthy of human aptitude and reason, this is the spirit's nourishment, this is to live and enjoy one's life at last!

Excolere animum et mentem doctrina, rerum utilium observatione et cognitione ingenii dotes omnes acuere, intelligendi facultatem in dies augere, vetera nosse et cognita emendare et amplificare, nova excogitando reperire, inquirere in rerum causas, perscrutari rerum originem et progressum, ex veteribus praesentia explicare, obscura et intricata expedire, ubique vera a falsis discernere, prava et vitiosa corrigere, futilia et absurda confutare, labefactare, tollere, et, ut uno verbo absolvam, verum videre, hoc demum est humano ingenio ac ratione dignum, hoc pabulum est animi, hoc demum est vivere et frui anima denique!

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