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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mind to Mind - an Old Commonplace Page

I came back tonight to take a peek at my sorely neglected blog and I found this old page sitting unpublished with the title "Mind to Mind." We're calling it "keeping" and "commonplace" these days (wow that makes me sound old!) but I thought I'd share it with you now. Here's what Charlotte Mason said about "Mind to Mind" in Volume 6:

Diet for the body is abundantly considered, but no one pauses to say, "I wonder does the mind need food, too, and regular meals, and what is its proper diet?" 
I have asked myself this question and have laboured for fifty years to find the answer, and am anxious to impart what I think I know, but the answer cannot be given in the form of 'Do' this and that, but rather as an invitation to 'Consider' this and that; action follows when we have thought duly. 
The life of the mind is sustained upon ideas; there is no intellectual vitality in the mind to which ideas are not presented several times, say, every day. But 'surely, surely,' as 'Mrs. Proudie' would say, scientific experiments, natural beauty, nature study, rhythmic movements, sensory exercises, are all fertile in ideas? Quite commonly, they are so, as regards ideas of invention and discovery; and even in ideas of art; but for the moment it may be well to consider the ideas that influence life, that is, character and conduct; these, would seem, pass directly from mind to mind, and are neither helped nor hindered by educational outworks.

So here are some words from the minds of others that passed to mine years ago. (Now I sound old and nostalgic!)


Love is like understanding,
that grows bright,
Gazing on many truths;
'tis like they light,
Imagination! which from earth and sky,
And from the depths of human fantasy,
As from a thousand prisms and mirrors,
fills the universe with glorious beams.
~Epipsychidion, Percy Bysshe Shelley (as quoted by CM in Vol. 6, p.157)

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Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing
He that cannot obey cannot command
God helps them that help themselves
Diligence is the mother of good luck
What is serving God? 'Tis doing good to man
The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise
He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas
~Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

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Madame Guyon, persecuted for her faith, spent many years imprisoned in a dungeon lit only by a candle at mealtimes wrote this poem:

A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air,
Yet in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there,
Well pleased a prisoner be,
Because, my God, it pleases Thee
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In a Library
by Emily Dickinson

A precious mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore,
A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty,
And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified
Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town.
And tell you all your dreams were true;
He lived where dreams were sown.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.
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These ideas are "found," as it were, not manufactured, and it is the independent discovery of these ideas by men and women down through the ages that has led to "the great conversation"
~David Hicks, Norms & Nobility
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If descriptive science is to aid our schools and flourish them, it must remain in the service of a prescriptive ideal.
~ David Hicks, Norms & Nobility
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The older I get the more I realize that the only thing a teacher has to go on is that rare spark in a boy's eye. And when you see that, Brian, you're an ass if you worry where it comes from. Whether it's an ode of Horace or an Icelandic saga or something that goes bang in a laboratory.
~Dr. Prescott, headmaster in The Rector of Justin
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If I set the sun beside the moon,
And if I set the land beside the sea,
And if I set the town beside the country,
And if I set the man beside the woman,
I suppose some fool would talk about one being better.
~G.K. Chesterton
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There is no better place than this, not in this world and it is by the place we've got and our love for it an our keeping of it that this world is joined to heaven.
~Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter
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For when a man is a king among men, as was King Arthur, then is he of such a calm and equal temper that neither victory nor defeat may cause him to become either unduly exalted in his own opinion or so troubled in spirit as to be altogether cast down into despair.
~Howard Pyle, The Story of King Arthur

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