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Comenius - Didactica Magna - Improve people's observational powers

Identifier

020664

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

The Great Didactic of John Amos Comenius -  Translated into English by M. W. Keatinge, M.A.1967

 

It is clear that order, which is the dominating principle in the art of teaching all things to all men, should be and can be borrowed from no other source but the operations of nature.  As soon as this principle is thoroughly secured, the processes of art will proceed as easily and as spontaneously as those of nature.  Very aptly does Cicero say ‘If we take nature as our guide, she will never lead us astray’…..

This too is our belief and our advice is to watch the operations of nature carefully   …………..

[One] reason why so few scale the heights of wisdom is that if any wish to grasp the true nature of things by patient observation and experiments repeated as often as possible, the process is wearisome and is at the same time deceptive and uncertain.  For instance in such accurate observations the most careful observer may make an error and as soon as one error creeps in, the whole observation becomes worthless.

If this be true, how can we dare hope for a universal, sure, easy and thorough road to learning?  I answer:  Experience teaches us that this is true, but the same experience teaches us also that proper remedies can be found.

Experience is deceptive in order that our attention may be excited and that we may feel the necessity of penetrating to the essential nature of things.  And judgement is difficult, in order that we may be urged on to eagerness and to continual effort and that the hidden wisdom of God, which permeates all things, may, to our great satisfaction, become ever more apparent.

‘If everything could be easily understood’ says St Augustine ‘men and women would neither seek wisdom with keenness, nor find it with exultation’.

…………… we must lay a foundation that is not to be shaken, and that will not deceive us, in the place of a tottering fabric of superficial observation.

The source of the experience

Comenius

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble