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Comenius - Didactica Magna - Promote the value of personal ‘revelation’

Identifier

020673

Type of spiritual experience

Background

So guarded was Comenius on this that his words might well have been unintelligible to many people. 

The fountain of wisdom alludes directly to using spiritual experience to gain access to wisdom as oppose to simply ‘knowledge’ man made nonsense.  He is thus promoting personal revelation.

The ‘How to get to heaven’ section of our site uses an identical analogy of a tree and its roots, although at the time we were simply using generic symbolism.  Symbolism it appears Comenius knew.

A description of the experience

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

Hitherto schools have not taught their pupils to develop their minds like young trees from the roots up, but rather to deck themselves with branches plucked from other trees and like Aesop’s crow to adorn themselves with the feathers of other birds; they have taken no trouble to awaken the fountain of wisdom that is hidden in the scholars, but have watered them with water from other sources.

That is to say, they have not shown them how to discover the objective world as it exists in itself, but only what this that or other author has written or thought about this or that object, so that he is considered the most learned who best knows the contradictory opinions which many men have held about many things.

The result is that most men possess no information but the quotations, sentences and opinions that they have collected by rummaging about in various authors[sic] and thus piece their knowledge together like a patchwork quilt.

‘Oh you imitators, you slavish pack!’ cried Horace.  A slavish pack indeed and accustomed to carry burdens that are not their own……..

If our goal be firmly set before us, why should we not hasten to it by the shortest route; why should we use the eyes of other men in preference to our own?

The schools only teach us to see by means of the eyes of others and by employing their brains.  But these methods do not teach us to discover springs and conduct streams of water from them…..

A man who is thoroughly educated resembles a tree which grows from its own roots and is nourished by its own sap and which on that account increases in size and from day to day with more vigour, and puts forth leaves, blossoms and fruits.

The source of the experience

Comenius

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Margaret Booth