Ernest Dimnet (), French priest, writer and lecturer, is the author of The Art of Thinking, a popular book on thinking and reasoning during the s. Notes from The Art of Thinking, by Ernest Dimnet. Genius has never been supposed to be a particularly good teacher of any art. Sir Walter Scott, when he. The more a man thinks the better adapted he becomes to thinking, and education is nothing if it is not the methodical.

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Egotism, in writing of any art, especially of an Art of Thinking, would be criminal, and it can be honestly said that it had as little a share as possible in the preparation of this work. Think of the delightful smile of the old Maryland negress whom you foolishly ask about her age. Indeed the world lives on words which it goes on repeating till some thinker, or repeated experience— experientia magistra stultorum —makes a breach in the solid and stolid wall of conformity.

Most of Angellier’s pupils have become writers: Obstacles To Thought 5. I said in the first part of this book that all children enjoy a few years of direct vision and immediate impressions with which the most intense moments in their after-life remain connected.

Nowhere is it so apparent as in the United States. When a traveller visits the United States for the first time he cannot help noticing a curious phenomenon.

People forget their childhood, no doubt, and it is a loss which, no matter how lightly they take it, is irreparable. I have never known one who did not shiver at the idea of his master’s good-natured criticisms, ruthless because they pointed out so infallibly the incompleteness of the disciple’s outlook.

I am aet like So and So.

thinkng He goes to games and quickly learns to yell. He provides useful tips and advice on how to improve ones’ concentration, and even endeavors to answer some timeless and all-important questions such “how do I find myself. To what extent diimnet indifference is carried can be measured from the fact that an American newspaper never tells its readers whether the speech it reports was a good speech or not. Of course, our likes and dislikes are of the same order with the images corresponding to them, and it would be tedious to dwell at any length on the subject.

Ernest Dimnet

In the meantime he delivers himself up to the influence of his teacher, sometimes of the top boy, a French institution of which no Steerforth can give an idea. What could seem nearer to insanity, in the sixteenth century, than a denial of the fact—for it was a fact—that the sun revolves thinkjng the earth?

Insomnia, before ending in exhaustion, generally produces a lucidity which no amount of normal meditation will replace, and the vigils of literary arrt testify to the fact. Yet, with some curiosity and some practice, it is not impossible to have, at least, a peep at one’s mind. Readers of Boswell do not doubt that Johnson was an extraordinary conversationalist, but how few students of English literature have a clear notion that a decade or two of the eighteenth century would never have been called abne Age of Johnson had it been only for the Dictionary, Rasselas or the Lives of the Poets?


I still read it without much difficulty when I have to, but it is not often, and if I had to talk, I know I should be ridiculous. Published August 1st by Fawcett Books first published Genius has never been supposed to be a particularly good teacher of any art.

Dimnet’s “The art of thinking” invites the reader into a state of honesty where he evaluates himself as a thoughtful human being. It is needless to say that, given what the world is, most children are more unfortunate than lucky in their surroundings. We have all seen him standing amidst the surprised, incredulous and often silly group of non-thinkers.

Most writers endowed with the real literary gift are nervous subjects, or at all events, exceptionally sensitive individuals on whose imaginations all impressions work freely and often cruelly. Sometimes, very unexpectedly, we become aware of the tingling of our arteries in our heads, ximnet of the fact that we are alive; this consciousness is of no use whatever to us, unless it somehow concurs in keeping us alive, but we are lavish when our Self is at stake.

The reader will soon find that this book, whatever its shortcomings, has been written for him. Altogether these young beings who, up to a quite recent day, had been like just-born clouds in the summer sky, feeling every breeze and catching every reflection, now are all passivity. Living incarnations of genius the French boy eagerly seeks. We can catch a glimpse of the working of our mind, vague and not much more satisfactory than was the X-ray screen twenty years ago, but its nature must remain a mystery among many other mysteries.

As everybody does it, and if I did know French nobody would believe that I did, it does not matter. He is far inferior, in cultural respect, to the Americans of eighty years ago.

Ernest Dimnet – Wikiquote

The extraordinary effort towards the diffusion of education seen everywhere in America is the vital reaction of a society feeling itself threatened in its essentials. But, in their innermost nature, arrt are preeminently teachers, and it is to the credit of most thinkng them that they devote their lives to preaching the truth they see. Such men seethey see the necessities of an epoch, and woe to the people who will not see them as they do.

What does seem important is a bustling, hustling life, with the excitement of getting in or out of a scrimmage, beating somebody or something, getting there.

In a few months, sometimes in a few weeks, you can notice the change: Pretty soon this magnificent tide of interest which fills the child’s soul will ebb away to leave it dry and arid. Not mere “power,” but magnetism, and the magnetism is more intelligence than force. The reader finds in it suggestions of ways to estimate the quality of his own thinking There are, of course, in your mind, thoughts hidden so deep that no amount of digging up could reveal thee, but there is no doubt that they would be even nearer your ego than those you have discovered in the course of our conversation.


I hate a fool. Spinoza in his one room where the carefully chosen monotony of his manual work acted on him as the monastic routine acts on a Benedictine scholar; Descartes leaving Paris for a quiet suburb of far-away Hague; Bossuet retreating like a hermit to the cabin at the end of his garden; Pasteur or Edison in their inviolate laboratories; learned monks in their convents; sages in the shady seclusion of a Massachusetts village; artists everlastingly trying to form colonies uniquely dedicated to disinterested work: People who begin to possess a language well enough to imagine that they may pass for natives, but have not really mastered it enough to use it as their instrument, can be frequently detected acting Italian exuberance, French vivacity, or British stolidity.

A former colleague of mine, with an entirely literary background, showed, however, an interest in philosophy and, without having read any of the philosophers, would discourse on the fundamental issues with surprising originality. On the other hand, the careless and even reckless freedom of many artists, when they happen to write, frequently excites the envy of their purely literary brethren. Is it not paradoxical, to the extent of being in bad taste, to speak of education as an obstacle and not as a help to thought?

We may have known a person, older than we are, thinkking many years without realizing, one may say without seeing, his face: Do not imagine that I am reproaching you. I have not even perseverance enough to reduce.

Millions of sentences might be curtailed of a final clause beginning with and which may be unnecessary as it is so often a mere repetition or summary added solely to round off the sentence. Would it not be better to say that most nations look upon the acquisition of languages with a dread paralyzing the individual’s possibilities?

What does one hear at picture exhibitions? And is not a keen desire to be of use a sufficient claim to give modest advice? How many Frenchmen see—for it can be seen—the contrast between their modern architecture and the sublime or exquisite monuments scattered all over their soil?