Commonplace Book

A commonplace book from the mid-seventeenth century

A commonplace book from the mid-seventeenth century

I learned about the idea of commonplace books today, which is a way to compile knowledge. These books are similar to scrapbooks where you would fill items of many kinds: notes, proverbs, adages, maxims, quotes, letters, poems, prayers, recipes, etc.

Henry wrote a blog sharing 35 pieces of wisdom from his commonplace book.

I thought of collecting some of them that resonate with me here, and have this blog be my commonplace book, a place to collect items of many kinds.

“A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource.” – Borges

“The only use of a knowledge of the past is to equip us for the present. No more deadly harm can be done to young minds than by deprecation of the present. The present contains all that there is.” – Alfred North Whitehead

“All things are full of labour.” – Ecclesiastes

“To rejoice in his labour: That is the gift of God.” – Solomon

“It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.” – Samuel Johnson

We are suffering not from the decay of theological beliefs but from the loss of solitude.” – Russell, ibid.

“Civilisation is built on the practice of keeping promises. It is immoral to make promises that one cannot in practice fulfil in the sense that the recipient expects.” – Why don’t we learn from history? B. H. Liddell Hart

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” – Auden

“A failure is someone who doesn’t know what he wants or jibs at the price.” – Auden

“Go directly to the seat of knowledge.” – Marcus Aurelius