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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Hugh of St. Victor, Learn gladly from everyone

From Didascalicon


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
Page 2


We have to understand that there lies a struggle before us, the greatest of all the other struggles, for the sake of which we must do everything and suffer whatever our strength permits in order to prepare ourselves. We must talk with poets and speech writers and talkers and all men, wherever we could gain some help from to take care of our soul.

St. Basil 

Do not, therefore, hasten too fast, and thus you will more quickly achieve wisdom. Learn gladly from everyone what you do not know, since humility can make that yours which nature made the possession of someone else. You will be wiser than everyone, if you will learn from everyone. (...)

    If you cannot read everything, read that which is more useful. Even if you can read everything, the same amount of labor should not be expended on all. But some things are to be read so that they may not be unknown, and some so that they may not be unheard of, since sometimes we believe that of which we have not heard to be of greater importance, and a thing is more easily judged when its results are known. You can see now how necessary for you this humility is, that you may hold no knowledge cheap, and may learn freely from all. Likewise it behooves you not to despise others when you begin to know something. This vice of arrogance takes possession of some so that they contemplate their own knowledge too lovingly, and since they seem to themselves to be something, they think that others whom they do not know can neither be nor become such as they. Hence also these peddlers of trifles, boasting I do not know of what, accuse their ancestors of simplicity, and believe that wisdom was born with them, and will die with them. They say that in sermons the manner of speaking is so simple that it is not necessary to listen to teachers in these matters, that each of them can penetrate the secrets of truth well enough by his own intelligence. They turn up their noses and make wry mouths at the lecturers in divinity, and they do not understand that they do God an injury, whose words are simple indeed in the beauty of their expression, but they proclaim stupidities with deformed sense. I do not advise imitating such as these. For the good student should be humble and gentle, a stranger to senseless cares and the enticements of pleasure; he should be diligent and zealous, so that he may learn freely from all. He is never presumptuous about his own knowledge, he shuns the authors of perverse teaching like poison, he learns to consider a matter for a long time before he makes a judgment, he knows or seeks not how to seem learned, but to be truly learned, he loves the words of the wise when they have been understood, and he strives to keep them always before his eyes, as a mirror in front of his face. And if perchance his understanding does not have access to the more obscure things, he does not immediately burst out into vituperation, believing that nothing is good unless he himself can understand it. This is the humility of the students' discipline.

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    Related:  Cicero, I have spared no pains to make myself master of the Greek language and learning Augustine, Socrates fought foolishness, Plato perfected philosophy,  Basil the Great, Education is necessary, Gregory Theologian, Education is the highest good Papatsonis, In Rising Sound Kant, We need consistency Russell Lowell, Fecundating minds Erasmus, Folly's lineage, education and companions Plato: Who is a philosopher? - Searching for the things' reason - Out of the cave - Wisdom.

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

The Greeks Us Library

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