“The Common Place Book – Time for a Renaissance!
THE COMMON PLACE BOOK: an indispensable skill once central to a liberal arts education, now lost
1.) From 1600 to 2000 “commonplacing” was an essential skill taught at universities from Oxford to Harvard..
2.) “Commonplacing” could be called the art of “noise filtration.”
3.) Common place books are essentially scrapbooks of the stuff
most worth remembering from every area of life from quotes to recipes.
3.) Milton, Bacon, Linnaeus, Jefferson practiced it.
4.) Locke, the great philosopher wrote a book about how to do it properly.
5.) He recommended organizing entries by theme (eg. “love,” or “politics”) as well as indexing.
6.) The practice was abandoned at the beginning of the 20th century.
7.) But given the explosion of information and disinformation never was this art more needed.
8.) Time for a Renaissance of this now ancient, lost art.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES BEHIND “COMMONPLACING” (aka keeping a What Matters Book/Journal)
1.)Continuity is key to depth of thought.
2.) Repetition is key to mastery,
3.) Can’t learn from the past if you can’t remember it.
4.) Just about anything worth saying has already been said.
5.) Memorize the most beautiful formulations of the most important ideas
ever thought and feelings ever felt.
6.) They will bring you and others joy
YOUR TURN: Do you journal? Would you consider “commonplacing”?