The Intellectual Life: Part 1

sertillangesRecently I reread the A.G. Sertillanges’s classic work on the life of the mind: The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods.  Sertillanges (1863-1948) was a Catholic writer and a member of the Dominican Order.  He published The Intellectual Life in 1934.

Over the next few days I am going to post some of my favorite parts of the book.  I encourage you to read it.

p. xviii: Do you want to do intellectual work?  Begin by creating within you a zone of silence, a habit of recollection, a will to renunciation and detachment which puts you entirely at the disposal of the work; acquire that state of soul unburdened by desire and acquire that state of soul unburdened by desire and self-will which is the state of grace of the intellectual worker.

p. xxii: When the world does not like you it takes its revenge on you; if it happens to like you, it takes revenge still by corrupting you.  Your only resource is to work far from the world, as indifferent to its judgments as you are ready to serve it.

p. xxvi: Even if one does not use everything that one has learned, the accumulated knowledge gives a hidden resonance to one’s words, and this fulness has for its reward the confidence it inspires.