Flippant Attitudes Toward Learning

Vergerio, de ingenuis moribus et liberalibus adulescentiae studiis, LIII:

“The first step to learning is the ability to doubt; for there is nothing so inimical to learners as a presumption about one’s own erudition or excessive confidence in one’s own brilliance. Of these, one takes away our concern for study, and the other diminishes it. Thus people deceive themselves when it is entirely unnecessary. However, we are able to deceive no one more easily than ourselves, yet we deceive no one with greater loss. This often happens, though, because the inexperience are not allowed to weight out the diversions, distractions, and pitfalls which lurk in different studies. Thus it happens that they often insert many erroneous ‘corrections’ in books which they are unable to understand themselves, or they chastise the inexperience and negligence of writers as they willingly glide over many things which they do not understand. Yet, diligence and patient application can rid them of these opinions.”

Primus etenim ad disciplinas gradus est posse dubitare; nec est quidquam discentibus tam inimicum quam ut nimis de propria eruditione praesumant aut de ingenio sibi confidant, quorum alterum discendi curam tollit, alterum minuit; sic enim ipsi se fallunt, in qua re minime necesse est. Neminem autem facilius est fallere quam se ipsum; neminem damno maiore decipimus. Fit autem id id ideo, quoniam nondum diverticula et anfractus ac praecpitia quae in scientiis latitant, perependere inexpertis licuit. Quibus evenit, ut aut de libris pleraque male corrigant quae bene per se nequeunt intellegere, aut imperitiam scriptorum negligentiamve culpantes, multa sponte praetereant non intellecta. Verum eas opiniones studium et perseverantia excutiet.

 

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