Lately, I was reading a book about Thomas Jefferson. As an American Patriot & our second president, he was an admirable man with un-admirable stuff. To go further down that path would be to judge the past with the standards of today. That fails to recognize that the human condition is continuing to evolve towards becoming more humane.
The book was drier than arid dust. Extensively researched, one must presume that it is technically authentic. But, it is a lifeless emotional void. The one exception to this void is the occasional inclusion of TJ’s use of a commonplace book. These quotes provided insight into TJ’s mind and philosophical influences.
Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned. Each commonplace book is unique to its creator’s particular interests. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
I kept an active commoplace book. Most entries are from a decade ago. The book was dug out of its common place – stacked with the more than several mostly blank journal books of started then abandoned good intentions. Browsing through the book reminded me of stirring captured thoughts. There are even some that I wrote myself, thus proving that at one time in the past, I had original derived philosophical ideas.
What I have missed while doing what I have done is remaining who I was before. RMSmithJr – 48.1.22.
So, for now, and hopefully for longer than that, the book has rejoined the active stack. This active stack includes current reading material – books, magazines, and www wanderings, the handwritten journal (another recent resurrection), and this eDevice for publishing my own works.