The Intellectual Life|
by A.D. Sertillanges, O.P.
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AVAILABLE DECEMBER 2011
For every Catholic who aspires to intellectual or creative excellence: a timeless "treasury of wisdom" about pursuing the life of the mind- drawn not only from St Thomas Aquinas, but a score of other geniuses too.
Grounding his work on St. Thomas's Sixteen Principles for Acquiring the Treasure of Knowledge, and citing the precepts and practice of the most creative minds in history, Fr. A.D. Sertillanges, OP, shows shows that the intellectual must adopt a “rule of life,” analagous to that of the religious life, which will put him entirely at the disposal of his work. First published in 1920, this authentic masterpiece had an immense circulation in France and went through repeated reprints.
"It might well be subtitled How to Organize Your Life."
St. Thomas: how our “likings” help us discern our vocation in life
Explained: "Great men seem to us men of great boldness; in reality they are more obedient than others.”
Why purity of thought requires purity of soul—while passions and vices are "formidable enemies of the mind"
The particular virtue that is proper to the intellectual. Its two contrary vices
Three virtues essential to creative work. Personality flaws that are especially harmful
Why St. Thomas warns, "Do not seek what is beyond your reach." The right—and wrong—kind of ambition
Explained: "Every study is a study of eternity"
Guidelines for working conditions, posture, exercise, vacations, sleep, diet
How to arrange your exterior life—framework, schedule, obligations, personal contacts, setting—so that everything is directed toward your work
Why mortification of the senses is necessary for thought
Dangers of excessive comfort
Special mission and duties of the wife of an intellectual
Children: how, despite the troubles and cares they bring, they can enrich your vocation and heighten your inspiration
The need for solitude—and how to safeguard it
Avoiding the false solitude that indulges "interior babble, the solicitation of desire" and other distractions.
The difference between solitude and isolation.
Why the former is necessary to creative and intellectual work—while the latter is paralyzing and sterilizing
"He who knows the value of time always has enough": how to accomplish your creative work on as little as two hours a day
The “spirit of earnestness,” the “habit of effort,” and the “habit of concentration”: why they matter; how to cultivate them
The first rule of reading: “to read little.” The important wisdom behind this surprising advice
Four kinds of reading—each with its own purpose and methods
Reading for information vs. reading for formation
The management of memory: what to remember, in what order, and how to remember it
St. Thomas's four rules for training and using the memory
Three essential qualities of style. What distinguishes a true and original writing style from a false and imitative one
The "ruses of sloth"—and how to outwit them