Encouraging zeal for inquiry

“Eagerness to inquire relates to practice and in it the student needs encouragement rather than instruction.  Whoever wishes to inspect earnestly what the ancients in their love of wisdom have handed down to us, and how deserving of posterity’s remembrance are the monuments which they left of their virtue, will see how inferior his own earnestness is to theirs.  Some of them scorned honors, others cast aside riches, others rejoiced in injuries received, others despised hardships, and still others, deserting the meeting places of men for the farthest withdrawn spots and secret haunts of solitude, gave themselves over to philosophy alone, that they might have greater freedom for undisturbed contemplation insofar as they subjected their minds to none of their desires which usually obstruct the path of virtue.” Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon, Book 3, Chapter 14. 

In this quote we observe Hugh’s devotion to the ancients and their zeal for knowledge and wisdom.  He believed the ancients’ example should inspire students to make similar personal sacrifices for the sake of wisdom and virtue.

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