Unlock the Hidden Places of Learning

“A certain wise man, when asked concerning the method and form of study, declared:

A humble mind, eagerness to inquire, a quiet life,                                                                           Silent scrutiny, poverty, a foreign soil.                                                                                                 These, for many, unlock the hidden places of learning.

He had heard, I should judge, the saying, ‘Morals equip learning.’ Therefore he joined the rules for living to rules for study, in order that the student might know both the standard of his life and the nature of his study.  Unpraiseworthy is learning stained by a shameless life.  Therefore, let him who would seek learning take care above all that he not neglect discipline.”  Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon Bk 3, Chap. 12. [Italics added]

Since Hugh led a community of canons regular in Paris, it is not surprising that he links learning with morality.  However, these principles of learning could apply to any school.  Humility, zeal to learn, a place to meditate on important ideas, and the lack of distractions allow any teacher or student to focus on acquiring knowledge and becoming wise.

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