Excerpts from

Common Sense: How To Exercise It"
Blanchard Yorimoto-Tashi & B. Dangennes

Order in Adobe PDF eBook or printed form for $4.95 (+ printing charge)

or click here to order from Amazon.com for $22.95 (or less)

Book Description

1916. Common Sense: What Is It; The fight Against Illusion; The Development of the Reasoning Power; Common Sense and Impulse; The Dangers of Sentimentality; The Utility of Common Sense in Daily Life; Power of Deduction; How to Acquire Common Sense; Common Sense and Action; The Most Thorough Business Man; Self Control; Does not Exclude Great Aspirations.

Yoritomo-Tashi, whose precepts are presented in this book, ranks as one of the three greatest statesmen that Japan has ever produced. He was her most illustrious and wise Shogun, and, as founder of the first Japanese dynasty of Shoguns, the reviser of the Empire’s code of laws, and the organizer of military feudalism, he rescued his native land from the slough of demoralization into which it had sunk. In 1186 he established the seat of his government at Kamakura, where he organized an administrative body similar in its methods and operation to the metropolitan government.

From what is known of his public career, it is evident that the great Shogun exercised a dominant influence over the minds of his people. To him the art of influencing others was the key to Success. The great philosopher believed that the spirit of the individual continuously exerts influence, even as the flower also exerts influence by spreading its fragrance in the air. But just as the blossom cannot tell whither its fragrance spreads, so none of us can say how far our influence may reach. To an anonymous writer we owe the thought that “Influence never dies.”Every act, emotion, looks, and word make it felt for good or evil, happiness or misery.

Lesson I. Common Sense: What is It?
Lesson II. The Fight against Illusion
Lesson III. The Development of the Reasoning Power
Lesson IV. Common Sense and Impulse
Lesson V. The Dangers of Sentimentality
Lesson VI. The Utility of Common Sense in Daily Life
Lesson VII. Power of Deduction
Lesson VIII. How to Acquire Common Sense
Lesson IX. Common Sense and Action
Lesson X. The Most Thorough Business Man
LessonXI. Common Sense and Self-Control
Lesson XII. Common Sense does not Exclude Great Aspirations


The quality popularly designated as "Common Sense" comprehends, according to the modern point of view, the sound judgment of mankind when reflecting upon problems of truth and conduct without bias from logical subtleties or selfish interests. It is one of Nature's priceless gifts; an income in itself, it is as valuable as its application is rare.

How often we hear the expression "Why, I never thought of that!" Why? Because we have failed to exercise Common Sense—that genius of mankind, which, when properly directed is the one attribute that will carry man and his kind successfully through the perplexities of life. Common Sense is as a plant of delicate growth, in need of careful training and continued watching so that it may bear fruit at all seasons. In the teachings that follow, the venerable Shogun, Yoritomo-Tashi, points out that Common Sense is a composite product consisting of (i) Perception; (2) Memoiy; (3) Thought; (4) Alertness; (5) Deduction; (6) Foresight; (7) Reason, and (8) Judgment. Discussing each of these separately, he indicates their relations and how they may be successfully employed. Further, he warns one against the dangers that lurk in moral inertia, indifference, sentimentality, egotism, etc.

Common Sense is a quality that must be developed if it is to be utilized to the full of its practical value. Indispensable to this development are such qualifications— (i) Ability to grasp situations; (2) Ability to concentrate the mind; (3) Keenness of perception; (4) Exercise of the reasoning power; (5) Power of approximation; (6) Calmness; (7) Self-control, etc. Once mastered, these qualifications enable one to reap the reward of a fine and an exalted sense, and of a practical common sense which sees things as they are and does things as they should be done.

The desire for knowledge, like the thirst for wealth, increases by acquisition, but as Bishop Lee has told us, "Knowledge without common sense is folly; without method it is waste; without kindness it is fanaticism; without religion it is death." But, Dean Farrar added: "With common sense, it is wisdom; with method it is power; with charity beneficence; with religion it is virtue, life, and peace."

In these pages, Yoritomo-Tashi teaches his readers how to overcome such defects of the understanding as may beset them. He shows them how to acquire and develop common sense and practical sense, how to apply them in their daily lives, and how to utilize them profitably in the business world.

To him common sense is the crown of all faculties. Exercised vigilantly, it leads to progress and prosperity, therefore, says he "enthusiasm is as brittle as crystal, but common sense is durable as brass."



Why should I hesitate to express the pleasure I felt on learning that the public, already deeply interested in the teachings of Yoritomo-Tashi, desired to be made familiar with them in a new form?

Tliis knowledge meant many interesting and pleasant hours of work in prospect for me, recalling the time passed in an atmosphere of that peace which gives birth to vibrations of healthful thoughts whose radiance vitalizes the soul.

It was also with a zeal, intensified by memories of the little deserted room in the provincial museum, where silence alone could lend rhythm to meditation, that I turned over again and again the leaves of those precious manuscripts, translating the opinions of him whose keen and ornate psychology we have so often enjoyed together.
It was with the enthusiastic attention of the disciple that once more I scanned the pages, where the broadest and most humane compassion allies itself with those splendid virtues: energy, will and reason.

For altho Yoritomo glorifies the will and energy under all their aspects, he knows also how to find, in his heart, that tenderness which transforms these forces, occasionally somewhat brutal, into powers for good, whose presence are always an indication of favorable results.
He knows how to clothe his teachings in fable and appealing legend, and his exotic soul, so near and yet so far, reminds one of a flower, whose familiar aspect is transmuted into rare perfume.

By him the sternest questions are stripped of their hostile aspects and present themselves in the alluring form of the simplest allegories of striking poetic inten-
Mien reading his works, one recalls unconsciously the philosophers, delivered in those dazzling gardens, luxui grant with flowers.
In this far-away past, one sees also the silhouette of a majestic figure, whose school of philosophy became a religion, which interested the world because it spoke both of love and goodness.

But in spite of this fact, the doctrines of Yoritomo are of an imaginative type. His kingdom belongs to this world, and his theories seek less the joys of the hereafter than of that tangible happiness which is found in the realization of the manly virtues and in that effort to create perfect harmony from which flows perfect peace.
He takes us by the hand, hi order to lead us to the center of that Eden of Knowledge where we have already discovered the art of persuasion, and lhal art, most difficult of all to acquire—the mastery of timidity.

Following him, we shall penetrate once more this Eden, that we may study with Yoritomo the manner of acquiring this art—somewhat unattractive perhaps but essentially primordial—called Common Sense.



One beautiful evening, Yoritomo-Tashi was strolling in the gardens of his master, Lang-Ho, listening to the wise counsels which he knew so well how to give in all attractiveness of allegory, when, suddenly, he paused to describe a part of the land where the gardener's industry was less apparent.

Here parasitic plants had, by means of their tendrils, crept up the shrubbery and stifled the greater part of its flowers.

Only a few of them reached the center of the crowded bunches of the grain stalks and of the trailing vines that interlaced the tiny bands which held them against the-wall.

One plant alone, of somber blossom and rough leaves, was able to flourish even in close proximity to the wild verdure. It seemed that this plant had succeeded in avoiding the dangerous entanglements of the poisonous plants because of its tenacious and fearless qualities, at the same time its shadow was not welcome to the useless and noxious creeping plants.

"Behold, my son," said the Sage, "and learn how to understand the teachings of nature: The parasitic plants represent negligence against the force of which the best of intentions vanish."

Energy, however, succeeds in overcoming these obstacles which increase daily; it marks out its course among entanglements and rises from the midst of the most encumbered centers, beautiful and strong.

Ambition and audacity show themselves also after having passed through thousands of difficulties and having overcome them all.

Common sense rarely needs to strive; it unfolds itself in an atmosphere of peace, far from the tumult of obstructions and snares that are not easily avoided.

Its flower is less alluring than many others, but it never allows itself to be completely hidden through the wild growth of neighboring branches.

It dominates them easily, because it has always kept them at a distance.

A most absurd prejudice has occasionally considered common sense to be an inferior quality of mind.

This error arises from the fact that it can adapt itself as well to the most elevated conceptions as to the most elemental mentalities.

To those who possess common sense is given the faculty of placing everything in its proper rank.

It does not underestimate the value of sentiments by attributing to them an exaggerated importance.

It permits us to consider fictitious reasons with reservation and of resolutely rejecting those that resort to the weapons of hypocrisy.

Persons who cultivate common sense never refuse to admit their errors.

One may truly affirm that they are rarely far from the truth, because they practise directness of thought and force themselves never to deviate from this mental attitude.
"It is a central sense, toward which all impressions converge and unite in one sentiment—the desire for the truth.

"For people who possess common sense, everything is summed up in one unique perception:

"The love of directness and simplicity.

"All thoughts are found to be related; the preponderance of these two sentiments makes itself felt in all resolutions, and chiefly in the reflections which determine

"Common sense permits us to elude fear which always seizes those whose judgment vacillates; it removes the defiance of the Will and indicates infallibly the correct attitude to assume."

And Yoritomo, whose mind delighted in extending his observations to the sociological side of the question, adds:

"Certain customs, which seem perfectly natural to Japan would offend those belonging to the western world, just as our Nippon prejudices would find themselves ill at ease among certain habits customary among Europeans."

"Common sense," he continues, "takes good care not to assail violently those beliefs which tradition has transmuted into principles.

"Common sense often varies as to external aspects, dependent upon education, for it is evident that a diamio (Japanese prince) can not judge of a subject in the same way as would a man belonging to the lowest class of society.

"Must one believe that common sense is excluded from two such incompatible opinions?

"No, not at all. An idea can be rejected or accepted by common sense without violating the principles of logic in the least.

"If, as one frequently sees, an idea be unacceptable because of having been presented before those belonging to a particular environment, common sense, by applying its laws, will recognize that the point of view must be changed before the idea can become acceptable."

"But the moment it is a case of applying practically that which ingenuity, science or genius have invented, it intervenes in the happiest and most decisive manner.

"Common sense is the principle element of discernment.

"Therefore, without this quality, it is impossible to judge either of the proposition or the importance of the subject.

"It is only with the aid of common sense that it is possible to distinguish the exact nature of the proposition, submitted for a just appreciation, and to render a solution of it which conforms to perfect accuracy of interpretation.

"The last point is essential and has its judicial function in all the circumstances of life. Without accuracy, common sense can not be satisfactorily developed, he-cause it finds itself continually shocked by incoherency, resulting from a lack of exactness in the expression of opinions."

If we wish to know what the principal qualities are which form common sense, we shall turn over a few pages and we shall read:
"The first of these sentiments is reason.

<>"Then follows moderation.

"To these one may add:

"The faculty of penetration;

"The quality consistency.

"Then, wisdom, which permits us to profit by the lessons of experience.

"Reason is really indispensable to the projection of healthy thoughts.

"Hie method of reasoning should be the exhaustive study of minute detail, of which we shall speak later.

"Reasoning is the art of fixing the relativen

"It is by means of reasoning that it is possible to differentiate events and to indicate to what category they belong.

"It is the habit of reasoning to determine that which it is wise to undertake, thus permitting us to judge what should be set aside.

"How could we guide ourselves through life without the beacon-light of reason? It pierces the darkness of social ignorance, it helps us to distinguish vaguely objects heretofore plunged in obscurity, and which will always remain invisible to those who are unprovided with this indispensable accessory—the gift of reasoning.

"He who ventures in the darkness and walks haphazard, finds himself suddenly confronted by obstacles which he was unable to foresee.

"He finds himself frightened by forms whose nature he cannot define, and is often tempted to attribute silhouettes of assassins to branches of trees, instead of recognizing the real culprit who is watching him from the corner of the wild forest.

"Life, as well as the wildest wilderness, is strewn with pitfalls. To think of examining it rapidly, without the aid of that torch called reason, would be imitating the man of whom we have just spoken.

"Certain incidents, which seem at first sight to be of small importance, a primordial value when we have explained them by means of reasoning.

"Common Sense: How To Exercise It"
Blanchard Yorimoto-Tashi & B. Dangennes

Order in Adobe PDF eBook or printed form for $4.95 (+ printing charge)

or click here to order from Amazon.com for $22.95 (or less)


Back to eBook List