A General Consultation on the Reform of Human Affairs. Intended for All Mankind. An Excerpt.

Joh. Amos Commenii Orbis sensualium pictus: : hoc est, Omnium principalium in mundo rerum, & in vita actionum, pictura & nomenclatura.
Left: Comenius. “The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart” Right: Joh. Amos Commenii Orbis sensualium pictus: : hoc est, Omnium principalium in mundo rerum, & in vita actionum, pictura & nomenclatura. https://archive.org/details/johamoscommeniio00come/page/54

What are you doing, poor little thing? What’s your hurry? Is it your task to appoint yourself for the task of the salvation of the world? Why are you rushing to your death, daring to do things beyond your powers? Why are you vexed with grief, which benefits no one, or why be called a fool or elicit laughter and mockery?

Roberto Rossellini, a prominent Italian director, was inspired by Comenius’ ideas on the system of education and the importance of the image. “It was from Comenius that Rossellini came up with the concepts of ‘direct vision’ (or autopsy, which originally means ‘seeing with one’s own eyes’) and ‘essential image’. “A big part of the learning disability,” Comenius wrote in his Pansophiae Prodromus(1637), “comes from the fact that things are not taught to the pupils through direct vision, but through tedious descriptions, as a result of which it is very difficult for images of things to be pressed into understanding; they, therefore, are so weak in memory that they easily fall apart or become confused with other things.” Roberto Acioli de Oliveira. From Cinema Italiano. “In the final phase of his career, Italian master Roberto Rossellini embarked on a dramatic, daunting project: a series of television films about knowledge and history, made in an effort to teach, where contemporary media were failing. Looking at the Western world’s major figures and moments, yet focusing on the small details of daily life, Rossellini was determined not to recount history but to relive it, as it might have been, unadorned but full of the drama of the everyday. This selection of Rossellini’s history films presents The Age of the Medici, Cartesius, and Blaise Pascal — works that don’t just enliven the past but illuminate the ideas that brought us to where we are today.” From The Criterion Collection.

So long as people do not understand this, they chase shadows without substance, and, devoted to these nothings, themselves dissolve into nothing.

“In Via Lucis, vestigata et vestiganda [“The Way of Light,” written in 1641 but not published until 1668], John Amos Comenius proposed to a group of scholars on its way toward becoming the Royal Society of London a new effort on the part of learned Christendom to establish a College of Light, or a broad community of scholars who share the same foundation of knowledge, the same sacred mission, and even the same language.” From Huenemann’s blog.
Left, center: William Blake. From The Songs of Innocence and Experience. Blake illustrated his all books and created this famed series for children, in part following the tradition started by Comenius. Right: Lewis Carrol’s illustrated manuscript of Alice in Wonderland follows the tradition. “What is the use of a book, thought Alice, without pictures of conversations?”

The world is one in terms of nature; why, then, should it not become one also in terms of morals?

Europe may be physically separated from Asia, Asia from Africa, Africa from America, just as the individual empires and provinces are separated from each other by mountains and valleys, rivers and seas, so that we cannot all be in contact with each other.

Yet our common Mother Earth supports us all and feeds us; the air and the winds blow on us all and restore us to life; we are all covered by the same sky, the same sun and stars turn around us all and alternately shine upon us. It is therefore clear that we all occupied the same dwelling in the same area keeps us all alive.

Left: Jean Piaget. “Piaget is represented, with his much loved pipe, in the context of children’s drawings of fluid in a container and of objects on a hill, made between about four and eight years of age.” From Portraits of European Neuroscientists by Nicholas Wade, Marco Piccolino & Adrian Simmons. Right: Comenius. Janua Linguarum Reserata (1632; The Gate of Tongues Unlocked)

--

--

--

Zarina Zabrisky is the author of IRON and CUTE TOMBSTONE, EXPLOSION, a poetry book GREEN LIONS, and a novel WE, MONSTERS. More at www.zarinazabrisky.com.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

We Don’t All Value The Same Things

fragmentary study of philosophy 6–10

The Far-Right: Spreading Fear

Dealing With The Unduly Demanding In the Workplace

Plato, robots and the democratic mob

‘BIG HISTORY’ OF EDUCATION: OUR PATH TO LISTENING SOCIETY. PART ⅕: THE STONE AGE.

The bewitching trickery of language

Is our universe a simulation? Don’t be scared.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Zarina Zabrisky

Zarina Zabrisky

Zarina Zabrisky is the author of IRON and CUTE TOMBSTONE, EXPLOSION, a poetry book GREEN LIONS, and a novel WE, MONSTERS. More at www.zarinazabrisky.com.

More from Medium

The Christianity Equation

To Hell and Back

Black Moon: What Is It And How Often Does It Happen?