Before entering the path which relates directly to the intellectual

efforts concerning the acquisition of common sense, the Shogun calls our

attention to the power of deduction.

"It is only," said he, "where we are sufficiently permeated with all the

principles of judgment that we shall be able to think of acquiring this

quality, so necessary to the harmony of life.

"The most important of al
the mental operations which ought to be

practised by him who desires common sense to reign supreme in all his

actions and decisions, is incontestably deduction.

"When the union of ideas, which judgment permits, is made with perception

and exactness, there results always an analysis, which, if practised

frequently, will end by becoming almost a mechanical act.

"It is, however, well to study the phases of this analysis, in order to

organize them methodically first.

"Later, when the mind shall be sufficiently drilled in this kind of

gymnastics, all their movements will be repeated in an almost unconscious

way, and deduction, that essential principle of common sense, will be


"In order that deductions may be a natural development, the element

relating to those which should be the object of judgment should be

grouped first.

"The association of statements is an excellent method for it introduces

into thought the existence of productive agents.

"We have already spoken of the grouping of thoughts, which is a more

synthetical form of that selection.

"Instead of allowing it to be enlarged by touching lightly on all that

which is connected with the subject, it is a question, on the contrary,

of confining it to the facts relating to only one object.

"These facts should be drawn from the domain of the past; by comparison,

they can be brought to the domain of the present in order to be able to

associate the former phenomena with those from which it is a question of

drawing deductions.

"It is rarely that these latter depend on one decision alone, even when

they are presented under the form of a single negation or affirmation.

"Deduction is always the result of many observations, formulated with

great exactness, which common sense binds together.

"That which is called a line of action is always suggested by the

analysis of the events which were produced under circumstances analogous

to those which exist now.

"From the result of these observations, the habit of thinking permits of

drawing deductions and common sense concludes the analysis.

"The method of deduction rests upon this.

"One thing being equal to a previous one should produce the same effects.

"If we find ourselves faced by an incident that our memory can assimilate

with another incident of the same kind, we must deduce the following

chain of reasoning:

"First, the incident of long ago has entailed inevitable consequences.

"Secondly, the incident of to-day ought to produce the same effects,

unless the circumstances which surround it are different.

"It is then a question of analyzing the circumstances and of weighing the

causes whose manifestation could determine a disparity in the results.

"We shall interest ourselves first in the surroundings for thus, as we

have said, habits of thought and feeling vary according to the epoch and

the environment.

"A comparison will be established between persons or things, in order to

be absolutely convinced of their degree of conformity.

"The state of mind in which we were when the previous events were

manifested will be considered, and we shall not fail to ascertain

plainly the similarity or change of humor at the moment as related to

that of the past.

"It is also of importance to observe the state of health, for under the

affliction of sickness things assume very easily a hostile aspect.

"It would be wrong to attribute to events judged during an illness the

same value which is given to them at this present moment.

"When one is absolutely decided as to the relation of new perceptions and

mental representations, one can calculate exactly the degree of


"The moment will then have arrived to synthesize all the observations and

to draw from them the following deductions:

"First, like causes ought, all things being equal, to produce like


"Secondly, the event which is in question will therefore have the same

consequences as the previous one, since it is presented under the same


"Or again:

"Being granted the principle that like causes produce like effects, as I

have just affirmed, and that there exist certain incompatibilities

between the contingencies of the past and those of to-day, one must allow

that these incompatibilities will produce different results.

"And, after this reasoning, the deductions will be established by

constituting a comparison in favor of either the present or past state

of things."

But the philosopher, who thinks of everything, has foreseen the case

where false ideas have obscured the clearness of the deductions, and he

said to us:

"The association of false ideas, if it does not proceed from the

difficulty of controlling things, is always in ungovernable opposition to

the veracity of the deduction.

"What would be thought of a man of eighty years who, coming back to

his country after a long absence, said, on seeing the family roof from

a distance:

"'When I was twenty years old, in leaving here, it took me twenty

minutes to reach the home of my parents, so I shall reach the threshold

in twenty minutes.'

"The facts would be exact in principle.

"The distance to be covered would be the same; but legs of eighty

years have not the same agility as those of very young people, and in

predicting that he will reach the end of his walk in the same number

of minutes as he did in the past, the old man would deceive himself

most surely.

"If, on the contrary, on reaching the same place he perceived that a new

route had been made, and that instead of a roundabout way of approach, as

in the past, the house was now in a straight line from the point where he

was looking at it, it would be possible to estimate approximately the

number of minutes which he could gain on the time employed in the past,

by calculating the delay imposed upon him by his age and his infirmities.

"Those to whom deduction is familiar, at times astonish thoughtless

persons by the soundness of their judgment.

"A prince drove to his home in the country in a sumptuous equipage.

"He was preceded by a herald and borne in a palanquin by four servants,

who were replaced by others at the first signs of fatigue, in order that

the speed of the journey should never be slackened.

"As they were mounting, with great difficulty, a zigzag road which led up

along the side of a hill, one of these men cried out:

"'Stop,' said he, 'in the name of Buddha, stop!'

"The prince leaned out from the palanquin to ask the cause of this


"'My lord,' cried the man, 'if you care to live, tell your porters to


"The great man shrugged his shoulders and turning toward his master of

ceremonies, who was riding at his side, said:

"'See what that man wants.'

"But scarcely had the officer allowed his horse to take a few steps in

the direction of the man who had given warning when the palanquin, with

the prince and his bearers, rolled down a precipice, opened by the

sinking in of the earth.

"They raised them all up very much hurt, and the first action of the

prince, who was injured, was to have arrested the one who, according to

him, had evoked an evil fate.

"He was led, then and there, to the nearest village and put into a cell.

"The poor man protested.

"'I have only done what was natural,' said he. 'I am going to explain it,

but I pray you let me see the prince; I shall not be able to justify

myself when he is ill with fever.'

"'What do you mean,' they replied, 'do you prophesy that the prince will

have a fever?'

"'He is going to have it.'

"'You see, you are a sorcerer,' said the jailer, 'you make predictions.'

"And then he shut him in prison, to go away and to relate his

conversation to them all.

"During this time, they called in a healer who stated that the wounds of

the great nobleman were not mortal in themselves, but that the fever

which had declared itself could become dangerous.

"He was cured after long months.

"During this time the poor man languished in his prison, from whence he

was only taken to appear before the judges.

"Accused of sorcery and of using black magic, he explained very simply

that he had foreseen the danger, because in raising his eyes he had

noticed that the part of the ground over which the herald had passed was

sinking, and that he had drawn the following conclusions:

"The earth seemed to have only a medium thickness.

"Under the feet of the herald he had seen it crumble and fall in.

"He had deduced from this that a weight five times as heavy added to that

of the palanquin, would not fail to produce a landslide.

"As to the prediction concerning the fever, it was based on what he had

seen when in the war.

"He had then observed that every wound is always followed by a

disposition to fever; he therefore could not fail to deduce that the

serious contusions occasioned by the fall of the prince would produce the

inevitable consequences.

"The judge was very much imprest with the perspicacity of this man; not

only did he give him his liberty, but he engaged him in his personal

service and in due time enabled him to make his fortune."

We do not wish to affirm--any more than Yoritomo, for that matter--that

fortunate deductions are always so magnificently rewarded as were those

of this man.

However, without the causes being so striking, many people have owed

their fortune to the faculty which they possest of deducing results

where the analogy of the past circumstances suggested to them what

would happen.

He warns us against the propensity which we have of too easily avoiding a

conclusion which does not accord with our desires.

"Too many people," said he, "wish to undertake to make deductions by

eliminating the elements which deprive them of a desired decision.

"They do not fail either to exaggerate the reasons which plead in favor

of this decision; also we see many persons suffer from reasoning, instead

of feeling the good effects of it."

Those who cultivate common sense will never fall into this error, for

they will have no difficulty in convincing themselves that by acting thus

they do not deceive any one except themselves.

By glossing over truth in order to weaken the logical consequences of

deductions they are the first to be the victims of this childish trick.

That which is called false deduction is rarely aught save the desire to

escape a resolution which a just appraisement would not fail to dictate.

It might be, also, that this twisting of judgment comes from a person

having been, in some past time, subjected to unfortunate influences.

By devoting oneself to the evolution of thought, of which we have already

spoken when presenting the symbolical fan, and above all, by adopting the

precepts which, following the method of Yoritomo, we are going to develop

in the following lessons, we shall certainly succeed in checking the

errors of false reasoning.

"The important thing," said he, "is not to let wander the thought, which,

after resting for a moment on the subject with which we are concerned and

after touching lightly on ideas of a similar character, begins to stray

very far from its basic principles.

"Have you noted the flight of certain birds?

"They commence by gathering at one point, then they describe a series of

circles around this point, at first very small, but whose circumference

enlarges at every sweep.

"Little by little the central point is abandoned, they no longer approach

it, and disappear in the sky, drawn by their fancy toward another point

which they will leave very soon.

"The thoughts of one who does not know how to gather them together and to

concentrate them are like these birds.

"They start from a central point, then spread out, at first without

getting far from this center, but soon they lose sight of it and fly

toward a totally different subject that a mental representation has

just produced.

"And this lasts until the moment when, in a sudden movement, the first

one is conscious of this wandering tendency.

"But it is often too late to bring back these wanderers to the initial

idea, for, in the course of their circuits, they have brushed against a

hundred others, which are confounded with the first, weaken it, and take

away its exact proportions.

"The great stumbling-block again is that of becoming lost in the details

whose multiplicity prevents us from discerning their complete function in

the act of practising deduction.

"It is better, in the case where our perception finds itself assailed by

the multitude of these details, to proceed by the process of elimination,

in order not to become involved in useless and lazy efforts.

"In this case we must act like a man who must determine the color of a

material at a distance where the tiny designs stand out in a relief of

white on a background of black.

"Suppose that he is placed at a distance too great to perceive

this detail.

"What should he do to be able to give the best possible description?

"He will proceed by elimination.

"The material is neither red nor green; orange and violet must be set

aside, as well as all the subordinate shades.

"It has a dull appearance, hence, it is gray; unless.... And here mental

activity comes into play and will suggest to him that gray is composed of

black and white.

"He will then be sure to form a judgment which will not be spoiled

by falsity, if he declares that the material is a mixture of black

and white.

"Later, by drawing nearer, he will be able to analyze the designs and to

convince himself of their respective form and color, but by deducing that

the material was made up of the mixture of two colors he will have come

as near as possible to the truth:

"Deduction never prejudges; it is based on facts; only on things

accomplished; it unfolds the teaching that we ought to obtain as a


Again the Shogun recommends to us the union of thoughts and the

continuous examination of past incidents in the practise of deductions.

"If on entering a room," said he, "we are at times confused, it happens

also that we correct this impression after a more attentive examination.

"The gilding is of inferior quality; the materials are of cotton, the

paintings ordinary, and the mattings coarse.

"At first sight we should have deduced, judging from appearances, that

the possessor of this house was a very rich man, but a second examination

will cause us to discover embarrassment and anxiety.

"It is the same with all decisions that we must make.

"Before devoting ourselves to deductions inspired by the general aspect

of things, it is well to examine them one by one and to discover their

defects or recognize their good qualities.

"We shall be able thus to acquire that penetration of mind whose

development, by leading us toward wise deductions, will bring us to the

discovery of the truth."