Louis Riboulet’s book “Advice on intellectual work” is a great book to be read by anyone who has the desire to have a life of study. In its 16 chapters, the book is full of advice systematized in the beautiful prose of Riboulet, who probably gathered a huge amount of files with the advice and habits of other intellectuals, to then assemble this book (something very likely, if not right, because the practice of making cards is among his advice).
“[the ideal] regulates and directs actions; revives, beautifies and transforms even the smallest details of life” p. 17
The first advice given by Riboulet is to have a noble ideal and work for him every day, because “the noblest thoughts flow from a heart deeply in love with beauty and goodness”, and the service of this ideal, becomes a means strengthening temperance and “a principle of order”.
“After having determined this ideal, contemplate it for a long time; let yourself be flooded by its light and impregnated by its heat” p. 15
The constant work and the renewal of the commitment taken in favor of this ideal, which must serve just causes – even if impossible – is another point emphasized by the author. Riboulet considers difficulties as the “temper of souls”, which form intelligence, character, sensitivity and will; a stimulus to action, which preserves us from pride and vain complacency, as well as a corrector for when we are going the wrong way.
“The harmonious development of the faculties is facilitated by certain dispositions and habits.” p. 124
And through study, character is improved, thanks to the adoption of habits necessary for study, such as the habit of punctuality, the habit of regularity, the habit of constancy, the habit of perseverance, the habit of being an observer and the habit of judging according to pricipíos and knowledge of cause.
“Fight, therefore, with energy against the perverse inclinations of your nature.” p. 264
Constant study leads us to want to move away from evil, since disorder in the soul makes work difficult and is due to the evil introduced into it. Thanks to study, the distinction of acts takes place in the spirit, acts that can only be noble if they start from noble desires, which in turn come from noble thoughts.
“(…) distrust your own wisdom; do not rush to express your judgments. cultivate a passion for the truth, and accept it wherever it comes from.” p. 132
The book is a pleasant reading that will bring to the reader these and other reflections on the life of studies, and how it is intrinsically linked to moral development, something essential to have a correct intellectual development.