Importance of Observation and Reasoning
Observation and Reasoning are the two most essential means for the acquisition of knowledge. They are so important as to deserve being spoken of as duties in themselves.
It is commonly thought that all knowledge is derived from books. But, that is not true. Books are only helps; they are mere accessories.
We learn from books what others have seen, felt or thought; but unless we see as they saw, feel as they felt or think as they thought, what we read of them has little meaning for us.
Knowledge, to be profitable, must be acquired by the use of our own powers of seeing things, and reasoning about them.
Students are trained in their classes to learn the connection of things with one another, their causes and, effects. When any experiment is performed, students have to observe and note the various parts of it and their inter-dependence.
Now, the whole world is, as it were a laboratory; it is made up entirely of causes and effects, and if students are to grow in knowledge and wisdom they must get into the habit of observing things for yourself and trying to understand the what and why of them. The world is not a world of chance; it is one of order and law; and we must try to realize in our minds the Jaw and order of things.
We must have our eyes open. Many of us go about with eyes, as it were, closed. That is the difference between an ordinary man and a scientist. The latter detects even in common objects and occurrences the working of various laws and the presence of various principles of which the former has not the slightest idea.
After observing things, the connection of various parts, the purpose served by each, and so forth, you must yourself to review in your mind all your impressions. The same rule holds good to reading books. After perusing a few pages, you must c1ose your book and think over what you have read. It is not reading but thinking that develops the mind. Most boys have very vague and hazy notions of what they see or read, because they do not take the trouble of analyzing and storing it their minds, the gist of what they have seen or read. Generally, if you read for one hour you must devote half an hour to revising mentally the portion read. It is only then the knowledge becomes your own.