Book Summaries

A Summary of How to Become an Original Writer in Three Days (Ludwig Borne)

Borne recommended shutting oneself away for three days with a supply of paper, to write, “without falsehood and without hypocrisy,” about every topic that comes to mind. Borne’s idea was that men are stifled by the burden of conventional ideas, and that they do not dare to think for themselves. His aim was to free the mind from adulterated thinking. “Sincerity is the source of any kind of genius,” Borne proclaimed.

Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious

In How to Become an Original Writer in Three Days, Ludwig Borne tells us about the importance of thinking for ourselves, and deliberately freeing ourselves from the influence of others – because that is the only way to create something truly great, and more importantly, it is what the world needs.

With the birth of every new mind comes the birth of beautiful new thoughts. With every individual, the world is reborn. And yet, somehow, the unnecessary and distracting scrawl of life and teaching conceals and obscures these original texts.

Borne tells us that new and great thoughts can only be achieved through solitude. To do so, you must leave the company of others, but even if you do, you may still come across books written by others. You may throw your books away, but then how do you free yourself from the conventional knowledge you have acquired at school?

In the true art of self education, what is most needed and most beautiful, but also rarest and often poorly accomplished, is the art of making oneself ignorant. Just as in a million men only a thousand are thinkers, in a thousand thinkers only one truly thinks for himself.

We often think of our pursuit of knowledge as if there were something to discover, which we will recognize once we encounter it.

True striving in the cause of learning is not a voyage of discovery like that of Columbus, but a journey of adventure like that of Ulysses.

Having the ability to think for yourself but being afraid do so is shameful and cowardly. The person who ignores the cries of the masses, and has the courage to teach others what he has earnestly learned will always be original.

“What is dangerous is the repressed word, what has been despised avenges itself, but what has been spoken out is not in vain.” – Borne

The practical application to become an original thinker:

Take a stack of paper and write. Write everything that goes through your mind for three consecutive days with neither hesitation nor hypocrisy. Write down what you think of yourself, what you think of your wife, what you think of the war with the Turks, what you think of Goethe, of Fonk’s trial, of the Last Judgment, of your superiors. At the end of the three days you will scarce be able to believe what new, unheard-of thoughts have come to you. And that, my friends, is how to become an original writer in just three days!

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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