Intelligence’s act is to see and to compare what has been seen. It seems at first bychance. It must seek to repeat, to create the conditions to resee what it has seen, in order to see similar facts, in order to see facts that could be the cause of what it has seen. In short, the most frequent mode of exercising intelligence, much to the dissatisfaction of geniuses, is repetition. And repetition is boring. The first vice is laziness. It is easier to absent oneself, to half-see, to say what one hasn’t seen, to say what one believes one sees. “Absent” sentences are formed in this
way, the “therefore” that translate no mental adventure. “I can’t” is one of these absent sentences. “I can’t” is not the name of any fact. Nothing happens in the mind that corresponds to that assertion. Properly speaking, it doesn’t want to say anything. Speech is thus filled or emptied of meaning depending on whether the will compels or relaxes the workings of the intelligence. Meaning is the work of the will. This is the secret of universal teaching.