How to Learn to be a Great Thinker: by A. T. Still

Hog's snout

Now I will make a philosopher of you, if you will obey and follow the rules I will give you, if you have the germs of reason with average culture.

Rule first – Is the machinery of the object, then the duty each part is to perform. Now I will take as an example to explore or know what this machine is designed for, a hog for our subject of exploration. For conclusion as to the design nature had in its construction. Now the first order I give, you must obey or fail: Look at the hog’s snout. I mean snout and nothing else. Now look at the tail. I said snout; not foot, but snout. you have nothing to do with the hog’s foot; I told you to look at the snout. What do you see about the snout? Look and get its form, and let its uses alone. I want you to know a snout first; its form is all I want you to look for. Now you see the snout do you? You must not think of anything about which end of the hog the snout is on or its use or attachments. You cannot succeed as an investigator if you leave that snout before you get the form in your mind. Now you are the master of the form of the snout, you can look how it is attached to the end of something by this time. You see a plow to turn over the ground, now go from your discovered plow to attachment to head which is fast to the neck to the body ‘till hog is complete.

Moral: When you wish to learn anything, take some part to study and stick to it until you master a part at a time, ‘till you know all parts. Then put them together in their places and your work is done. Nature does the rest as is indicated by all form of animal life. Learn the parts and places and they will show their uses, if not, you have failed to use your reason and are lost, time spent and you none the wiser. Study the snout or you will forever fail.

Philosophy, Journal of Osteopathy, Vol. 3, No. 6, December 1896.