Book Summaries Philosophy

Be Stoic (The Art of Worldly Wisdom)

Show no Self-satisfaction. You must neither be discontented with yourself–and that were poor-spirited–nor self-satisfied–and that is folly. Self-satisfaction arises mostly from ignorance: it
would be a happy ignorance not without its advantages if it did not injure our credit. Because
a man cannot achieve the superlative perfections of others, he contents himself with any mediocre
talent of his own. Distrust is wise, and even useful, either to evade mishaps or to afford consolation when they come, for a misfortune cannot surprise a man who has already feared it.

Even Homer nods at times, and Alexander fell from his lofty state and out of his illusions. Things depend on many circumstances: what constitutes triumph in one set may cause a defeat in another. In the midst of all incorrigible folly remains the same with empty self-satisfaction, blossoming, flowering, and running all to seed.

Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Do not be Glass in Intercourse, still less in Friendship. Some break very easily, and thereby
show their want of consistency. They attribute to themselves imaginary offences and to others
oppressive intentions. Their feelings are even more sensitive than the eye itself, and must not
be touched in jest or in earnest. Motes offend them: they need not wait for beams. Those who
consort with them must treat them with the greatest delicacy, have regard to their
sensitiveness, and watch their demeanour, since the slightest slight arouses their annoyance. They
are mostly very egoistic, slaves of their moods, for the sake of which they cast everything aside:
they are the worshippers of punctilio. On the other hand, the disposition of the true lover is
firm and enduring, so that it may be said that the Arrant is half adamant.

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

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