Manners and Morals

Manners and Morals

Deal with people from whom you can learn

Friday, September 30, 2011

By Pendar

This blog is part of the series Not So Ancient Wisdom, based on Baltasar Gracián’s The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence.

Aphorism # 11:

Deal with people from whom you can learn. Let friendly interchange be a school of erudition, and conversation, civilized instruction. Make friends your teachers, joining learning’s usefulness and conversation’s pleasure. The intelligent combine two pleasures, enjoying the applause that greets what they say and the instruction received from what they hear. Usually, we are drawn to someone through our own interest, but here, that interest in ennobled. The circumspect frequent the company of eminent individuals whose houses are theatres of greatness rather than palaces of vanity. There are those renowned for their discretion whose example and behavior are oracles in all matters of greatness and whose entourages are also courtly academies of good and gallant discretion.

Sigh and alas… Where are the “eminent individuals” from whom we can learn? “Theaters of greatness”? Most likely underground. “Good and gallant discretion”? Probably shut up.

And where also are the good and gallant to sit at the foot of masters, exercising the gift of hearing rather than the gift of expressing opinions?

“Palaces of vanity” are occupied from top to bottom.



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