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Manners and Morals

Manners and Morals

Knowledge and good intention

Monday, October 31, 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 # 16:

Knowledge and good intention. They ensure repeated success. Sound understanding and evil intent have always been a monstrous and violent union. Malevolent intention poisons all perfection; aided by knowledge, it harms with greater subtlety. How miserable any eminent quality when used to cause harm! Knowledge without sense, double folly.

Double folly? So what? You think malevolent intention worries about folly?

I’m afraid Gracián knows all too well the potency and efficacy of the pairing of knowledge with malevolent intent. A monstrous and violent union indeed. But so what? It works. Sound understanding may call it “miserable” but malevolent intent doesn’t worry about sound understanding either.

Nice try anyway, Mr. Gracián!

But for those without malevolent intent then knowledge and good intention might very well ensure repeated success.


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