XIX-XXII The Art of Worldly Wisdom


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Posted by Wisdom Book on February 23, 2010 at 13:37:19:

xix Arouse no Exaggerated Expectations on entering.
It is the usual ill-luck of all celebrities not to fulfill afterwards the expectations beforehand formed of them. The real can never equal the imagined, for it is easy to form ideals but very difficult to realize them. Imagination weds Hope and gives birth to much more than things are in themselves. However great the excellences, they never suffice to fulfill expectations, and as men find themselves disappointed with their exorbitant expectations they are more ready to be disillusions than to admire. Hope is a great falsifier of truth; let skill guard against this by ensuring that fruition exceeds desire. A few creditable attempts at the beginning are sufficient to arouse curiosity without pledging one to the final object. It is better that reality should surpass the design and is better than was thought. This rule does not apply to the wicked, for the same exaggeration is a great aid to them; they are defeated amid general applause, and what seemed at first extreme ruin comes to be thought quite bearable.


xx A Man of the Age.
The rarest individuals depend on their age. It is not every one that finds the age he deserves, and even when he finds it he does not always know how to utilise it. Some men have been worthy of a better century, for every species of good does not always triumph. Things have their period; even excellences are subject to fashion. The sage has one advantage: he is immortal. If this is not his century many others will be.

xxi The Art of being Lucky.
There are rules of luck: it is not all chance with the wise: it can be assisted by care. Some content themselves with placing them-selves confidently at the gate of Fortune, waiting till she opens it. Others do better, and press forward and profit by their clever boldness, reaching the goddess and winning her favor on the wings of their virtue and valor. But on a true philosophy there is no other umpire than virtue and insight; for there is no luck or ill-luck except wisdom and the reverse.

xxii A Man of Knowledge to the Point.
Wise men arm themselves with tasteful and elegant erudition; a practical knowledge of what is going on not of a common kind but more like an expert. They possess a copious store of wise and witty sayings, and of noble deeds, and know how to employ them on fitting occasions. More is often taught by a jest than by the most serious teaching. Pat knowledge helps some more than the seven arts, be they ever so liberal.




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