The Wisdom of Baltasar Gracián

Unknown-1In his Orácular Manual y Arte de Prudencia, translated into English as The Art of Wordly Wisdom, Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658), a Jesuit philosopher, wrote 300 stunning aphorisms that could today be considered just as practical as they were for his time. Although his name is obscure in the circles of philosophy, his unequaled rhetoric makes him a shining lover of wisdom.

#4: “Wisdom backed by courage makes greatness. Because they are immortal, they immortalize […] Understanding and will are the eyes and the hands; without courage, the mind is dead.”

#52: “Never lose your head […] Composure marks the great passion of a noble heart, for all greatness is hard to throw off balance […] wherefore have such mastery over self,  and be so strong, that nothing, either in the greatest fortune or in the greatest adversity, can upset you, remaining superior even to the admiration of this feat.”

#133: “Better a fool with the crowd, than a sage by yourself […] I am strongly urged to turn this aphorims about and say: Better wise with the rest of the wise, than a fool by yourself. Still some find distinction in making fools of themselves.”

#239: “Not too smart, for it is more important to be wise: To display too much edge is to go dull, for what is too pointed commonly breaks off […] Best is a good level judgment that does not wander afield more than may be necessary.”

#298: “Three things make the prodigy, and they are the greatest gifts of divine generosity: a fertile mind, a deep understanding, and a cultivated taste.”

 

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One thought on “The Wisdom of Baltasar Gracián

  1. Pingback: The Wisdom of Baltasar Gracián Pt. 2 | Neologikon

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