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Monday, November 30, 2015

Baltasar Gracian, The Art Of Worldy Wisdom

... I've been in need of some wisdom, who isn't?


I'm converting (trying to) some mind consuming thoughts into creativity...
I wronged someone nearer and dearer to my heart than I am... and I fear it might be irreparable.  Biggest mistake of my life yet. If I could change things and if the cost be shaving 10 years off my life, I wouldn't hesitate.

This blog is alive again.  It will revert to it's original prose.  But for now, I thought to change it up a bit.  At least to better ease my troubled mind and transform it to being less troubled.  Yoga helps, Qi Gong helps, meditation and conversations with my higher self/psyche has helped.  But I need to do more.  More of an outlet out into the universe through a digital means.  We shall see....

When I was 19 years old (nearly 20 years ago, yikes), I came across this book at a book sale:



My copy is quite vintage:
 Zoom-in of the writing on the bottom:
I love the first line- "This isn't a sweet treat for children"





It's a collection of 300 aphorisms written by a Spanish born Jesuit Priest.   Upon reading it, I couldn't tell a Jesuit wrote it. Then again, Jesuits are a peculiar bunch, to say the least.  I've met a few in my day...

"It might seem strange that after Spanish-born Baltasar Gracián’s collection of sayings were written in the 17th century they would find themselves on a modern-day nonfiction bestsellers list, but there is a bounty of timeless truth contained within The Art of Worldly Wisdom. That, along with the appealing Baroque style of Conceptismo – characterized by both an economy of, and a great deal of witty play with words – in which the book is written, produces an appealing and accessible guide to living and being a better version of yourself, and accounts for the renewed interest dating from the late 20th century"

A collection of 300 aphorisms on life and the way you should live or handle what life my throw your way...

The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica wrote of Gracián that "He has been excessively praised by Schopenhauer, whose appreciation of the author induced him to translate the Oráculo manual, and he has been unduly depreciated by Ticknor and others. He is an acute thinker and observer, misled by his systematic misanthropy and by his fantastic literary theories."

Nietzsche wrote of the Oráculo, "Europe has never produced anything finer or more complicated in matters of moral subtlety," and Schopenhauer, who translated it into German, considered the book "Absolutely unique... a book made for constant use...a companion for life" for "those who wish to prosper in the great world." A translation of the Oraculo manual from the Spanish by Joseph Jacobs (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited), first published in 1892, was a huge commercial success, with many reprintings over the years (most recently by Shambala). Jacobs’ translation is alleged to have been read by Winston Churchill, seven years later, on the ship taking him to the Boer Wars. 

I then came across the audio book (on tape, yes, cassette tape) and played it on repeat until the poor tape gave out on me.  My friends would even ask me to play it while they rode with me.  It truly has wonderful nuggets of truth an insight on many aspects of life.  I can't find a CD version.  The search continues.

A few years ago, I decided to pick the book up again and have been posting his ahporisms on facebook.  Yes, facebook.  Although fb mostly a cesspool of drama and egoism, it also has nuggets, diamonds poking through the mud, stars looking at you through a night sky polluted with city lights...

Not until recently this sage has received more "likes".  I will begin posting again.  More things to dissapate my weary mind during the storm.


The link to my homeboy Baltasar can be found



Care,

Slevin


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