“To complain always brings discredit. Better to be a model of self-reliance opposed to the passion of others than an object of their compassion. For complaining opens the way for the hearer to act like those we are complaining of, and to disclose one insult forms an excuse for another. By complainig of past offenses we give occasion for future ones, and in seeking aid or counsel we only obtain indifference or contempt. It is much more polite to praise a person’s favours, so that others may feel obliged to follow suit. To recount the favours we owe the absent is to demand similar ones from those present, and thus we sell our credit with the one to the other. The shrewd will therefore never publish to the world his failures or his defects, but only those marks of consideration that serve to keep friendship alive and enmity silent.”

#129 The Art of Worldly Wisdom, B. Gracian orginally published 1637 ce


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