A Man at his Highest Point


Of late I've been dipping occasionally into The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658), a collection of three hundred mini-essays on life. Here is the sixth of them:

A Man at his Highest Point.

We are not born perfect: every day we develop in our personality and in our calling till we reach the highest point of our completed being, to the full round of our accomplishments, of our excellences. This is known by the purity of our taste, the clearness of our thought, the maturity of our judgment, and the firmness of our will. Some never arrive at being complete; somewhat is always awanting: others ripen late. The complete man, wise in speech, prudent in act, is admitted to the familiar intimacy of discreet persons, is even sought for by them.

I think this is yet another connection to my book The Tao of Roark (which takes as its underlying theme the four human capacities of thought, choice, action, and feeling). For, according to Gracián, a complete human being possesses clearness of thought, maturity of judgment or choice, firmness of will with regard to action, and purity of taste or feeling.

Yes, I know, see this tetrad everywhere; but it's gratifying to find it in such a wide variety of wise thinkers.

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal