Be A Person of Observation and Judgment

Gracian wrote of this maxim:

Such a person rules things, not they him. He quickly plumbs the most profound depths. He knows how to get at the anatomy of character. On seeing a person he understands him and judges his inmost nature. From a few observations he deciphers what is most hidden. Keen observation, subtle insight, judicious inference - with these he discovers, notices, grasps, and comprehends everything.

I have been reconciling this with reading from Marcus Aurelius, who follows the time tested rule of repetition, having communicated to me: 1. Don't waste your time thinking about other people, and why they do anything, 2. Constantly examine yourself, 3. Be honorable in everything. But even he failed to always follow this model. But that is a discussion for another day.

I have been wrestling with these two opposing views of understanding those around me. Frankly, I feel better when I take the Stoic approach. Don't care, nor do I wish to - as to the nature and root of why those around me do what they do. I can make myself crazy trying to unravel neurosis other than my own. This compared to Gracian's maxim here - which suggests that true wisdom comes with being able to observe deeply, and the ability to do it intuitively.

Probably yet another of the balances that must be struck. I think that Aurelius is right about 80% of the time. The remaining 20%, it is probably important to strive to look deeper. Of course, then arises the quandary of how one develops this ability (because it seems to me it must be learned) when it is done fairly rarely.

It should be an interesting week.


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