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Welcome to Balthasar Gracian's "The Art of Worldly Wisdom" mailing list and website. In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest, wrote 300 aphorisms on living life effectively called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." The book stays relevent to modern day society and has been used such as Machiavelli's "The Prince" or Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" as a guidebook for everything from business to sports.

This website is updated daily with a new aphorism that is also sent out via email and RSS to our subscribers. For further reading consider this Balthasar Gracian biography or this searchable version of "The Art of Worldly Wisdom".

Aphorism #252
Neither belong entirely to Yourself nor entirely to Others.

Both are mean forms of tyranny. To desire to be all for oneself is the same as desiring tohave all for oneself. Such persons will not yield a jot or lose a tittle of their comfort. They are rarely beholden, lean on their own luck, and their crutch generally breaks. It is convenient at times to belong to others, that others may belong to us. And he that holds public office is no more nor less than a public slave, or let a man give up both berth and burthen, as the old woman said to Hadrian. On the other hand, others are all for others, which is folly, that always flies to extremes, in this case in a most unfortunate manner. No day, no hour, is their own, but they have so much too much of others that they may be called the slaves of all. This applies even to knowledge, where a man may know everything for others and nothing for himself. A shrewd man knows that others when they seek him do not seek him, but their advantage in him and by him.

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