The art of worldly wisdom


‘Cultivate relationships with those who can teach you. Let friendly intercourse be a school of knowledge, and let culture be taught through conversation. Thus you make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction. We are always attracted to others by our own interest, but in this case it is of a higher kind. Wise people frequent the houses of great nobility as theatres of heroism not temples of vanity. They are renowned for their worldly wisdom, not only for being oracles of all nobleness by their example and their behaviour, but because those who surround them form a courtly academy of worldly wisdom of the best and noblest kind.’

Balthasar Gracián: The art of worldly wisdom (1637)