Thursday, January 29, 2009

For the boys and for men as well.

In one of my books, I found a very interesting work by William Hazlitt. Let me share it with you.
You seemed to take no notice of school fellows, or rather set yourself against them because they were strangers. They knew as little of you as you did of them. It would have been the reason for their keeping aloof from you, which you would have as a hardship. Never develop a prejudice against other because you know nothing of him. It is bad reasoning and makes enemy of half the world. Do not think ill of them until they behave ill to you. And then, strive to avoid the faults you see in them. This will disarm their hostility sooner than resentment or hatred. To criticize the dress of some the boys as not as good as your own is impolite. Never despise anyone for anything he cannot help. Keep up appearances yourself as a defence against the sneers of the world, but don’t value yourself upon them. I had rather said, “Never despise anyone at all”; for contempt implies a triumph over and pleasure in the ill of another. It means that you are glad and congratulate yourself upon their failings and misfortunes.
You have been used to have your own way a good deal at home. Now that you get among others who have something else to attend to besides humouring your whims and fancies; and you feel this as a repulse or piece of injustice. But it’s a lesson that you learn here that there are other people in the world besides yourself. The more airs of childish self-importance you give yourself, you will only expose yourself to be more thwarted and laughed at. True equality is the only true wisdom. Remember always that you are but one among others and you can hardly mistake your place in society. In the world you will find competitors at every turn. You can only share their fate, or settle your differences amicably with them.