George Andersen

Philosophical Counselor

Archive for the 'Elegance' Category

12 November

Nobility of Feeling

Cover of the book “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” sold by Amazon.

In the aphorism 131 included in his book “The Art of Worldly Wisdom”, Baltasar Gracian advises us to be noble in our feelings towards others.

“Nobility of Feeling

There is a certain distinction of the soul, a highmindedness prompting to gallant acts, that gives an air of grace to the whole character. It is not found often, for it presupposes great magnanimity. Its chief characteristic is to speak well of an enemy, and to act even better towards him. It shines brightest when a chance comes of revenge; not alone does it let the occasion pass, but it improves it by using a complete victory in order to display unexpected generosity. It is a fine stroke of policy, nay, the very acme of statecraft. It makes no pretence to victory, for it pretends to nothing, and while obtaining its deserts it conceals its merits.”

09 October

Elegance uplifts

Elegance has an uplifting quality to it. It inspires and nourishes our desire to improve ourselves.

20 September

Union of qualities in character

Cover of the book “Theaetetus” sold by Amazon.

“… he has a quickness of apprehension which is almost unrivalled, and he is exceedingly gentle, and also the most courageous of men; there is a union of qualities in him such as I have never seen in any other, and should scarcely have thought possible; for those who, like him, have quick and ready and retentive wits, have generally also quick tempers; they are ships without ballast, and go darting about, and are mad rather than courageous; and the steadier sort, when they have to face study, prove stupid and cannot remember. Whereas he moves surely and smoothly and successfully in the path of knowledge and enquiry; and he is full of gentleness, flowing on silently like a river of oil; at his age, it is wonderful.”

Plato’s “Theaetetus” translated by Benjamin Jowett (The Internet Classics Archive, as of October 18th, 2014)

In Plato’s “Theaetetus”, Theodorus describes Theaetetus to Socrates as being:

  • gentle
  • courageous
  • intelligent
  • even tempered
  • confident
  • smooth
  • flowing silently

A union of such qualities is not only desirable in character but also attainable. How? Through constant development, refinement, and harmonization of the virtues or characteristics that are part of our character.

16 November

Elegance is a display of good character

If elegance comes from within, it is likely the display of a good character.  Not all people with a good character show elegance, though. They have certain positive traits but elegant behaviour requires more than a few good traits.

In my humble opinion, these are some of the main character aspects the employment of which would likely result in elegant living:

  • Being able to let go
  • Belief in goodness of others
  • Care for others
  • Composure
  • Common sense
  • Courtesy
  • Good judgment
  • Intuition
  • Observation
  • Openness
  • Patience
  • Respect for oneself and others
  • Sense of duty
  • Simplicity
  • Thoughtfulness
19 October

Elegance is both an art and a science

It is an art because it requires subjectivity and finesse. It is a science because it requires objectivity and precision.

20 September

Elegance comes from within

To be elegant, it is not enough to be dressed well. Elegance comes from within effortlessly and it is not tainted by need for attention or interest.