Haters

“…I’ve been able to observe for long enough that I’m fairly confident the pattern works both ways: not only do people who do great work never become haters, haters never do great work. Although I dislike the word “fanboy,” it’s evocative of something important about both haters and fanboys. The fanboy is so slavishly predictable in his admiration that he’s diminished as a result. He’s less than a man. And I think this is true of haters too.”

-Paul Graham, “Haters.” PaulGraham.com. January 2020.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián

“Tis better to have a dispute with honourable people than to have a victory over dishonourable ones. You cannot treat with the ruined, for they have no hostages for rectitude. With them there is no true friendship, and their agreements are not binding, however stringent they may appear, because they have no feeling of honour. Never have to do with such men, for if honour does not restrain a man, virtue will not, since honour is the throne of rectitude.”

The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián

I’ve loved this book since I was in high school.

Insults are Free!

“Once there was a disciple of a renowned Greek philosopher who was handed an odd assignment. He was commanded by his Master to give money to everyone who insulted him for a period of three years. Wanting very much to achieve spiritual awakening, this student did exactly what he was told. Every time he was insulted, he gave money to the person who insulted him, no matter how galling the experience was.

When this rather lengthy trial was over, the Master summoned the young man to his quarters and said to him: ‘Now you can go to Athens, for you are ready to learn wisdom.’

The disciple was elated, and he set off for Athens. Just before he entered the great city, however, he saw a certain wise man sitting at the gate insulting everybody who came and went. Naturally, the moment this fellow saw the disciple he insulted him, too.

‘Hey!’ he cried out to the student, ‘How did you get to be so ugly and stupid? I have never before seen anyone as ridiculous looking as you.’

But instead of taking offense, the disciple just burst out laughing.

‘Why do you laugh when I insult you?’ asked the wise man.

‘Because,’ said the disciple, ‘for three whole years I have been paying for this kind of thing and now you give it to me for NOTHING!’

‘Enter the city,’ said the wise man. ‘It is all yours.'”

—Ward, Benedicta. tr. “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.” Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1984.