Saturday, September 02, 2006

The misanthrope

The misanthrope is a man who avoids society, only to free himself from the trouble of being useful to it; who considers his neighbors only on the side of their defects, not knowing the art of combining their virtues with their vices, and of rendering the imperfections of other people tolerable by reflecting on his own.
He is more employed in finding out and punishing the guilty, than in devising means to reform them; and because he thinks his talents are not sufficiently valued and employed by his fellow citizens, or rather because they know his foibles and do not choose to be subject to his caprices, he talks of quitting cities, towns, and societies, and living in dens or deserts. – Saurin.

The part of this quote that struck me is "not knowing the art of combining their virtues with their vices". We are long on this with those we love, often overlooking vices entirely, but to the casual acquaintancee, we are often too short. Giving them up with the appearance of one or two vices.

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