None are more taken in by flattery than the proud, who wish to be the first and are not. – Baruch Spinoza
What does that mean?
This quote talks about flattery and why it works better on some people than on others. Those most easily influenced by flattery, the quote says, are the proud. Their pride really wants to believe what the flatterer has to say.
They are especially vulnerable if they are less than the best, as the flattery allows them to believe that they are actually the best. This is the leverage the flatterer uses to wield influence.
Subtly inferred in this quote is a warning to not be influenced by flattery nor by the flatterer. Knowing this quote, even the proud can have some measure of protection. Hopefully you won’t need such protection, right? 8)
Why is keeping an eye on your desire important?
Desire can be a powerful motivator. Like everything else, it can be overdone. Too much desire can corrupt your motivation and lead to problems and vulnerabilities. The desire to be something you are not, the quote says, can lead you to have your head turned by the flatterer.
The quote says that the proud could find this vulnerability very troublesome. To be “taken in” is just another way of saying that you were deceived, that you believed the flatterer’s lies and half-truths. That the flatterers are able to manipulate you. That can be dangerous, if they convince you to act in a manner against your best interests.
And this is precisely why one needs to keep their desire under control. Yes you can have desires, but they must be kept in balance with the rest of your life, and not be allowed to dictate your actions. This is what the flatterer tries to take advantage of, so this is something that probably should be avoided it when possible.
Where can I apply this in my life?
None of us are that naive, right? I would guess otherwise, at least at some point in your life. How long has it been since you were on a date? Have you forgotten how you feel when someone tells you how pretty, handsome, hot, smart or funny you are? From what I can recall, things are usually pretty intense, as you try to be first on their list (at least for a guy trying to impress a girl).
How many of you can remember a time when you did something really stupid to try get some praise, to be told you’re first? I know I did. If this just brought back some painful memories, my apologies. Sometimes these lessons are learned and then forgotten again, or not applied in other situations.
Dating is one of the places where this quote is useful to us in today’s world. Flattery, as underhanded as it might be, can also be used against anyone who is proud. From getting the best assignment from your boss to working the judge to get out of a speeding ticket, flattery can be a useful tool. Just be careful of the ethics, right? You don’t want to get a reputation.
Grab some paper and write down the last four or five things you did that were pretty stupid. Things that were against your better nature or you interests. Now take a moment and try to remember why you thought it was a good idea at the time. Yes, alcohol might have been involved, but someone must have said something to get you thinking about doing it, right?
Look at each event and try to figure out what kind of flattery, what appeal was used to get you to do the somewhat less than brilliant thing? Was it a pretty girl, was it a buddy talking about impressing a pretty girl? Was it an attempt to be noticed or appear sexy? Was it making stuff up in a conversation to try to sound more important or intelligent? Or were you sitting there, listening to someone, trying to make them feel important?
Dares and cajoling also count in this, because when a buddy says ‘Are you chicken?’ they are implying that you are not up to it, not ‘first.’ By accepting the challenge, you are trying to prove you are first, right? Girls, I’m not sure how things work for you, but from what I’ve seen, there are things like that going on, right? In any case, I think you get the idea.
How does one become less easily flattered? I believe that caution, moderation of the emotions and a general sense of self-worth are all necessary to reduce our vulnerability to flattery. The problem is that if we make ourselves flattery-proof, we are very dull company. Like most of life, it’s a balancing act.
If you can reign in your ego and your pride and it becomes easier. But you will still have to watch out for those smooth talkers. 8)
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/baruchspin155817.html
Photo by frotzed2