Caring means cultivating the skills of an active listener. That is easier said than done, as an anecdote about the extraordinary social skills of British politicianBenjamin Disraeli and his rival William Gladstone illustrates... The rivalry between the two statesmen piqued the curiosity of American Jennie Jerome, admired beauty and the mother of Winston Churchill. Ms. Jerome arranged to dine with Gladstone and then with Disraeli, on consecutive evenings. Afterward, she described the difference between the two men this way: "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But when I sat next to Disraeli, I left feeling that I was the cleverest woman.
When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our name, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself.
The greatness of a popular character is less according to the ratio of his genius than the sympathy he shows with the prejudices and even the absurdities of his time. Fanatics do not select the cleverest but the most fanatical leaders as was evidenced in the choice of Robespierre by the French Jacobins, and in that of Cromwell by the English Puritans.
Alphonse de Lamartine
Puns are little "plays on words" that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water.
If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.
He wanted to be loved for being just what he was. In this community of Yskalnari there was harmony, but no love. He no longer wanted to be the greatest, strongest or cleverest. He had left all that far behind. He longed to be loved just as he was, good or bad, handsome or ugly, clever or stupid, with all his faults - or possibly because of them. But what was he actually? He no longer knew. So much have been given to him in Fantastica, and now, among all these gifts and powers, he could no longer find himself.
You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being. Aristotle was an encyclopedic polymath, an all time intellect. Yet not only can you know more than him about the world. You also can have a deeper understanding of how everything works. Such is the privilege of living after Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Watson, Crick and their colleagues. I'm not saying you're more intelligent than Aristotle, or wiser. For all I know, Aristotle's the cleverest person who ever lived. That's not the point. The point is only that science is cumulative, and we live later.
The most interesting acquaintanceship I have struck up here is that of Colonel Lapinski. He is without doubt the cleverest Pole -- besides being an homme d'action [man of action] -- that I have ever met. His sympathies are all on the German side, though in manners and speech he is also a Frenchman. He cares nothing for the struggle of nationalities and only knows the racial struggle. He hates all Orientals, among whom he numbers Russians Turks, Greeks, Armenians, etc., with equal impartiality.... His aim now is to raise a German legion in London...
Well, " he said with equanimity, "you see, in my opinion there is no point at all in talking about music. I never talk about music. What reply, then, was I to make to your very able and just remarks? You were perfectly right in all you said. But, you see, I am a musician, not a professor, and I don't believe that, as regards music, there is the least point in being right. Music does not depend on being right, on having good taste and education and all that." "Indeed. Then what does it depend on?" "On making music, Herr Haller, on making music as well and as much as possible and with all the intensity of which one is capable. That is the point, Monsieur. Though I carried the complete works of Bach and Haydn in my head and could say the cleverest things about them, not a soul would be the better for it. But when I take hold of my mouthpiece and play a lively shimmy, whether the shimmy be good or bad, it will give people pleasure. It gets into their legs and into their blood. That's the point and that alone. Look at the faces in a dance hall at the moment when the music strikes up after a longish pause, how eyes sparkle, legs twitch and faces begin to laugh. That is why one makes music.
A thousand years or more ago, When I was newly sewn, There lived four wizards of renown, Whose name are still well-known: Bold Gryffindor from wild moor, Fair Ravlenclaw from glen, Sweet Hufflepuff from valley broad, Shrewd Slytherin from fen. They share a wish, a hope, a dream, They hatched a daring plan, To educate young sorcerers, Thus Hogwarts school began. Now each of these four founders Formed their own house, for each Did value different virtues, In the ones they had to teach. By Gryffindor, the bravest were Prized far beyond the rest; For Ravenclaw, the cleverest Would always be the best; For Hufflepuff, hardworkers were Most worthy of admission; And power-hungry Slytherin Loved those of great ambition. While still alive they did divide Their favourates from the throng, Yet how to pick the worthy ones When they were dead and gone? 'Twas Gryffindor who found the way, He whipped me off his head The founders put some brains in me So I could choose instead! Now slip me snug around your ears, I've never yet been wrong, I'll have alook inside your mind And tell where you belong!