"Do you know what it is that destroys virtue, and where wisdom comes from? Virtue is destroyed by fame, and wisdom comes out of wrangling. Fame is something to beat people down with, and wisdom is a device for wrangling. Both are evil weapons - not the sort of thing to bring you success. Though your virtue may be great and your good faith unassailable, if you do not understand men's spirits, though your fame may be wide and you do not strive with others, if you do not understand men's minds, but instead appear before a tyrant and force him to listen to sermons on benevolence and righteousness, measures and standards - this is simply using other men's bad points to parade your own excellence. You will be called a plaguer of others. He who plagues others will be plagued in turn. You will probably be plagued by this man.Fame blows everything out of proportion. You get told you are beautiful, smart, savvy, or kind, not because you actually are beautiful, smart, savvy or kind, but because others want access to you and they are afraid that, if they call it like they see it, you will cut them off. So, they tell you what you want to hear and your life soon becomes nothing more than an echo chamber.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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