The best writer writes as the most intimate friend speaks, namely as though he were talking to himself, and for himself. He also hesitates to take his writing too seriously, and may even be suspicious of it.

The best teacher is not the one who can answer all your questions, but rather the one who knows how to ask questions, and what the right questions are. One does not guide a soul by pointing into the hazy distance and declaring “Go there,” but by stepping onto a path while glancing over one’s shoulder to suggest, “Perhaps we should try this way.”

The best statesman is the one most loath to participate in politics. Ideally, one should have to force the man to govern at gunpoint. Until you have tested him by forcing him into office against his will and better judgment, perhaps even having to shoot him in the leg to prove the sincerity of your threat, you will never be able to trust him. In fact, until he passes that test of ultimate refusal, you will know for certain that you can never fully trust him with power.

The best mind is the one that thinks without vested interests, without anyone to impress (including oneself), without an eye on any audience (including oneself), without a prize on the table — without any subtext of security, advancement, affection, glory, or the approval of other minds. Every thought colored by a tinge of such considerations, even subliminally, is a compromised thought, and will issue in compromised conclusions — or rather, in conclusiveness as such, which is the interest of the self, not of the soul.

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