drink and forget

“As you climb toward the throne of Command, on the very first step of success, you will come to a strange fountain where people try to slake the thirst of ambition. One of that fountain’s strange, contrary effects is that it makes us forget the past. I saw people drink from it and forget their former friends and acquaintances: witnesses to their former lowliness. They forgot even their brothers and sisters, and one drinker was such an arrogant barbarian that he did not recognize the father who engendered him, deleting from his memory all obligations, all favors received, wanting to be a creditor, not a debtor. Those who drank wanted to borrow, not to return. They forgot even themselves, and now that they were on the high seas, could barely remember that they had been spawned in puddles. They forgot all that could remind them of their dust and dung, all that would make them lower their feathers. They drank up ingratitude and affected gravity and remoteness, and wafted up strangely to their thrones, unable to recognize others, or recognize themselves. That is the way that honors change customs.”

-Balthazar Gracian

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