[Western Wall]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 18: Evening


In conversation boldnesse now bears sway.

But know, that nothing can so foolish be,

As empty boldnesse: therefore first assay

To stuffe thy minde with solid braverie;

     Then march on gallant: get substantiall worth.

     Boldnesse guilds finely, and will set it forth.

          In conversation boldness is now in fashion. But [you should] know that nothing is as foolish as empty arrogance; therefore, first choose to stuff your mind with grounded courage; then march on confident: get substantial worth. Boldness gilds well, and will set it forth.

          Some things and people never change. Boldness, arrogance and loud confidence return to popularity in conversation, politics and entertainment. They return to common use because we continue to be impressed, entertained and influenced by the show of confidence. We keep forgetting how empty it is. The appearance of bravery attracts us, regardless of reality. Acting confidently exhilarates us, attracts others and hides what we are (even from ourselves). Sometimes we want to forget the truth and wish to believe the show, the acting out of the illusion. Even when we know the inner shallowness of the boldness, we expect and enjoy the exhibition for the entertainment alone. We anticipate the show of confidence. We accept Virtual Reality as True Reality. The appearance makes it a reality for us most of the time.

          True confidence grows from knowledge and experience, encouragement and knowing what you have been able to do. The more you do something the better you become and the more confident you are to do it again and, even, to attempt what you have not done before. Those who have the ability do not have to make a show of confidence. Get the basics first, and the rest will follow. The show of confidence on top of true confidence shows it off well, and you have the substance to support it.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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