Live according to common practice. Even knowledge must keep in fashion; when it’s not, you need to know how to appear ignorant. Reasoning and taste change with the times. You shouldn’t reason and debate in and old-fashioned way and your taste should be up-to-the-minute. The preference of the majority sets the standard in all things. Follow it while it lasts, and move towards eminence. A sensible person must adapt the trappings of both body and soul to the fashion of the times, even if the past seems better. Only in matters of goodness does this rule of life not apply, for you should always practise virtue. Telling the truth and keeping your word are unknown today and seem like things from the past. Good men, though always loved, seem relics of better times, and so even if there happen to be any, they’re not emulated because they’re not in fashion. The misfortune of your century, that virtue is taken as unusual and malice as the norm! Let those with discretion live as they can, if not as they would prefer, and consider what fortune had given them to be better than what it has denied.

Baltasar Gracián