Consolatione Philosophiae, 525 A.D.
"What an obvious mistake to make--to think that anything can be enhanced by decoration that does not belong to it. It's impossible. For if there is anything striking in the decoration, that is what is praised, while the veiled and hidden object continues just the same in all its ugliness."
Comment ("C"): Focus on your personality, not on your accessories.
". . . honor is not accorded to virtue because of the office held, but to the office because of the virtue of the holder."
C: I chose this quote when I was in my twenties, a very long time ago. Have the years confirmed its wisdom! Since that time, I have known and know judges without any judgment whatsoever. Never confuse an office or a position with genuine worth. In many cases, there is an inverse or negative relation between the requirements of an office and the worth of its occupant. (Book II)
"Imprudence may deceive itself, but it cannot alter the true value of things, and the ruling of Socrates that it is quite wrong to assent to falsehood and conceal truth forbids me either to hide truth or be party to untruth." (Book II)
C: Thinks of so many instances of deception and fraud (many not involving money at all, but rather character) that have damaged so many of us. The deceptive can count on the fact that eventually all is revealed.
"But it is said, when a man comes to high office, that makes him worthy of honor and respect. Surely such offices don't have the power of planting virtue in the minds of those who hold them, do they? Or of removing vices? No: the opposite is true. More often than removing wickedness, high office brings it to light, and this is the reason why we are angry at seeing how often high office has devolved upon the most wicked of men--why Catullus calls Nonius a kind of malignant growth, in spite of the office he held." (Book IV)
C: Well, we see this truth on a daily basis. Many seek to falsely flatter as sycophants those who hold office in the hope of gaining some favor or some reflection of social prestige and status or in the hope of eventually succeeding to the occupation of the same office. Yet, many voters on many occasions fall for the false flattery. Think of the politicians obviously caught with their hands in the cookie jar who get re-elected--it does not just happen in places like Detroit or D.C. It also happens in politically conservative Republican territory. The great lie is that electoral success automatically equals worth. It doesn't. It never will.