~ Abai Kunanbaev ~

Word Nineteen

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A child is not born a reasonable being. It is only by listening and watching, examining everything by touching and tasting, that it learns what is good and what is bad. The more a child sees and hears, the more it knows. One may learn a good deal by listening to wise men. It is not enough to be endowed with a brain—only by hearing and memorizing the teachings of the learnt and by avoiding vices one can grow up a complete person.

But if one listens to wise words either with excessive enthusiasm or, conversely, paying too little attention, without asking what may not be clear, trying to get to the heart of the matter or drawing one's own conclusions, even though one may feel the wisdom and justice of such good counsels— what is the use of listening?

What can you talk about with a man who does not know the value of words?

As one sage put it: better to heed a pig that recognizes you…

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