Essay No. 20:
All That Glitters Is Not Gold Tis, not the fairest form that holds
The mildest, purest soul within;
Tis, not the riches plant that holds,
The sweetest fragrance in. (DOWES)
Appearances are often deceptive and things are not what they seem. The world is full of goodly apples rotten at the core’, and men generally judge more from appearance than from reality, because they do not possess penetrating eyes. Things are taken at their face value and their real worth remains undiscovered. This is the real picture of life as we know it.
“All that glitters is not gold” is a proverb to guide men through the pitfalls of life. It tells young sojourner through life not to trust his eyes because so much of what we see is an illusion. We have to probe through the exterior and go behind the surface show of things before we can know the reality. The world teaches us to be fashionable. Simulation is encouraged by society.
The man of temper is taught to smile; the ugly woman to appear attractive by false hair, powder and rogue and silken dress; the vilest enemy to be polite and feign friendship, the diplomat to look sincere; the man of no wealth to dress gaudily and trust like a peacock; the man of no parts to play the Solomon; the illiterate to cover his ignorance by a few glib phrases called etiquette in the worldly code and so on.
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Similarly, in trade, things of no value are made to acquire a sham value. Ordinary stones are given the appearance of precious stones by the clever device of the foil. Base metals are palmed off as gold by a fine polish; cloths of inferior texture are made attractive by the tinsel or coloured paper. In fact, it seems as if deception is an accomplishment in the modern world.
What is necessary is a concerted action on the part of the educated people to break this general system that favours deception. The civilized soul should be made to respect the true worth and not external advantages, because, as Shakespeare puts it, “There is no voice so simple, but assumes some mark of virtue on its outward parts”.