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  • "i opened the book, picking a passage at random, and came across a tale about alexander the great. the emperor, as the story went, received as a gift some wondrous glass dishes. he liked the gifts very much, but smashed them all nonetheless. "why? are they not beautiful?" he was asked. "precisely because of that," he answered. "they are so beautiful that it would be hard for me to lose them. and with time they would break, one by one. and i would be sorrier than i am now."

    the tale was naive but it still astonished me. its lesson was bitter: one should renounce everything he might ever begin to love, because loss and disappointment are inevitable. we must renounce love in order not to lose it. we must destroy our love so that it will not be destroyed by others. we must renounce every attachment, because of the possibility of regret. this thought is cruelly hopeless. we cannot destroy everything we love; there will always be the possibility that others will destroy it for us."

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