An Egyptian Father’s Advice to his Son: THE BOOK OF PTAH-HOTEP Ptah-Hotep was a feudal lord and a noted Egyptian sage from around 2600 BCE. A collection of wise sayings is ascribed to him, although scholars believe the work may be of a later date. The sayings take the form of advice that an aristocratic father gives to his son. Arrogance and Anger. The opening passages of the Book of Ptah-Hotep warn against displaying arrogance and anger. This is the beginning of the arrangement of the good sayings, spoken by the noble lord, the divine father, beloved of God, the son of the king, the firstborn of his race, the prefect and feudal lord Ptah-Hotep. It serves to instruct the ignorant in the knowledge of the arguments of the good sayings. It is profitable for those who hear them, it is a loss to those who violate them. He says to his son: Do not be arrogant because of that which you know; deal with the ignorant as with the learned. For, the barriers of art are not closed, since no artist possesses the perfection to which he should aspire. But good words are more difficult to find than the emerald, for it is by slaves that that is discovered among the rocks of pegmatite. . . . If you find a disputant while he is hot, and if he is superior to you in ability, lower your hands, bend your back, and do not get into a passion with him. As he will not let you destroy his words, it is utterly wrong to interrupt him; this announces that you are incapable of keeping yourself calm when you are contradicted. If you are involved with a disputant while he is hot, imitate one who does not stir. You have the advantage over him if you keep silence when he is uttering evil words. "The better of the two is he who is emotionless," say the bystanders, and you are right in the opinion of the great. (1) How are we advised to deal with confrontations with angry people?
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