There is no greater poison to a man’s sensibilities than the habit of gossip. The more he indulges in the cheap thrill of defaming the depiction of others, the cloudier does his clarity upon his own character slide down a perilous hill of obscurity. A man’s capacity to see himself as he really is requires consistent attention, and the energy for such efforts is always in limited supply. As he directs his gaze in an exaggerated way towards the perceived faults of those around him, he deprives himself of the self-knowledge that would otherwise allow him to understand that everything that bothers him about others is a direct reflection of his own depravities and weaknesses. His vision of the world will always be a reflection of the inner vision he is in possession of with regard to himself, this mirror that arranges his moods and points of view at any given moment. The inherent sense of conscience and emotional receptivity is a sensitive field of awareness that can easily and quickly become covered by layers of ignorance — that is, his lazy avoidance of the truth about his own nature. Sooner or later the walls built between sincerity and pretense grow to such a size and scope that he loses his original wits and sees only a skewed reflection of reality.