This is the fourth in my writing prompts using aphorisms from Gracian's Pocket Oracle.
Both reality and manner. Substance is not 'stance' enough: you must also heed circumstance. The wrong manner turns everything sour, even justice and reason. The right one makes up for everything: it turns a 'no' golden, sweetens truth, and makes even old age look pretty. The 'how' of things is very important, and a pleasant manner captures the affection of others. A bel portarse is precious in life. Speak and act well and you will get out of any difficult situation.
This one is straight-forward. It is more important how you deliver your message than the accuracy of the message. Gracian supports this by stating that even justice and reason can be undone by poor delivery, whereas the right manner of delivery 'makes up for everything'.
Maybe Gracian is so direct in this instance, because it is so hard for a younger person who is more idealistic to accept it.
Despite age and experience, I don't want to accept it. I want to believe truth exists, that something just will be accepted and that reason will be understood.
The sad fact is that Gracian appears to be mostly right.
It is too good to be true! We are taught if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, yet there are those people who keep putting 'it' out there and other people who keep accepting it as true, until they learn the hard way it is not.
Which brings us around to vanity. Gracian isn't saying directly that you are vain, but he is saying that vanity plays into what people want to believe and hence they do. If you want to get out of any given situation, you need to speak well and back it with your physical being - your expression and body language. It requires not one or two aspects only, but a complete package to achieve success.