The philosophical injunction, "Know thyself," first met with in the school-day copy-books, always seemed particularly silly to me. Without understanding, I questioned in an unthinking way, Who knows as much about me as I myself? My likes and aversions, my hopes, ambitions, tastes, endeavors, defeats, victories, my unsuitable environment and the situation I would choose for myself had I control of my destiny,—how can any one not know more of himself than any other can know of him, no matter how wise?

Alas, how sure, how positive, how ignorant the uninstructed mortal thought can be! The things I could not possibly know of myself, until the light of self-examination should reveal them, were all important, while the absorbing acquaintance with personal desires, the never-ceasing study of means to gratify them, the continuous education in the line of pride of acquisition, and the development of artistic sensitiveness, all in a merely intellectual domain, were of little even relative value. Habits of invariable kindness, of scrupulous regard for the rights of others, the need of earning, and thus being rightly entitled to the possession of what we would have, consideration of one's position in the world and the duties arising from his place,—these important matters are not disclosed by the knowledge which is derived from self-centeredness; and it is clear that the supposed self-acquaintance which seems so obvious and certain is no knowledge at all, but ignorance,—ignorance so complete, so dense as to be quite unconscious and utterly unable upon its own initiative to seek enlightenment.

January 21, 1911

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