27 September 2013

Know Thyself

George Moore, "Degas," Impressions and Opinions (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1913), p. 223:
Expend not your strength in vain struggling in the illusive world, which tempts you out of yourself; success and failure lie within and not without you; know yourself, and seek to bring yourself into harmony with the Will from which you cannot escape, but to which you may bring yourself into obedience, and so obtain peace.
Edgar Degas, Portrait d'Edmond Duranty (1879)

Arthur Schopenhauer, "Character," On Human Nature, tr. Thomas Bailey Saunders (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1897), p. 91:
Since a man does not alter, and his moral character remains absolutely the same all through his life; since he must play out the part which he has received, without the least deviation from the character; since neither experience, nor philosophy, nor religion can effect any improvement in him, the question arises, What is the meaning of life at all? To what purpose is it played, this farce in which everything that is essential is irrevocably fixed and determined? 
It is played that a man may come to understand himself, that he may see what it is that he seeks and has sought to be; what he wants, and what, therefore, he is. This is a knowledge which must be imparted to him from without