Smith On Overcoming Self-Delusion

“He is a bold surgeon, they say, whose hand does not tremble when he performs an operation upon his own person; and he is often equally bold who does not hesitate to pull off the mysterious veil of self-delusion, which covers from his view the deformities of his own conduct.” – Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

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Homer

…that man of song

whom the Muse cherished; by her gift he knew

the good life, and evil –

for she who lent him sweetness made him blind.

The Odyssey (trans. Robert Fitzgerald)

James Joyce

“How foolish his aim had been! He had tried to build a break-water of order and elegance against the sordid tide of life without him and to dam up, by rules of conduct and active interest and new filial relations, the powerful recurrence of the tides within him. Useless. From without as from within the waters had flowed over his barriers: their tides began once more to jostle fiercely above the crumbled mole.”

A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man