The Mirage of Man

You want to study psychology, but you have no psyche — so how can you study what does not exist yet? You wish to know yourself as a man, but you are not a man yet, only a machine; so you must begin to study yourself as a machine. Psychology is only the study of other people’s ideas; it is far better to study yourself than to study other people’s fantasies. ~ G

. . .

…if we examine this conception of “man,” we see at once that it is made up of features which belong not to one man but to a number of known or supposed separate individuals. We never meet such a man in real life, neither in the present nor as a historical personage in the past. For every man has his own weaknesses and if you look closely the mirage of greatness and power disintegrates.

But the most interesting thing is not that people clothe others in this mirage but that, owing to a peculiar feature of their own psyche, they transfer it to themselves, if not in its entirety, at least in part as a reflection. And so, although they are almost nonentities, they imagine themselves to be that collective type or not far removed from it.

But if a man knows how to be sincere with himself—not sincere as the word is usually understood, but mercilessly sincere —then, to the question “What are you?” he will not expect a comforting reply. ~G

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