Nor Should You Test Empirically Whether You Can Fly

[O]nly the good doubt their own goodness, which is what makes them good in the first place. The bad know they are good, but the good know nothing.
Paul Auster, Man in the Dark, p. 77

Hey, you could write boatloads of essays about that quotation, but what it reminded me of was breaking up with a girlfriend years back. I had rather good reasons and tried to express them as well as I could until, deep into our long and rather unpleasant exchange, she asked: "So you're saying I'm a bad person?" I was delighted that she had managed to express the gist of my winding explanations so succinctly in a pang of insight and answered in the full affirmative only to find that she had meant the question as a kind of reductio ad absurdum. Have you ever tried to convince someone she's a bad person? This is the sentence in which I'm supposed to say that that's one of those things you should do once in your life, but really, it isn't. Zero is the number of times I recommend.

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