Like is Known Only by Like

The Pythagorean {See Porphyry, de Vita Pythagorae} principle that like is known only by like is in many respects a true one. It explains how it is that every man understands his fellow only in so far as he resembles him, or, at least, is of a similar character. What one man is quite sure of perceiving in another is that which is common to all, namely, the vulgar, petty or mean elements of our nature; here every man has a perfect understanding of his fellows; but the advantage which one man has over another does not exist for the other, who, be the talents in question as extraordinary as they may, will never see anything beyond what he possesses himself, for the very good reason that this is all he wants to see. If there is anything on which he is in doubt, it will give him a vague sense of fear, mixed with pique; because it passes his comprehension, and therefore is uncongenial to him.

Arthur Schopenhauer

The Art of Controversy and Other Posthumous Papers, 1896, (pp. 71-72) Translated by T. Bailey Saunders, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.

~ by Thanatologist on 2009-08-20.

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