The most interesting paradox

Goethe once said: “If you treat a man as he is, you make him worse than he is; if you treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, you make him what he should be.” If you apply this to yourself it pushes you to overestimate what you think you can do, and attempt what you once thought unreachable. The ancient Greek sages, on the other hand, used to say “Know thyself.” In other words, know your strengths, weaknesses and desires. Both quotes originate from very wise people, and when seen individually they make sense, each on its own merit. The first one pushes you to become a better person, the second one advises you to refrain from juggling knives if you’re juggling for the first time. The paradox arises when you try to take them both into account. How will you draw limits on what you can do and what you can not? How far should you try to push those limits? Hard questions, admitting no generic answers.

The most interesting paradox

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