Scrutiny often creates what it seeks


17 July 2006, 11.28 CET

“I do not think there is much to be gained from those soul-searchings in which one always manages to discover bad motives for any action. One will even invent them for the satisfaction of appearing more perceptive to oneself, and on the other hand, one tends to neglect, for fear of overpraise, any component of natural goodness or sociability or, to put it better: of amiability, or better still: of the desire to seem amiable. But by watching oneself too much, one ceases to live. Here scrutiny creates what it seeks …”

—André Gide. Quoted by Denis de Rougemont. Les Personnes du Drame [Dramatic Personages]. Paris: Librarie Gallimard, 1947. English translation by Richard Howard. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964.