Sunday, 15 January 2012

Underestimating yourself

For whatever a man imagines that he cannot do, he imagines it necessarily, and by that very imagination he is so disposed that in truth he cannot do what he imagines he cannot do. For so long as he imagines that he cannot do this or that, so long is he determined not to do it: and consequently, so long it is impossible to him that he should do it. However, if we pay attention to these things, which depend solely on opinion, we shall be able to conceive that a man should under-estimate himself.
Benedict Spinoza - Ethics – Boyle translation


James Higham said...

Not sure I can get my head around that at 08:19 a.m. Have to try it again later in the day.

A K Haart said...

JH - it's a bit convoluted, but Spinoza is saying that thinking you can't do something and not being able to do it are the same thing. It's all in the mind.