I am often confronted by the necessity of standing by one of my empirical selves and relinquishing the rest. Not that I would not, if I could, be …. a great athlete and make a million year, be a wit, a bon-vivant and a lady killer, as well as a philosopher, a philanthropist and saint. But the thing is simply impossible.
The millionaire’s work would run counter to the saint’s; the bon-vivant and the philanthropist would trip each other up; the philosopher and the lady killer could not well keep house in the same tenement of clay. Such different characters may conceivably, at the outset of life, be alike possible for a man. But to make any one of them actual, the rest must more or less be suppressed.
So the seeker of his truest, strongest, deepest self must review the list carefully and pick out one on which to stake his salvation. All other selves thereupon become unreal, but the fortunes of his self are real. Its failures are real failures, its triumphs real triumphs carrying shame and gladness with them.