To Speak the Truth to Ourselves

Lev Shestov “Introduction,” Penultimate Words and Other Essays, (Boston: John W. Luce and Co., 1916), p.ix:

We have an impulse to honesty, to think honestly, to see honestly, and to speak the truth to ourselves in the lonely hours. It is only an impulse, which, in these barren, bitter years, so quickly withers and dies. It is almost that we dare not be honest now. Our hearts are dead: we cannot wake the old wounds again. And yet if anything of this generation that suffered is to remain, if we are to hand any spark of the fire which once burned so brightly, if we are to be human still, then we must still be honest at whatever cost.

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