If I were asked to sum up in a single phrase the main purpose of individual life I would express it as the enlargement of personality. Unless an individual can transcend the limits of class, sex, race, age and creed, his personality remains of necessity to that extent incomplete.
Every man, like narcissus, becomes enamored of the reflection of himself, only choosing a substance instead of a shadow. This love for any particular woman is self-love at second hand, vanity reflected, compound egotism.
Solitary we must be in life's great hours of moral decisions; solitary in pain and sorrow; solitary in old age and in our going forth at death. Fortunate the man who has learned what to do in solitude and brought himself to see what companionship he may discover in it, what fortitude, what content.
Our vanity is the constant enemy of our dignity.
In every age 'the good old days' were a myth. No one every thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.
We are too much inclined to underrate the power of moral influence, the influence of public opinion, and the influence of the principles to which great men - the lights of the world, and of the present age - have given their sanction.