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We dislike books which say things we dislike, and so make us dislike ourselves. On the other hand, we have an unhappy tendency to become attached to those which inflame our delusions, excuse our character flaws, and flatter our vanity. The truth is that our mind requires, to maintain its health, a much stricter diet than it is accustomed to. More bitter foods bring it greater nourishment. But we indulgently feed it what it craves most and finds most delicious, thereby reinforcing our habits and preferences and perpetuating our inveterate slavery to them. Is there any way out of this trap? If someone has succeeded in escaping from the prison of self-love, why doesn’t history record his name? . . . Let us try, now, to imagine a book whose contents we would normally construe as a pitiless attack on everything we hold dearest and identify with most strongly, but so cunningly and seductively written that instead of adopting toward it the lofty and scornful tone of the critic, instead of simply dismissing it as bad, we would succumb to it as if to a wizard’s spell. No sooner would we have finished reading this anomalous (I had almost said, miraculous) tome than we would renounce all of the ideas we had hitherto clung to and so break free at last of that oppressive and delusive “self” which had solidified around them—that unconsciously fabricated monstrosity which, with so much conviction, we call I. Does such a book, can such a book, be found—anywhere? Perhaps not. Perhaps each man, in a supremely heroic act of positive suicide, must write it for himself.