We want to believe in ourselves always, and we want to believe that the Emperor is wearing fine clothes, but he is not. It is only the brave and honest child that says so. Let us try to be brave, therefore, and to speak with the simplicity and directness of children. This requires honesty, first and foremost with ourselves. This noble quality – as an exhortation to acknowledge and speak the truth – needs that we are first willing to do so. Hence the bravery. Our stubborn or terrified refusal to acknowledge the truth of something if that truth is abhorrent to us is something that requires great courage.
This is especially true because the subject of our inquiry, the essential source of our problems, is ourselves. I find it to be a relatively straightforward matter to identify problems that are Over There, but it is quite another matter to admit the defects and deficiencies of my own soul. A consideration and reassessment of the first part of this statement – the problems with Over There – is the necessary beginning point of our inquiry, disconcerting though it may be.