I am more interested in knowing myself better than in knowing most things external to myself. I think of it as knowing your tools being more important than knowing your project. If you know your tools, you can accomplish anything.

But to understand yourself better, you need tools as well. External tools. Maybe there are some truly great philosophers that could get to great insights from just themselves, first principles, and logic, but I’m not among them. I need books and conversation and music and experiences and all these other things. They help me understand myself better, which then helps me get more out of those things, which helps me understand myself better.

And then what? Well, then nothing. Maybe I pass along one percent of the knowledge I’ve gained. Most of it wouldn’t be relevant to others. Maybe a little bit would be relevant to people very much like me, but how many of those could there be? Maybe, again, some truly great philosophers manage to create patterns of thought that can be duplicated by many and helpfully, too. Probably not me. But maybe I can donate a clue here or there.

It’s good to hang lanterns as you go. Leave those clues. For yourself, as much as for anyone.

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