Hide a bushel under your light

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-17-20-51Dalrymple writes that there was a time in his life, many, many years ago, when

people were not expected to boast about their accomplishments: they were expected not to boast about their accomplishments. Self-praise was regarded as no praise: someone who praised himself was thought to be a bad character.

These days,

boasting and the expression of self-satisfaction are essential to getting on in life, to climbing a hierarchy. You have to recommend yourself, not wait to be recommended by others (which might never happen).

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-17-17-46Dalrymple reads an article in which an interviewee is asked to summarise his or her personality in three words.

This is a question that should not have been asked, that is almost obscene, being an invitation either to self-congratulation or to arch self-deprecation, the higher and slightly more acceptable form of self-congratulation. To adapt slightly the final sentence of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, whereof one ought not to speak, thereof one ought to be silent.

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