“When we try to emulate the virtues of others by mirroring them in our own self, we edify ourselves. But even when we mirror their shortcomings, we are again helped, because their shortcomings help us recognize our own. And while, upon seeing the virtue of another I am motivated to struggle and imitate it, his shortcoming, likewise, motivates me to consider if, perhaps, I also have this shortcoming and to what extent, so that 1 may struggle to uproot it. For example, I see someone who is industrious. I am impressed and try to imitate him. I see curiosity in another person. I do not criticize him, but seek, instead, to see if I am also curious. And if I see curiosity in me, I attempt to excise it. If I see only my own virtues, but see only shortcomings in others while overlooking my own shortcomings or justifying them by saying “I am better than this one and that one and the other one,” well then, it’s over; I am sunk. Other people are our mirrors.”

  • ‘Passions and Virtues’