There is no self-knowledge but an historical one. No one knows what he himself is who does not know his fellow men, especially the most prominent one of the community, the master’s master, the genius of the age.

Bennett Cerf


The Quote in Other Words

Self-awareness can only be achieved through understanding one’s place in history. To truly know oneself, it is necessary to have knowledge of others, particularly the most influential figures in society, the leaders and innovators of the time.


Explanation of the Quote

This quote suggests that self-knowledge is not something that can be achieved in isolation. Instead, it is something that is gained through an understanding of history and the people around us. The idea is that we cannot truly know ourselves without understanding the context in which we exist and the people who have influenced us.

The quote also emphasizes the importance of studying the most prominent figures in our community, particularly those who are considered geniuses or masters. By studying these individuals, we can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and intellectual forces that have shaped our world and our own identities.

Overall, this quote highlights the interconnectedness of individuals and the importance of understanding our place in history and society in order to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. It suggests that self-knowledge is not a solitary pursuit, but rather something that is gained through engagement with the world around us.