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How do we outline a picture of the life and character of a person whom we have come to know? In general, just as we outline a region we once saw. We must visualize its physiognomic particularities: the nature and form of its mountains, its fauna and flora, the blue of its sky; all this, as a whole, determines the impression. However, what just stands out at first sight, the mass of mountains, the form of the rocky terrain, does not provide in itself the physiognomic character of a region: in different areas of the earth, similar groups are attracted and are repelled, identical types of mountains, the same configurations of inorganic nature emerge according to identical laws. Something different happens with inorganic nature.1 The subtlest characteristics for a comparative study of nature are mainly in the vegetable kingdom.
Something similar happens when we want to survey a human life and appreciate it properly. Fortuitous events, gifts of fortune, the changeful appearances of destiny, which arise from interconnected circumstances, should not guide us at this point, since they likewise stand out at first sight like the mountain tops. Precisely those little experiences and internal processes, which we think have been overlooked, in their totality depict the individual character most clearly, they grow organically out of human nature, while those that are inorganic only seem to be connected to them.
After this introduction it looks as if I wanted to write a book about my life. Never. However, I wish to [....]