On Being Liked
The dependent man tends to judge himself more highly to the extent that he is liked by others, and therefore feels a compelling vested interest in gaining approval, which is to say that he increasingly uses others’ acceptance of him as an emotional surrogate for the self-understanding that he lacks. This tendency naturally drives him ever farther from any considerations of the good, the true, and the beautiful, in search of an ever-widening sphere of judges, i.e., of approval.
The man of worth, by contrast, tends to disapprove of himself to the degree that he senses he is liked by others, and therefore feels a continual urge (which may sometimes become so intense as to seem maniacal) to disappoint people, i.e., to divest them of their illusions about him, and in particular of the primary illusion of those who approve, namely that they understand, and thus have the right to bestow approval. This tendency naturally drives him ever farther from any thought of what others expect or desire of him, in his ever-expanding, and sometimes seemingly inconsiderate obsession with the true, the good, and the beautiful.
Today’s civilizational ruins increasingly encourage and reward the former type of man, while despising and, when possible, crushing the latter.