SALVO [as the footman takes his coat]: Yes, yes… but there’s always a way, I assure you… [the footman goes out through the main entrance, downstage right.] There’s always a way of giving people a good opinion of us which at the same time increases their own self-esteem.
PALMA [promptly, as she slips off her gloves]: And makes them insufferably conceited!
SALVO: No, my dear, quite the reverse: which turns out to be to our advantage too.
PALMA: But I notice so many things nowadays!
SALVO: You don’t notice anything. Pay attention to this: Flavio talks to you. You know it’s just words, which he says simply for the sake of talking…
PALMA: Yes, words without any meaning to them!
SALVO: Quite so. But by the way you listen to them, you can show him they have…
PALMA: How? If they just haven’t?
SALVO: It’s easy! You give them a meaning, yourself; you put a meaning into them – whatever meaning best suits you. But you pretend he’s put a meaning into them. He’ll be delighted to find his own words actually make sense. In that way you can gradually make him into exactly what you want him to be; and he’ll be under the impression that that’s what he wants to be. Do I make myself clear?
PALMA: It doesn’t sound easy!
SALVO: I know. I’m not saying it’s easy. But you can take it from me, it’s the way one has to run one’s life.

“Right You Are! (If you Think So)” – “Cosí è (se vi pare)” – Act II, Luigi Pirandello. Penguin Books. 1962.

Novamente o percorreu um sentimento de felicidade, de calma e segurança do coração, maravilhoso e cheio de delícias para quem sabia o que era angústia e pavor. Lebrava-se de uma frase da sua infância. Falava-se, entre companheiros de escola, do segredo dos acrobatas, que sabiam andar sem medo e firmemente sobre o arame. E um de entre os rapazes dissera: «se fizeres no teu quarto um risco a giz, terás tanta dificuldade em andar sobre ele como sobre o mais fino arame. E, contudo, pisamo-lo seguramente porque não há perigo. Se imaginares que o arame é um risco de giz e o ar de ambos os lados é o chão, podes andar sobre qualquer fio.» Viera-lhe esta frase à mente. Como era bela! Não se teria passado, com ele, justamente o contrário? Isto é, não poder andar seguro e firme sobre o chão plano, porque o tomava por um fio de arame?

«Ele e o Outro» («Klein und Wagner»). Hermann Hesse. Guimarães & C.ª Editores. 1979.

LAUDISI [wanders round the study for a little while, grinning to himself and shaking his head. Then he stops in front of the large mirror which rests on the mantelpiece, looks at his own reflection and starts talking to it.]: Ah, there you are! [He gives his reflection a mock salute with a couple of fingers, winks one eye cunningly, and grins at it.]: Well, my dear fellow! Now which of us two is mad? [He raises his hand, pointing the forefinger at its reflection, which, in turn, points its forefinger at him. He grins again, then] Ah yes, I know! I say you and you point at me! Dear me! Dear me! Between you and me and the gatepost we know one another pretty well, you and I! But what an awful fix you’re in, old chap! Other people don’t see you the way I see you! So what do you become? I can say that, as far as I’m concerned, standing in front of you as I am now, I’m able to see myself and touch myself. But as for you, when it’s a question of how other people see you, what happens to you? You become a phantom, my dear fellow, a creature of fantasy! And yet, do you see what these lunatics are up to? Without taking the slightest notice of their own phantom, the phantom that is implicit within them, they go haring about, frantic with curiosity, chasing after other people’s phantoms! And they believe they’re doing something quite quite different.

[The BUTLER enters and is rather taken aback as he hears LAUDISI’S last words to the mirror. Then he says]:

“Right You Are! (If you Think So)” – “Cosí è (se vi pare)” – Act I, Luigi Pirandello. Penguin Books. 1962.

(B11) Both Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the gods all deeds
which among men are matters of reproach and blame:
thieving, adultery, and deceiving one another.

(Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 9.193)

(B12) … as they sang of many illicit acts of the gods thieving, adultery, and deceiving one another.

(Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 1.289; tpc)

(B14) But mortals suppose that the gods are born,
have human clothing, and voice, and bodily form.

(Clement, Miscellanies 5.109)

(B15) If horses had hands, or oxen or lions,
or if they could draw with their hands and produce works as men do,
then horses would draw figures of gods like horses, and oxen like oxen,
and each would render the bodies
to be of the same frame that each of them have.

(Clement, Miscellanies 5.110; tpc)

(B16) Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and dark, Thracians, that theirs are grey-eyed and red-haired.

(Clement, Miscellanies 7.22; tpc)

Xenophanes of Colophon (fragments), “A Presocratics reader : selected fragments and testimonia / edited, with introduction, by Patricia Curd ; translations by Richard D. McKirahan. — 2nd ed.”. 2001.

XXI. This tyrant, however, showed himself how happy he really was; for once, when Damocles, one of his flatterers, was dilating in conversation on his forces, his wealth, the greatness of his power, the plenty he enjoyed, the grandeur of his royal palaces, and maintaining that no one was ever happier, “Have you an inclination,” said he, “Damocles, as this kind of life pleases you, to have a taste of it yourself, and to make a trial of the good fortune that attends me?” And when he said that he should like it extremely, Dionysius ordered him to be laid on a bed of gold with the most beautiful covering, embroidered and wrought with the most exquisite work, and he dressed out a great many sideboards with silver and embossed gold. He then ordered some youths, distinguished for their handsome persons, to wait at his table, and to observe his nod, in order to serve him with what he wanted. There were ointments and garlands; perfumes were burned; tables provided with the most exquisite meats. Damocles thought himself very happy. In the midst of this apparatus, Dionysius ordered a bright sword to be let down from the ceiling, suspended by a single horse-hair, so as to hang over the head of that happy man. After which he neither cast his eye on those handsome waiters, nor on the well-wrought plate; nor touched any of the provisions: presently the garlands fell to pieces. At last he entreated the tyrant to give him leave to go, for that now he had no desire to be happy. Does not Dionysius, then, seem to have declared there can be no happiness for one who is under constant apprehensions? But it was not now in his power to return to justice, and restore his citizens their rights and privileges; for, by the indiscretion of youth, he had engaged in so many wrong steps and committed such extravagances, that, had he attempted to have returned to a right way of thinking, he must have endangered his life.

Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, Book V. Whether Virtue Alone Be Sufficient For a Happy Life, V.21. Translated by C. D. Yonge, 1877.