And what if some Power the gift could give us to see ourselves as others see us? What a monstrous game of emotional Russian roulette that would entail! It might, conceivably, flatter, more likely destroy us.
Burns continues that 'it wad frae monie a blunder free us,/An' foolish notion', but this seems an odd thing to say. Unless we want to define freedom as 'the exchange of our foolish notions for the foolish notions of others.' But then perhaps this is the very definition of altruism: a belief that other people's foolishness is less, and less delusive, than our own. A belief, above all, that the way other people see us is not motivated by a kind of immanent, low-level ill-will.