Collins, Charles. 29 March 1857. “The Diaries of Charles Collins.” <http://chronicles.dickinson.edu/studentwork/collinsdiaries.htm>.
What a profound thing is the human heart. All that can be properly said I know of is what the line of our individual experience fathoms. I say fathom rather than can fathom because our power in this matter can be judged and measured only by what we do. What depths of unconsciousness feeling; & what depths of unconsciousness feeling. Of what we are conscious, we know, but all else is a dream land. And how strange is it that we can learn these things only by turning our thoughts inward and holding inquisition upon what passed in the soul. The only way in which we know others is that we know ourselves and the only way in which we know ourselves is by the schooling of deep spiritual experience. How can we know and they failings, temptations, joys or sufferings except as we have experienced ourselves? And how can we know our own capacity either of joy or sorrow- our susceptibility to temptation or the strength to overcome it, except as are the emphatic lessons have been forced up us by wht we have individually felt.?
Is it sd that the man born blind can have no conception of colors. The beauty in which in so many forms addresses the eye & creates so delightful emotions in as is all unknown to him. The flower is gay, the grass green & the heavens bright in vain to him because he lacks the perception & findings. This all a darkness nothing in which perhaps the flitting forms of a few undigested thoughts may seek to locate themselves, but which the imagination seeks tries is vain to people with ____ are clear and truthful conception. The use of eyes we can only learn by possessing & using the organ. When we see for ourselves, than & only then can we know what seeing means.
And is it not just so with any and all our sensibilities- the whole sensitive department of the soul? We can know ourselves only as we feel. Who for instance can know the nature of remorse or the power of the soul to endure it without having been the its unhappy victim? The iron must enter our souls to track is what agony is. Our objective knowledge of the souls capacity can only be learned in the same way- capacity, I mean to endure this agony. And who can know the joys of the flesh except by a delightful experience of them? Some conception can perhaps be formed of these joys, because there is doubtless some similitude between all the types & forms of joy or may set forth great things by small, but perfect knowledge can come only from thorough experience.