“The mass-man regards himself as perfect. The select man, in order to regard himself so, needs to be specially vain, and the belief in his perfection is not united with him consubstantially, it is not ingenuous, but arises from his vanity, and even for himself has a fictitious, imaginary, problematic character. Hence the vain man stands in need of others, he seeks in them support for the idea that he wishes to have of himself. So that not even in this diseased state, not even when blinded by vanity, does the ‘noble’ man succeed in feeling himself as in truth complete. Contrariwise, it never occurs to the mediocre man of our days, to the New Adam, to doubt his own plenitude. His self-confidence is, like Adam’s, paradisiacal.”
▪ José Ortega y Gasset, Revolt of the Masses (Norton & Co., 1993; 1930) extract from page 69.