The Arousing of Thought

And just from this it began, that in my entirety a “something” arose which in respect of any kind of so to say “aping,” that is to say, imitating the ordinary automatized manifestations of those around me, always and in everything engendered what I should now call an “irresistible urge” to do things not as others do them.

At that age I committed acts such as the following.

If for example when learning to catch a ball with the right hand, my brother, sisters and the neighbors’ children who came to play with us, threw the ball in the air, I, with the same aim in view, would first bounce the ball hard on the ground, and only when it rebounded would I, first doing a somersault, catch it, and then only with the thumb and middle finger of the left hand; or if all the other children slid down the hill head first, I tried to do it, and moreover each time better and better, as the children then called it, “backside-first”; or if we children were given various kinds of what are called “Abaranian pastries,” then all the other children, before putting them in their mouths, would first of all lick them, evidently to try their taste and to protract the pleasure, but . . . I would first sniff one on all sides and perhaps even put it to my ear and listen intently, and then though only almost unconsciously, yet nevertheless seriously, muttering to myself “so and so and so you must, do not eat until you bust,” and rhythmically humming correspondingly, I would only take one bite and without savoring it, would swallow it—and so on and so forth.

The first event during which there arose in me one of the two mentioned data which became the “vivifying sources” for the feeding and perfecting of the injunction of my deceased grandmother, occurred just at that age when I changed from a chubby mite into what is called a “young rascal” and had already begun to be, as is sometimes said, a “candidate for a young man of pleasing appearance and dubious content.”