In order to access that “world in a grain of sand” which William Blake wrote about, physically, nothing more is required than to walk the beach, sit and comb the sand. In the end, physically, there is probably nothing required. What he meant was a psychological alignment. Only we think the weight of “infinity in the palm of the hand” is too great to bear alone, or it seems cheap, so we hire all kinds of help and conspire to lift the entire beach to see what’s holding it up. If we can do it together, after all our labors, then, maybe, the reward will be great. But a single grain of sand—there has got to be more to it than that. We’re not used to finding greatness without great expenditure.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said in a speech that, to be concerned for others, we must “project the I into the thou.” The only way to test something truly is to test it on its own ground, to walk that ground in those shoes. This in itself is challenging enough; but it is impossible if one does not “know oneself” first. So the reverse is just as true. Nietzsche knew this well when he said, “The you is older than the I; the you has been pronounced holy, but not yet the I: so man crowds toward his neighbor” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 60).