“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom,” said Laozi.
Often, however, we learn to know others by knowing ourselves first.
Look at deception, for example: The better we know our own deceptive ways, the better can we spot deceit in others. We can’t look into other people’s minds. We can only look into our own minds, see our own deceptive nature, and project our slyness onto others.
Deceptive people are intelligent. If they reflect on their nature to gain wisdom, they can use their wisdom to understand others and peek into the nature of humanity.
That’s not what Laozi meant, but that’s how I see it: The more honest we are to ourselves, the better we can understand others.