Joe said, "But to try and then to fail--"
"Is that so terrible?" Glimmung said. "I'll now tell you all something about yourselves, something that every one of you possesses: a quality in common. You have met failure so often that you have all become afraid to fail."
I thought so, Joe thought. Well, so it goes.
"What I am doing," Glimmung said, "is this. I am attempting to learn how much strength I have. There is no abstract way of determining the limits of one's force, one's ability to exert effort; it can only be measured in a way such as this, a task which brings into view the actual, real limitation to my admittedly finite--but great--strength. Failure will tell me as much about myself as will success. Do you see that? No, none of you can. You are paralyzed. That's why I brought you here. Self-knowledge; that is what I will achieve. And so will you: each about himself."
"Suppose we fail?" Mali asked.
"The self-knowledge will be there anyhow," Glimmung said...
Galactic Pot-Healer, Philip K. Dick