I now perceive one immense omission in my Psychology— the deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated, and I left it out altogether from the book, because I had never had it gratified till now.

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
Letter to his Philosophy 2A class at Radcliffe College (6 Apr 1896)

The class had sent him a potted azalea at Easter. Full letter:

Dear Young Ladies, I am deeply touched by your remembrance. It is the first time anyone ever treated me so kindly, so you may well believe that the impression on the heart of the lonely sufferer will be even more durable than the impression on your minds of all the teachings of Philosophy 2A. I now perceive one immense omission in my Psychology—the deepest principle of Human Nature is the craving to be appreciated, and I left it out altogether from the book, because I had never had it gratified until now. I fear that you have let lose a demon in me, and that all my actions will now be for the sake of such rewards.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Mar-20
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