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Offlinetomk
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Registered: 09/22/04
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Know thyself
    #4210067 - 05/23/05 02:59 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

I've been thinking about this. Socrates said, "Know thyself." Andre Gide said "Know thyself! A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly."

I think these views can be reconciled. When socrates said "Know thyself" he did not mean it as a goal. You don't need to reach the state of knowing yourself. Rather, Socrates issued a command. As in: "Know yourself, come on, try it." Socrates may have thought that knowing yourself was not possible, but that in trying to know yourself you come to develop some wisdom. The wisdom you develop isn't that you actually know yourself, but you rather the knowledge that the self is not something you can know. When Gide criticized Socrates, Gide took Socrates teaching tool, and read it as a goal. But Socrates knew better then to think his students would succed in knowing themselves. He just knew that in trying to know yourself, you discover other important things.

You don't try and know yourself so that you know who you are. You try and know yourself so that you can have the realization that the permenance of self is an illusion.


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"I am eternally free"


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OfflineDoom
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Re: Know thyself [Re: tomk]
    #4210123 - 05/23/05 03:11 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

the permanence of self is an illusion? please, dont project your quasi-buddhism back upon the greeks.

What socrates meant was that we should understand why we do things. We should pay attention to the roots of our hidden motivations, desires or neurosis which influence our daily activities, and influence the trajectory of our lives.

For example;

do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? Why?

the answer to that question is the key to understanding your *Psyche* (the greek word for the soul)


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Know thyself [Re: tomk]
    #4210577 - 05/23/05 05:06 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

I rather agree with Doom. Even though Buddha and Socrates were contemporaneous, and it is possible that Buddhist monks visited Greece, Socrates does have the archetypal Western stance on "Gnothi Sauton" - Know Thyself.

Remember, even the 'Anatman' [Anatta] doctrine of the Buddha is deceptively so-named. It was the confusion of the 'Jivatman' - the embodied 'soul' that was confused with the Boundless Reality of the Atman, which is no different from the Buddhist Clear Light or Sunyata. The Jivatman dies with the individual - it IS the individual. The Atman is the Hindu Universal Reality that is differentiated from Brahman [Brahman = Atman] psychologically (not metaphysically) as the Universal experienced in the individual (in the Jivatma). The Atman, like its Buddhist equivalent Sunyata, is itself imperishable.

There seems to be arguments over the formulation of these paradoxes. The Greeks had a notion of individual immortality, but also 'metempsychosis' (transmigration). The Hindus have 'reincarnation' which 'seems' like an imperishable entity that merely changes bodies until perfection is reached. The Buddhists have 'rebirth' in which 'psychic tendencies' (skandas) are dissolved into the Void, and if a 'psychic coalescence' occurs among the dissolved skandas, a memory trace of one's past life occurs. This is how Tibetans search for Tulkus (reborn Lamas).

Doctrines are not worth arguing about. They are linearly constructed linguistic devices intended to translate intellectual conclusions to metaphysical experiences. The West emphasizes 'stasis,' the East emphasizes 'fluidity,' but like particles and wavicles, both phases of the self-same (pun intended) phenomenon co-exist.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleNariusFractal
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Re: Know thyself [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #4211119 - 05/23/05 07:21 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

love reading your posts markos


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You are the microcosm of the macrocosm.


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Offlineegghead1
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Re: Know thyself [Re: Doom]
    #4211207 - 05/23/05 07:42 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

Wow, i actually agree with you on something Doom :shocked:

Good post Markos, keep them comming  :grin: :heart:


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All you need is Love! Really thats it! Infinite Unconditional Love! Just develop that and all else will fall into place perfectly!


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Offlinecrunchytoast
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Re: Know thyself [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #4211347 - 05/23/05 08:25 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

Quote:

MarkostheGnostic said:
Doctrines are not worth arguing about. They are linearly constructed linguistic devices intended to translate intellectual conclusions to metaphysical experiences. The West emphasizes 'stasis,' the East emphasizes 'fluidity,' but like particles and wavicles, both phases of the self-same (pun intended) phenomenon co-exist.




that's a very educational post. i didn't know that, markos.

one qualm: my understanding is that tomk was trying to reconcile the two doctrines- know thyself vs. dont know thyself- not argue about which was right at the exclusion of the other.

and now how exactly does one reconcile them? my layman's understanding is that feynman reconciled the particle/waves duality. people don't like tomk's resolution- you got a better one?

honestly im really curious about this one. i feel i get a lot from self-analysis (usually while tripping)- yet it makes intuitive sense to me to say that life is about relating to things outside oneself.


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"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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OfflineOldWoodSpecter
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Re: Know thyself [Re: tomk]
    #4211506 - 05/23/05 09:13 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

Why not just say "know yourself" ? Why do you english speaking folks like to use these old words?


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I descend upon your earth from the skies
I command your very souls you unbelievers
Bring before me what is mine


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Know thyself [Re: tomk]
    #4211527 - 05/23/05 09:17 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

I think any philosopher or religious leader who refuses to endorse people knowing themselves is immediately suspect. Know thyself is the basis for mostly all great learning and improvements you will make in your life.

Knowing yourself isn't a goal, it's a path. You can never reach a state of "knowing yourself" in this constantly chaotic changing world and mind, but you can gain knowledge, wisdom and experience as you walk the path and observe your reality.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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Offlinedr0mni
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Re: Know thyself [Re: Ravus]
    #4211689 - 05/23/05 10:03 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

who the hell knows what any of them actually "meant"!

there are thousands of ways to interperate and apply these ideas. Pick which ever one you like the best.

I think that they are both saything the same thing; "Walk the path". With each step on the path you will know it, and yourself better. But you cannot KNOW the path because it is not done being walked upon.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Know thyself [Re: tomk]
    #4211747 - 05/23/05 10:22 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

I think Socrates was using the word "know" in the Biblical sense, meaning "to have sexual relations with." Therefore, when he said, "Know thyself," he was advocating masturbation. Personally, I tend to know myself about once a day.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: Know thyself [Re: tomk]
    #4211799 - 05/23/05 10:39 PM (12 years, 7 days ago)

Quote:

tomk said:
You don't try and know yourself so that you know who you are. You try and know yourself so that you can have the realization that the permenance of self is an illusion.



Right. We all basically "know" who we are. We live in these human bodies, after all.

But what if we learn our weaknesses, our strengths, our shortcomings, our shining glories???

If we learn where we stand, we can discern where others stand. Not to be used as a weapon against any one, but as a tool to wield our way around human nature.

I think the best way I can describe this is to say...

You can learn the limit of someone's strength by knowing the limit of your own strength. You can learn the height of someone's intelligence by knowing how intelligent you are.


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The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Know thyself [Re: NariusFractal]
    #4213247 - 05/24/05 07:41 AM (12 years, 6 days ago)

Thanks.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Know thyself [Re: egghead1]
    #4213248 - 05/24/05 07:42 AM (12 years, 6 days ago)

Thank you.


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InvisibleVeritas
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Re: Know thyself [Re: Silversoul]
    #4214366 - 05/24/05 03:45 PM (12 years, 6 days ago)

:rotfl:


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OfflinePed
Interested In Your Brain
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Re: Know thyself [Re: Veritas]
    #4215784 - 05/24/05 08:49 PM (12 years, 6 days ago)

>> do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? Why?

Examining our preferential discriminations is an endless and entirely depthless way of understanding ourselves. It is pointless and frustrating to identify ourselves with our preferences. Knowing ourself in this way is tremendous vanity; it is materialism.

It is not possible to gain any kind of insight into things by mistaking our preferences as being our self, because our preferences are not permanent: they are in a constant state of flux, and they depend on an imperceivable host of outside factors which are themselves in a state of constant flux. The person who derrives his or her identity from the clothing they wear, the food they eat or the beverages they drink, simply does not exist. This part of ourself is as graspable as water coming out of the faucet.


>> The wisdom you develop isn't that you actually know yourself, but you rather the knowledge that the self is not something you can know.

What I think tomk is suggesting here is that it's better to understand one's own nature than to understand one's own features. When we understand our own nature, that is to say, when we understand what it is that mediates the interaction between what we perceive and how we behave, there comes a certain sense of resolution. It's this corpus callosum between experience and behavior that is our self. To know this deeply is to come to terms with ourselves and our own existence, and from that comfortable space we are able to go about our life with wisdom, happiness, and a certain profound dignity.

However, since the Greeks laid the foundation for our now-embedded materialistic society, it seems doubtful that Socrates was asking us to know ourselves in this way.

Certainly it is not possible to completely understand one's own nature in the clerical sense. We cannot document ourself in this way because our real nature is essentially featureless. In fact, it's by realizing the emptiness of our discriminating mind (coke or pepsi?) that we come to understand that who we think we are is, ultimately, an illusion. And there's nothing quasi-Buddhist about that.


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