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The knowing one

The knowing one

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Long out of print, this is the first time it has been made available on CD outside of Japan and the U. In the First, We will shew what Man is, to what is Obliged, and for what he is Able; that is to say, We will treat of his Nature, his Perfecti­ons, his End, his Duties and natural Ob­ligations, his Strength, Motives and Ob­jects, that may principally determine him in his Actions. He is visited by Oceanus, who advises him: "Know yourself and adopt new habits, for there is even a new leader among the gods. In some versions of the passage, Socrates goes on to say explicitly that God is "the finest mirror available", and that to look at God is to know oneself, but these lines are probably an interpolation.

Caecilius claims that "the mediocre abilities of man are quite inadequate for exploring divine matters", and that man therefore should not attempt to uncover the mysteries of nature, but should be content merely to "follow the old maxim of the Sage and get to know ourselves more intimately". You probably know many intellectual people, but they are still prone to making very wrong decisions.A clearer application of the maxim occurs in Prometheus Bound, a play attributed to Aeschylus and written sometime before 424 BC.

The founder of the discipline, Sigmund Freud, quoted the maxim only once, in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901), but in later decades it became a common assertion among practitioners in the field that to know oneself means to understand one's unconscious mind.The Infirmity of Man is proportion'd to his Smallness, and his Meanness to his Infirmity; and the one, and the other, was in the Mind of the Prophet, when he cry'd out, speaking to GOD, Wilt thou shew thy Strength against a Leaf which [Page 13] the Wind carries away: Or, in the Mind of the Psalmist, when he said, by a kind of Hyperbole, fraught with Sense and Truth, That if Man should be weighed with Nothing, we should find that Nothing would turn the Scale.

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