Know Yourself


A saying displayed on the entrance to Apollo’s temple at Delphi, said Plato, was “know yourself”. Delphi was a great centre of healing, where the ancient Greeks took their problems, and were advised by the god. The saying must have been one of his most frequent.

1 delphiApollo’s temple at Delphi in the mountains

But what does it mean? We can know something of what we do, by analysing our actions, and come to a conclusion about our nature. “I am short tempered” we might say for instance, or, avoiding too much self criticism, “I have no patience with fools”.

But is that the self Apollo meant? I don’t think so. When we think about ourselves, and about thinking about ourselves, we are confronted by a cloud of abstractions. It’s not the body we need to know, and its typical behaviour, but the mind.

Some take refuge in the stars…

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