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PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

CHAPTER 1: INTRAPERSONAL DIMENSION


Lecture 1: The Human Person and the Self
Know Thyself
Man's Ancient Quest for Self Knowledge
Know Thyself was written on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
Legend tells that the seven sages of ancient Greece, philosophers, statesmen and
law-givers who laid the foundation for western culture, gathered in Delphi to
inscribed know thyself at the entry to its sacred oracle. The adage subsequently
became a touch-stone for western philosophers, and extended its reach as the
influence of Greek philosophy expanded. This site gathers its most profound
expressions and elaborates on their meaning.
Self-knowledge is all-encompassing. What is learned on one scale of
experience can be applied to all scales. It is the highest form of knowledge,
surpassing all other knowledge. Self-knowledge is also timeless, which means that
what is gained in one era, benefits all subsequent generations. This compilation
reveals the universal nature of mans quest for self-knowledge and further shows
that no age of mankind was necessarily any closer or farther from this quest than
any other.
Although we may be technologically more sophisticated than our ancestors,
the age we inhabit is in the same relationship as previous eras to this quest.
When asked what was the most difficult thing, Thales replied, To know
thyself.
When asked what was easiest, he replied, To give advice.
Since it is known that Solon, one of the seven sages, received his education
in Egypt, know thyself might well have been coined earlier than commonly thought,
when the ancient Egyptians took their first steps towards civilization. Furthermore,
the Hindus in the east developed their system of philosophy before the Greek
civilization, and knowledge of the Self took a prominent position in their writings.
Wherever and whenever the adage originated, Know Thyself was universally
adopted and placed at the foundation of knowledge, the corner stone on which, the
temples of philosophy should be erected. The essence of knowledge is selfknowledge, claimed the Greek philosopher Plato. Centuries before him, the Hindu
Upanishads confirmed, Enquiry into the truth of the Self is knowledge. Leagues
away and centuries later, the Persian poet Rumi wondered, Who am I in the midst

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

of all this thought traffic? and the American poet Walt Whitman celebrated his Self,
a simple, separate person.
This two-word imperative traveled from antiquity and throughout history to
the present day. Like a golden thread in a multi-colored fabric, Know Thyself wove
its course through races and cultures, through religious and secular traditions,
spanning spiritual and scientific teachings and appearing in art and literature.
Indeed, the ancient adage was declared in almost every medium on every continent
and in every era.
Know thyself has often been a corner stone rejected. Can one know oneself
wondered the French poetess George Sand. Is one ever somebody? When will I
ever see that Am that I Am? lamented the poet Rumi. Scores of poets and
philosophers dedicated their lives to inquiring about the Self, seeking its elusive
mysteries, digging deep to unearth that hidden stone without which all construction
would be in vain. Some attained remarkable results, attested to by the legacy of
their works. Others never found an end to their quest. I have an inner self of which
I was ignorant, confesses the BohemianAustrian poet Rilke in his diary, while
the ninety-year-old art-historian Bernard Berenson tells a different story:
Yet, who is the real I, where does he hide from ME? I know who he is not, but
how and what and if at all HE is, I have never discovered although for more than
seventy years I have been looking for him.
It is the sincerity of such remarks as Berensons that touch the reader and
direct his attention inwards, asking himself the very questions these authors posed
in their times.
Profound sayings on Know Thyself invite contemplation. They profess that
Truth stands the test of time, bypassing the ages and connecting us with the
authors who expressed them. They spark our curiosity to learn more about the men
and women who struggled before us, who strove in their times to find
a firm foundation of truth, as we do today. They prove timelessly relevant and open
doors into further inquiry of our true nature. They confirm that, despite the passage
of millennia, mans struggles have essentially remained the same: man is, and
always has been, a being in search of truth and identity.
Moreover, expressions of self-knowledge call us to action. Know
Thyself was written over the portal of the antique world, said the Irish writer Oscar
Wildemore than two thousand years after the seven sages inscribed it on the
forecourt of their oracle. Over the portal of the new world, Be Thyself shall be
written.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Authors on Know Thyself

Bayazid Bastami
Bayazid Bastami, also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid alBustami, (804-874 or 877/8 CE) was a Persian Sufi born in Bastam, Iran. When
Bayazid died he was over seventy years old. Before he died, someone asked him his
age. He said: I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my
veils only four years ago.
They asked Bayazid, When does a man become a man? He said, When he knows the
mistakes of his self and he busies himself in correcting them.
Twelve years I have been smith of myself, until I have made of myself a clear mirror.

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian Sayings: Man, know thyself, and thou shalt know the Gods.
Ancient Egyptian Sayings: The body is the temple of the God within you; therefore it is said,
Man: know thyself.
Coffin Texts, Spell 848: You are one who knows yourself.

The Ancient Egyptian civilization is considered the first and foremost of


cultures. From approx. 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower
Egypt under the first pharaoh, the history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of
Kingdoms: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the
Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached its
pinnacle during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period. From Ancient Egypt,
came classical writings and treatises which we know today as the Coffin Texts, the
Pyramid Texts, Amduat, Egyptian Book of the Dead, etc. The Ancient Egyptian
culture, traditions, rituals and religion served as the source and foundation for
almost all subsequent traditions, cultures and religions, East and West.

Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita (Song of God), is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part
of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is
Lord Krishna, a manifestation of God Himself.
Wake up! Be thyself!

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester
The glory of the Self is beheld by few.

The context of
Arjuna, taking place
Kurukshetra War with
confusion and moral
tyranny imposed on a
a warrior and prince,
supreme being.

the Gita is a conversation between Lord Krishna and prince


in the middle of the battlefield before the start of the
armies on both sides ready to battle. Responding to Arjunas
dilemma about fighting his own cousins who command a
disputed empire, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as
and explains different ways in which the soul can reach the

The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change.


This is true knowledge, to seek the Self as the true end of wisdom always. To seek anything
else is ignorance.

Confucius
Confucius (traditionally 28 September 551 BC 479 BC) was a Chinese
thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Periods. His philosophy
emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social
relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over
other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han Dynasty (206 BC AD
220). Confucius thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known
as Confucianism.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

Drawing from earlier teachings, among which was the I-Ching, Confucius
established a set of moral principles by which a state could be governed. This
system answered the needs of his time, for China was in a warring state period of
disunity. Later Chinese dynasties would draw heavily from his heritage and establish
one of the most well-ordered empires in the history of mankind.
A fundamental thread of Confucius precepts was that the government of
man and of a state we identical. Thus, a ruler could only govern a country in so far
as he could govern himself, and vice versa. Self-knowledge was naturally an integral
part of this teaching, alerting the ruler to both his own human nature and that of his
subjects.
The Forbidden City in Beijing stands as an architectural testament to the
order and hierarchy of Confucius percepts, as expressed by the Ming Dynasty of the
16th century. A unique conglomeration of hierarchical buildings, as well as intimate
and public spaces, form a miniature world from which the emperor governed his
empire.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Epictetus
Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.

Epictetus (AD 55 AD 135) was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was
born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia, and lived in Rome until banishment when he
went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His
teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian. Epictetus most wellknow works are his Discourses and Enchiridion. Philosophy, he taught, is a way of
life and not just a theoretical discipline. Epictetus maintained that the foundation of
all philosophy is self-knowledge.
In contemplating thyself, never include the body which surrounds you.
Poor wretch, you carry about a god within you, and know nothing of it.

Kashani
Afdal al-Din Kashani (c. 12th century C.E.) was a Sufi mystic, poet and
teacher. Although the information on his life is sparse, Kashanis teaching focused
on self-knowledge, or knowledge of the Self, and that the realization of the Divine
can only take place through self-awareness, and that this in turn, can only be
realized by the training of the soul. His tomb, located in the village Maraq, near
Kashan, is still a place of pilgrimage.
To know oneself is to know the everlasting reality that is consciousness, and to know it is to
be it.
Strive and become near to whatever you know to be better for self, and flee and seek
distance from everything you recognize is bad for self.
No matter how clear things can appear to be, the self is clearer than the things.

The Sufis were the mystical dimension of Islam. As a consequence they were
often banned from holy places or persecuted by traditional Muslims, despite their
adherence to the same religious text and founder. The Sufis saw the Self and the
Divine as one and the same. The omnipresent Allah, that permeated all creation,
manifested in man in the form of his higher Self. Therefore, to know oneself and to
know God were equivalent pursuits. Know Thyself was considered the path to Godrealization.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Strive and become near to whatever you know to be better for self, and flee and seek
distance from everything you recognize is bad for self. There is nothing more blessed than
struggle.
Turn the face of searching totally toward the destination and objective of self.

The implications of equating the Self with God are significant: all ones
prayers to God are, in fact, prayers to ones higher Self. All sacrifices made on
Allahs behalf are made for ones higher Self. To know oneself is to be oneself,
says Kashani. This implies that he who knows himself becomes God, the Lord of his
own cosmos.
Thus, the worship of Muslims adhering to Sufism took a more internal and
invisible form than popular Islam, for they directed their efforts of worship to an
internal manifestation of Allah.

Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra (born October 22, 1946) is an Indian medical doctor, public
speaker, and writer on subjects such as spirituality, Ayurveda and mind-body
medicine. He began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to
alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on
mind-body connections. He is also a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine
event, sponsored by Harvard Medical Schools Department of Continuing Education
and the Department of Medicine.
Who am I? is the only question worth asking and the only one never answered.

Ibn Arabi
When you enter into His Paradise you enter into yourself.

Mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhammad Ali Ibn Arabi (1165 AD -1240 AD)
is one of the worlds great spiritual teachers. Known as Muhyiddin (the Revivifier of
Religion) and the Shaykh al-Akbar (the Greatest Master). He wrote over 350 works
including the Fuss al-Hikam, an exposition of the inner-meaning of the wisdom of
the prophets in the Judaic-Christian-Islamic line, and the Futht al-Makkiyya, a vast
encyclopedia of spiritual knowledge which unites and distinguishes the three
strands of tradition, reason and mystical insight. He died in Damascus, revered and
respected among his contemporaries, leaving a rich and profound legacy of works.
My voyage was only in myself, and only pointed to myself. This is a journey to increase
knowledge and open the eye of understanding.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Ibn Arabi he was born in Andalusia, the center of an extraordinary flourishing


and cross-fertilization of Jewish, Christian and Islamic thought, through which the
major scientific and philosophical works of antiquity were transmitted to Northern
Europe. Ibn Arabis spiritual attainments were evident from an early age, and he
was renowned for his great visionary capacity as well as being a superlative
teacher.
In his Diwn and Tarjumn al-Ashwq he also wrote some of the finest poetry
in the Arabic language. These extensive writings provide an exposition of the Unity
of Being, the single and indivisible reality which simultaneously transcends and is
manifested in all the images of the world. Ibn Arabi shows how Man, in perfection,
is the complete image of this reality and how those who truly know themselves
know God.

Lao Tzu
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.

Lao Tzu was a philosopher in ancient China and the author of the Tao Te
Ching. He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy.
According to Chinese traditions, Lao Tzu lived in the 6th century B.C. Some say that
Lao Tzu is a synthesis of multiple historical figures, or that he is a mythical figure, or
that he actually lived in the 5th-4th century B.C., concurrent with the Hundred
Schools of Thought and Warring States Period. He was honored as an ancestor of
the Tang imperial family, and was granted the title Taishang xuanyuan huangdi,
meaning Supreme Mysterious and Primordial Emperor. Xuanyuan and Huangdi are
also, the personal and proper names of the Yellow Emperor.

Meher Baba
Meher Baba (February 25, 1894 January 31, 1969), born Merwan Sheriar
Irani, was an Indian spiritual leader and mystic. He led a normal childhood, showing
no particular inclination toward spiritual matters. At the age of 19, a brief contact
with the Muslim holy woman Hazrat Babajan began his seven-year process of
spiritual transformation. Over the next months, he contacted four additional
spiritual figures whom, along with Babajan, he called the five Perfect Masters. He
spent seven years with Upasni Maharaj, one of the masters, before forming his
ministry and publicly teaching. Meher Baba is Persian for Compassionate Father.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

To know reality is to become it.

According to the law that governs the universe, all sufferings are your labor of
love to unveil your real self.
The I has to get rid of the falseness before it can realize who it is in reality.
The mind creates false impressions and makes the real I think itself false.
When you surrender all falseness you inherit the Truth that you really are.

Meher Baba took a vow of silence that laster forty-four years, till his death.
Things that are real are given and received in silence, he said. He taught by using
a letter-board, dedicating much of his efforts to helping the poor casts of India. Baba
disregarded the difference in cast and claimed all possessed the possibility of
having a soul, whether rich or poor, sick or healthy.
In his writings, Meher Baba considers the Self equivalent to god-realization,
real I and truth. Hence, the command know thyself appears often in his teaching,
under synonymous attributes. Baba outlines the internal struggle necessary for
extracting real I from the veils of illusion that normally cover it. He points the way
to the self as indirect: by removing the veils of illusion one reveals ones true Self.
Do not pretend to be what you are not. God forgives everything except hypocrisy.

Heraclitus
Heraclitus (c. 535 c. 475 BCE) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, born to
an aristocratic family in Ephesus, present-day Turkey. Little is known about his early
life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom.
He is famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe, as stated in
his famous saying, No man ever steps in the same river twice .
All men have the capacity of knowing themselves.

Osho
The man who does not love himself hates.

Osho (11 December 1931 19 January 1990), born Chandra Mohan Jain, and
also known as Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s onwards, as Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh during the 1970s and 1980s and as Osho from 1989, was an Indian
spiritual teacher who attracted an international following. His outspoken criticism of

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

socialism, Mahatma Gandhi and institutionalised religions made him controversial.


In his discourses, he reinterpreted writings of religious traditions, mystics, and
philosophers from around the world.

The ego is not your real self; the ego is a false entity, arbitrary. It is the ego that is your
sleep, that surrounds you like darkness, like a cloud. Hidden behind this darkness is your
real self, your real being, which wants to wake up, which wants to get our of all this smoke,
out of all this darkness, which want to get out of the prison of the ego.

Paracelsus
Our uncertainty about ourselves is at the base of our uncertainty of all things.

Paracelsus (born Philippus von Hohenheim, 11 November or 17 December


1493 24 September 1541) was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist,
alchemist, astrologer, and occultist. Paracelsus, meaning equal to or greater than
Celsus, refers to the Roman encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus from the 1st
century, known for his tract on medicine. He is also credited for giving zinc its
name, calling it zincum, and is regarded as the first systematic botanist.

Plato
I must first know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that which is
not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self would be ridiculous.

Plato (424/423 BC 348/347 BC), was a Classical Greek philosopher,


mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder
of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western
world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to
lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.
The essence of knowledge is self-knowledge, said Plato. Since Socrates
never wrote, and since our knowledge of his teaching comes through the pen of
others such as Plato, it is difficult to draw the line between what the one said and
the other. Be that as it may, in his works, Plato repeatedly reiterates his teachers
call to self-knowledge:
I may be a simpleton, but in my opinion, only that knowledge which is of being and of the
unseen, can make the soul look upwards.

Inexpressible Self-knowledge

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

I feared to see myself at last altogether nothing but words, confessed Plato
in one of his works. Words, after all, are only labels that point to another reality.
Naked truth must therefore be wordless, and the philosopher in search of truth must
watch lest he bury the treasure he seeks under the debris of words.
At times, Platos inquiries into the Self echo the Hindu Upanishads, wherein
the Self is contrasted by the body. The path to self-knowledge, then, is described as
identical to the effort of dissecting body from soul:
If mans attention is centered on appetite all his thoughts are bound to be mortal and he
can hardly fail to become entirely mortal.

Philosophy as the means to Self-knowledge


The Self exists as a potential to be realized. Plato expresses this poetically:
The soul is a helpless prisoner, chained hand and foot in the body, compelled to
view reality not directly, but only through its prison bars, and wallowing in utter
ignorance, he says. Philosophy takes over the soul in this condition and
encourages it to collect and concentrate itself by itself, trusting nothing but its own
independent judgment. Philosophy is, therefore, the art and science of dissecting
soul from body. It is a task available to all yet pursued by few:
In every man there is an eye of the soul which is more precious than ten thousand bodily
eyes.

Finally, as an encouraging teacher, Plato promises a reward for those who


persist in attaining self-knowledge. Although difficult, the end justifies the means
and the darkness of self-ignorance can be dispelled by the intelligent guidance of
philosophy:
At last, in a flash, understanding blazes up, and the mind, as it exerts all its powers to the
limit of human capacity, is flooded with light.

Prophet Muhammad
Whoever knows himself knows God.

Muhammad (26 April 570 8 June 632) was the founder of Islam. In the
Muslim tradition, Muhammad was a messenger and prophet of God. He was also a
social reformer, diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, military leader,
humanitarian and philanthropist. By the time of Muhammads death, most of the
Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and the tribes of Arabia had united into a
single Muslim religious polity.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Saint Thomas
The Gospel According to Thomas is a well preserved early Christian, noncanonical sayings-gospel. It was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December
1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library.
The Gospel of Thomas (as it is usually known) was found among a collection
of fifty-two writings that included, in addition to an excerpt from Platos Republic,
gospels claiming to have been written by Jesus disciple Philip. The Coptic text is
composed of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. The introduction states: These are
the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them
down.
If you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty and you are poverty.

Socrates
Socrates (c. 469 BC 399 BC) was a classical Greek philosopher and is one of
the founders of Western philosophy. He is known chiefly through the writings of his
students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. He
influenced subsequent philosophers by his approach to logic (named the Socratic
Method) and his infamous trial and subsequent execution, as described by Plato.
Socrates on Know Thyself
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

Wisdom begins with wonder, said Socrates. Through dialogue, he led his
audience to passionate inquiry of existence and identity. His speech maintained a
humble tone, claiming, to the surprise of his listeners, that he knew nothing. In his
mind, one could not know anything without knowing ones self. Thus, the Seven
Sages of Greece, who had inscribed know thyself in the forecourt of the Delphic
oracle a few generations before Socrates, had challenged all subsequent
philosophers to attain self-knowledge before knowing anything else. Socrates
embraced this ancient challenge humbly:
I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me
ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.
Care first about the greatest perfection of the soul.

What I want to discover at present, said Socrates, is the art which devotes
its attention to precision, exactness, and the fullest truth. His philosophical inquiry

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

was, therefore, dedicated to truth, foremost the truth about himself. By publicly
admitting his self-ignorance, he made his audience aware of their own.

Thales
The most difficult thing in life is, to know yourself.

Thales of Miletus (c. 624 BC c. 546 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek


philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece.
Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek
tradition.

The Koran
The Koran (translated as the recitation) is the central religious text of Islam.
The Koran was revealed to Muhammad over a period of approximately 23 years
beginning in 610 CE, when he was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his
death. The Koran is divided into 114 suras of unequal length, which are classified
either as Meccan or Medina depending upon their place and time of revelation. It is
one of the finest and most beautiful pieces of literature in the Arabic language.
And do thou, O Muhammad, remember thy Lord within thyself.

Upanishads
Katha Upanishad: The Self lies beyond the senses and can only be understood by him who
knows It is.

Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian


Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as Sanatana Dharma (the eternal
law). Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. A large
body of texts is classified as Hindu, divided into Sruti (revealed) and Smriti
(remembered). Among these texts, the Vedas are the foremost in authority,
importance and antiquity. Other major scriptures include the Upanishads, Puranas
and the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Etymologically, the Sanskrit word Upanishads suggests sitting down near,
as in a disciple sitting at the feet of his master. This is a common form of Hindu
instruction to this day. The teaching is, accordingly, presented in dialogue form; a
wife speaking to her husband or a son to his father. Through common interaction,
the Upanishads weave the most profound instruction.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Upanishads on Know Thyself


The Katha Upanishads portrays a story of Yama (or Death) teaching a young
and curious boy called Nachiketa about the mysteries of the Self. Nachiketa, having
witnessed his fathers pointless traditional observance of Hindu custom, inquires
with Yama whether it is possible to survive death, and if so, by which means. A
profound dialogue follows, centered around the Self:
Katha Upanishad: Those who realize the Self are forever free from the jaws of death.

This doubt haunted even the gods of old, says Yama to Nachiketa, For the
secret of death is hard to know. In the course of the dialogue, Yama draws a line
between the body, which experiences reality through the senses, and the spirit,
which transcends sensual perception. [Those] hypnotized by the world of sense
[say], I am my body; when my body dies, I die. Living in this superstition, they fall
life after life under my sway.
According to Yama, the key to surviving death is transferring ones identity
from the bodily senses to the metaphysical Self. Well have you renounced these
passing pleasures so dear to the senses, he tells the young boy, And turned your
back on the way of the world that makes mankind forget the goal of life.
A sage withdrew his senses from the world
Of change and, seeking immortality,
Looked within and beheld the deathless Self.
The Self is the goal of life; attain this goal.

Yama outlines a specific practice for this end, and names it after the
courageous young boy Nachiketa. This would lay the foundation for subsequent
Indian ritual and exercises, such as meditation and recitation of mantras.
Those who know the Self become the Self.

Knowing the Self


Knowing the Self is the underlying current of the Upanishads, presented as
the ultimate goal of life. Thus does a Hindu teaching, far away in space and time
from Classical Greece, coin the very same wisdom as conveyed from the Socratic
dialogues. After all, what is objectively true must hold true for all people in all times.
If, indeed, is self-knowledge is truly the essence of all knowledge, all cultures and
civilization who genuinely inquired in the nature of truth must have found similar
results.
Ramayana: Enquiry into the truth of the Self is knowledge.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

William Shakespeare
Of all knowledge, the wise and good seek most to know themselves.
Thou sleepst: awake, and see thyself.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616)was an


English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English
language and the worlds pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called Englands
national poet and the Bard of Avon. His surviving works, including some
collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems,
and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living
language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
I know myself now, and I feel within me A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience.

Zen Masters
The Self is the goal of life; attain this goal.

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism originating in China during the 6th


century AD. From China, Zen spread to Vietnam, Korea and Japan. The word Zen is
from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chan, which in turn is derived
from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which is approximately translated as absorption or
meditative state. Zen emphasizes practical wisdom in the attainment of
enlightenment. The teachings of Zen include the Prajnaparamita literature,
Madhyamaka, Yogacara and the Tathagatagarbha Sutras.
Those who know the Self become the Self.

Benjamin Franklin
There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know ones self.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Dr. Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 April 17, 1790) was one of the
Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an author, printer, politician,
postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and
diplomat. Among Franklins inventions are the lightning rod, bifocals and the
Franklin stove. He is also known as The First American for his campaigning for
colonial unity; as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies, then as
the first United States Ambassador to France.
Observe all men; thy self most.

Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English
poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the
third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after
Shakespeare and Tennyson. Pope is famous for his use of the heroic couplet.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, the proper study of Mankind is Man.

Farid Attar
Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakr Ibrahim (1145-1146 c. 1221), better known by his
pen-names Farid ud-Din Attar (the perfumer), was a Persian poet, theoretician of
Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an abiding influence on Persian
poetry and Sufism. His best known work is The Conference of the Birds.
If while living you fail to find your self, to know your self, how will you be able to understand
the secret of your existence when you die?

Hans Christian Andersen


What a mystery I am to myself!

Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805 August 4, 1875) was a Danish


author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his childrens stories. These include The
Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina,
The Little Match Girl, and The Ugly Duckling. During his lifetime he was
acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. Shortly
before his death, he had consulted a composer about the music for his funeral,
saying: Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the
beat keep time with little steps.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Joshua Reynolds
And he who does not know himself does not know others, so it may be said with equal truth,
that he who does not know others knows himself but very imperfectly.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (16 July 1723 23 February 1792) was an influential
18th-century English painter, specializing in portraits and promoting the Grand
Style in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of
the founders and first President of the Royal Academy. King George III knighted him
in 1769.

Michel de Montaigne
If the soul knew anything, it would first of all know itself.

Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (February 28, 1533 September 13, 1592)
was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for
popularising the essay as a literary genre. His massive volume Essays contains,
some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct
influence on writers the world over, including Ren Descartes, Blaise Pascal, JeanJacques Rousseau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Isaac Asimov, and
perhaps even William Shakespeare.
If I study, it is for no other science than which deals with the knowledge of myself.

Lewis Carroll
Who in the world am I? Ah, thats the great puzzle.

The Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 183214 January 1898),
better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, was an author, mathematician,
logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alices
Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems The
Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky. He is also noted for his word play and logic.

Peter Ouspensky
To know oneselfthis was the first principle and the first demand of old psychological
schools. We still remember these words, but have lost their meaning.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

The most fundamental thing is to know oneself, although if certain things do not change you
cannot know yourself.

Peter Demianovich Ouspensky (March 4, 1878October 2, 1947) was a


Russian esotericist known for his exposition of the early work of George Gurdjieff.
Ouspensky studied with Gurdjieff for ten years, from 1915 to 1924. Around 1930
Ouspensky moved to London where he began to teach the Fourth Way. His best
known works include, The Psychology of Mans Possible Evolution, In Search of the
Miraculous, The Fourth Way and A Further Record.
Ouspensky on Know Thyself
Ouspensky outlined the path to self-knowledge before his students. Man, in
his normal condition, was ignorant of himself a lying machine, according to one
of his definitions. Self-knowledge was too high to serve as a beginning step; selfstudy was where man could begin, in observing himself and compiling a collection
of photographs that captures his unconscious behaviour in different moments of
the day.
We think that to know ourselves, means to know our peculiarities, our desires, our tastes,
our capacities and our intentions.
To know oneself is a long process. First we must study.
Very soon after starting to observe himself, a man will begin to distinguish useful features
and harmful features in himself, that is, useful or harmful from the point of view of his
possible self-knowledge, his possible awakening, his possible development. He will see sides
of himself, which can become conscious, and sides which cannot become conscious and
must be eliminated.

Nazarius of Valaam
Pride settles into a man when he does not yet know himself perfectly.

Abbot Nazarius of Valaam (1735-1809) was born in Russia, in the village of


Anosov. In his youth he was noted for his piety, and when he was seventeen years
old he entered Sarov Hermitage. In 1760 he was tonsured a monk and in 1776 he
was ordained. Late in 1774 he became a recluse living in a cabin in the Sarov
woods. In 1782, Fr. Nazarius was called by the Metropolitan Gabriel to become
Abbot of Valaam Monastery which, at that time was in decline. Fr. Nazarius traveled
to St. Petersburg and, much against his own desire, was confirmed as Abbot of
Valaam. During his 20 years as abbot, the monastery was rebuilt and flourished.
Valaam became such a citadel of Orthodox spirituality that it was named the Athos

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

of the North. Some monks from Mt. Athos visited Valaam and marveled at the life
there, preferring it even to that of the Holy Mountain.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 April 27, 1882) was an American
essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid19th century. He was a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the
countervailing pressures of society. Emerson gradually moved away from the
religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the
philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature. His speech entitled The
American Scholar in 1837, was described by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. as
Americas Intellectual Declaration of Independence.
Wherever we go, whatever we do, self is the sole subject we study and learn.

Thomas Fuller
Thomas Fuller (1608 16 August 1661) was an English churchman and
historian. He is now remembered for his writings, particularly his Worthies of
England, published after his death. He was a prolific author, and one of the first
English writers able to live by his pen. His widely acknowledged sense of humour
kept him from extremes. By his particular temper and management, said
Laurence Echard in his History of England, he weathered the late great storm with
more success than many other great men.
First get an absolute conquest over thyself.

Walt Whitman
When shows break up what but Ones Self is sure?

Walter Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 March 26, 1892) was an American
poet, essayist and journalist. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the
American canon, often called the father of free verse. Born on Long Island, Whitman
worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, andin addition to publishing
his poetrywas a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Whitmans major
work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work is
an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892.
What you are picks its way.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Ones Self I sing; a simple separate person.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Ren Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 29 December
1926) was a BohemianAustrian poet. He is one of the most significant poets in the
German language. He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. Among Englishlanguage readers, his best-known work is the Duino Elegies; his two most famous
prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical
Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.
I have an inner self of which I was ignorant.

Bernard Berenson
Yet, who is the real I, where does he hide from ME? I know who he is not, but how and what
and if at all HE is, I have never discovered although for more than seventy years I have been
looking for him.

Bernard Berenson (June 26, 1865 October 6, 1959) was an American art
historian who specialized in the Renaissance. He was a major figure in pioneering
art attribution and therefore establishing the market for paintings by the Old
Masters in the West. Berenson kept a diary throughout his life, replete with artistic,
psychological and philosophical remarks.

Oscar Wilde
Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; an true
progress is to know more, and do more, and be more.

Oscar Fingal OFlahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 30 November 1900)
was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s,
he became one of Londons most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he
is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment,
followed by his early death. Among his best known works are The Happy Prince, The
Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermeres
Fan.
Know Thyself was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new
world, Be Thyself shall be written.
The message of Christ to man was simply Be Thyself. That is the secret of Christ.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

University of San Agustin


AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Reference:
http://thyselfknow.com/