Since deep antiquity seekers of wisdom have been urged to “KNOW THYSELF

And in one’s behavior to express NOTHING IN EXCESS .


connected to INDIVIDUATION versus SOCIALIZATION:  How much of you is YOU, and how much OTHER PEOPLE (real or idealized):  These apparent alternatives are (or should be) in DYNAMIC BALANCE (“essential tension”).

Have you ever imagined what somewhat might say to you if only they were available for you to ask their opinion? Look also into “listening angels.”   An “essential tension” was originally described by Thomas Kuhn as a state that connects tradition and innovation … it involves CHANGE – sometimes perceived as an inexorable drift toward a different state of being, but also often perceived as a “maelstrom of perpetual disintegration and renewal.” (Berman).


ASPIRING to NORMALCY?  “Nothing in Excess” is a venerable guide.  (might that also apply to knowing one’s self?)   A&O notes on the Golden Mean

“These are among the Delphic maxims inscribed at Delphi.   These are 147 aphorisms said to have been given by the Greek god Apollo.  At the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the priestess [Pythia]  (more at Wikipedia); More detail at Carlos Parada’s website on Delphi)

DELPHI.  Delphi was since ancient times a place of worship for Gaia, the mother goddess connected with fertility. The town started to gain pan-Hellenic relevance as both a shrine and an oracle in the 7th century BC. Initially under the control of Phocaean settlers based in nearby Kirra (currently Itea), Delphi was reclaimed by the Athenians during the First Sacred War (597–585 BC).  …. The temple survived until AD 390, when the Roman emperor Theodosius I silenced the oracle by destroying the temple and most of the statues and works of art in the name of Christianity.[40] The site was completely destroyed by zealous Christians in an attempt to remove all traces of Paganism.[40]   (Wikipedia)

 [A philosopher of phenomenology said that “to understand phenomenology, one must be a phenomenologist” … if so, does that imply that “to understand myself, I have to be myself” ??] 


WHY SHOULD ONE KNOW ONE’S SELF?.   “In the culmination of the philosophic path as discussed in Plato’s Symposium, one comes to the Sea of Beauty or to the sight of “the beautiful itself” (211C); only then can one become wise. (In the Symposium, Socrates credits his speech on the philosophic path to his teacher, the priestess Diotima, who is not even sure if Socrates is capable of reaching the highest mysteries.) In the Meno, he refers to the Eleusinian Mysteries, telling Meno he would understand Socrates’ answers better if only he could stay for the initiations next week.“ 

The result is that he will see the beauty of knowledge… the lover is turned to the great sea of beauty, and gazing upon this, he gives birth to many gloriously beautiful ideas and theories, in unstinting love of wisdom, until, having grown and been strengthened there, he catches sight of such knowledge, and it is the knowledge of such beauty… The man … who has beheld beautiful things in the right order and correctly, is now coming to the goal of Loving: all of a sudden he will catch sight of something wonderfully beautiful in its nature; that, Socrates, is the reason for all his earlier labors.”



WHY SHOULD ONE NOT ENGAGE IN EXCESS?.   “The maxim, “NOTHING IN EXCESS”  represents the virtue of temperance (Greek = sophrosyne), which Aristotle defines in the Nicomachean Ethics as having appetites “for the right things, in the right ways, at the right times.” The temperate person’s appetites are under the control of his reason.”  ( )

“Temperance is one of the “four cardinal virtues” along with prudence, justice, and fortitude. Similar to fortitude, temperance helps one conquer obstacles to doing what is prudent and just, i.e., what is good. Whereas fortitude helps one conquer fear of bodily harm, the virtue of temperance helps one conquer attachments to bodily pleasure. In particular, Aristotle held that temperance deals with those pleasures that result from the senses of touch and taste.  

Of the four virtues, temperance is the one most focused on self, though it is a focus on self for the sake of being more just toward others. When we’re consumed with our bodily needs, we’re less able to “give each his due,” which is the definition of justice.  //  The temperate person is one who consistently exercises the “mean“—the right path between opposite extremes.”  ( )


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