Know thy self

How much do you think you really know yourself, compared to Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo?

I don’t believe anybody can speak in this topic without knowing him self to that degree and art.

For example, you could conclude you are a plebeian philosopher who eats everything and supports equality, a la Rousseau?

i dont really think it matters to what degree you know yourself… as long as you know what you like and dont like and you know your alive.

I know myself enough. Any more might be counterproductive.

true, very true

If you truly know yourself there is not much else to learn. It would require knowing the response and your reaction to this response to every question asked. Understand that I use the word ‘question’ in the broadest possible sense where any action taken is considered a question to the world.

That said, it is important to know yourself to a strong extent, else you risk becoming a tool for those who know you better.

This is just my personal view; I have not read Nietzche or any other philosophy.

i didnt realy understand all of this but to an extent i agree…


But what about the next moment, or day, or year?

Does the above flow like the ocean or is it forever fixed in time?

If we truly know anything about ourselves, we will also know that we never stop learning.

And within your conclusion lies the paradox; you are correct, yet wrong. You cannot know yourself unless you know your reaction to every action; your answer to every question. It follows, then, that in order to know yourself you must know all of existence; past, present, future. A man who knows all of existence do not learn; he knows. Thus someone who knows himself knows that he has stopped learning.

Yet I must stress that this is no reason not to strive for better understanding of oneself; not doing so would be a terrible mistake. Know that it is an endless journey, but if you let others ahead of you they may lead you wherever they like.

But Keyser, some things matter and some things don’t.

Not for someone who is ready to claim full understanding of himself. Yet I certainly agree that some things matter more than others, and that is the essence of my second paragraph. One should strive to understand what one believe matters. The rest of my claims above are merely abstract observations of what it means to truly know yourself; it makes sense, but it is useless for purposes beyond demonstrating the folly of trying to fully know yourself.

Ok. Yes, I agree.


Where is the paradox within my conclusions? I see reconciliation there - not paradox.

:-k Does your first statement necessarily follow? Is that actually knowing one’ s self, knowing your reaction to every action, etc.? I can know of myself in this present moment, but i cannot know my every action or answer to every question beyond that. We have the power and the will to change our minds and at times our brains themselves hold us back. How often have we thought to ourselves *I cannot believe that i did that knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that we never could.

Even if a man were to know all of existence, he could still learn by evolving/changing, looking at things with fresh and different eyes. And perhaps if a man did know all of existence, he would soon get bored with himself and re-invent existence.

Yes, existence is an endless journey - at the same time, it is like a mountain where there are endless paths to tred and there is no necessity to worry about who is up ahead or not since we each travel on our own path, some are straight and some are twisted. Sometimes we are lucky enough to have our paths cross with someone else and we walk aways together with them on the same path - but mostly, it is our own path. I think it is only appearances that seem to show that some are ahead and some are behind. We are really all where we are meant to be on our own part of the journey. And if it does appear to be that we are being lead, perhaps for that time that is where we are meant to be too. It is all to learn.

It is all the same destination - to the top of the mountain - but very many pathways to get there and many detours too. Isn’t life grand? C’est la vie!

I will address three claims:

  1. It is not a paradox.
  2. My statement does not follow.
  3. It is not important that others are ahead of us on our path.

To 1 I say: On a hypothetical road towards such complete understanding of yourself you must realize that you will never stop learning; this much is true for all human beings, since we will not reach this goal. Yet in order to possess complete knowledge of the self, you must know everything there is to know. You must then have learned that you have stopped learning, and therefore that having stopped learning was necesarry to know everything. Thus it follows that you must both know that you will never stop learning and that you must stop learning to possess complete knowledge.

To 2 I say: What is the essence of knowing yourself if it is not how you will react? And how can you with complete certainty know how you will react if you lack complete understanding of the universe? To your question, a question: If knowledge of the self does not involve knowing how you react to what happens, how can knowing yourself be defined? Keep in mind that the future is not always distant; your next decision is the future as well.

To 3 I say: When others know your nature better than you do, you become a tool. When another can see your path clearer, he may lay traps or misguide you. Know that your path is not personal, but may be used by others. The only way to guard yourself is to stay ahead. Know that the path in question is the path to understanding yourself.

To know one’s self is to be incautious. To risk, to court danger, purposefully in the interests of proving your limits and capabilities to yourself. If you remain complacent and unchallenged, your Will will wither and you will be incapable of competing.

It is also possessing the quality of self-assessment; the ability to observe your thoughts and actions, to notice how you think and how you respond to certain stimuli.

Further to that are your ideals; fantasies which you wish reality would conform to. These fantasies are eloquent, if you have the perspicacity to read them.
When you realise that it is not reality, but you that must adapt, you will have stepped further along the path to self-knowledge.

I totally agree with everything that you have said here. All I would add is that - otherwise you will be incapable of competing with yourself most of all, rising above/overcoming yourself/becoming, which is the most important…unless that is what you meant. Anyway…

WELCOME BACK, Apaosha. It’s good to see you back here!!!

I strongly disagree. I think when a person understands their own temperment and general attitude towards life, they have a pretty good idea of how they will react to existence, without concretely knowing “all of existence.” Likewise when looking at other people. Let me do what I do best, and give you a practical example:

There is an interesting game I came across a few years ago, called “What the fuck?” When playing this game, the person who is “it” reads from a card a predicament each player is to attempt to place theirself in. These questions are completely off-the-wall scenarios, totally unrealistic (and generally drawing the response, “What the fuck?!” hence the name of the game). Then the players are given two responses to the scenario, and have to choose which response they would more likely have, silently. The “it” person then has to go around the circle and try to correctly guess which response each of the others chose.

I played this game with four close friends of mine one night, and by basing my prediction of their answers on what I knew of their personalities, I managed to correctly guess their responses every time I was “it.”

I’m saying that a general knowledge of how one views the world, and observation of responses to past circumstance, is quite effective in “pegging” a person, be it yourself or someone else.

You think you disagree, and strongly at that. Yet your first claim is consistent with mine. Knowing yourself fully and knowing yourself to the extent you describe are too different things. Indeed, if you had read my posts properly you would have discovered that I believe attempting to know yourself better is vital; in attempting to know yourself better, you may get to know yourself in the way you describe.

Your practical example serves to demonstrate my ideas. It shows your ability to predict the actions of others based on your understanding of how they react to situations. If we apply this to ourselves, as you suggest we should in your last paragraph, is it not true that you define the knowing of yourself as the ability to predict your actions based on your understanding of how you react to situations? Does it not follow that perfectly knowing yourself must then be the ability to predict your actions with perfect accuracy? And does not that require perfect understanding of how you react to situations? Perfect understanding of how you react to situations can only come by fully understanding all aspects of the situation, down to the last detail. To do this, you must know all there is to know.

Yet, since such perfect understanding is out of reach, knowing yourself in more or less the way you describe shall have to be sufficient.

What I’m contending is that people needn’t know every detail of a situation to know themselves. We do really agree, now that I think about it a bit more, except that I’m taking for granted the fact that it’s impossible to know yourself perfectly in the way you describe and so discounting it as unrealistic and a non-issue. One may understand their own personality, and therefore truly know who they are, in the way that I described. Go much beyond that, to your “perfect” understanding, and you’re dealing in fairy tales.

But it is impossible to know yourself until you have known everything else.
You will first notice there are other people who have different attitudes toward same things.
And then, if you are not a tolerant moron, you will align to those who think similarly to you.
And then you can continue making differences… until one day you find nobody who thinks like you.
Then you know yourself.