Know Thyself

Know Thyself


Know Thy Self

A person who knows not

And knows not that they know not

Is foolish – disregard them

A person who knows not

And knows that they know not

Is simple – teach them

A person who knows not

And believes that they know

Is dangerous – avoid them

A person who knows

And knows not that they know

Is asleep – awaken them

A person who knows

And knows that they know

Is wise – follow them

All of these persons reside in you

Know Thy Self

And to Maat be true *A modern adaptation of an ancient proverb (From “Nile Valley Contributions To Civilization, Exploding The Myth, Vol. 1” by Anthony T. Browder, p. opposite Contents.)


The Greek phrase, “know thyself” or γνῶθι σεαυτόν rings true even after thousands of years. It is in the simplicity of the phrase that the beauty resides.  No need for verbose language to get this point across, the ancient Greeks may have been on to something. Just as we have the propensity to make things more complicated than they are, this phrase very quickly quiets the noise with the idea that the answers we seek are within. No vision quests, walkabouts or midlife crises will assist with this discovery.  A deep knowing is earned only by introspection and spiritual questioning which can be accomplished from any zip code, in any life situation and at any age.


Why then are so many failing to do the work required to know thyself?  As one that has a constant curiosity about others and the way in which they navigate the world, I find that many seem lost.  By this I mean they have not done the personal work of self examination. This apparent lack of interest in introspection finds many still searching outside of themselves for answers.  I have never professed to know much of anything, but what I do know is that I have no desire to walk the path with someone that is still looking externally for validation and comfort.


“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”

― Lao Tzu


It therefore becomes difficult to find a tribe, a soul mate or person at the same vibration as myself.  I have no interest in a parent child or student teacher relationship; I am looking for someone in the same place as myself, a partner that can travel the road beside me rather than before me or behind.  Granted I am an odd nut. I have been seeking answers to the deeper questions since elementary school.  Yes, I have lived a colorful life and in doing so have made many discoveries along the way, yet I have so much more room to grow. I have learned that a prerequisite to knowing self lies with the understanding that knowing is not knowing. In my view this is the first step in a long and thoughtful journey.  It takes a humble soul to stand before the world and recognize that everything is not as it seems. The world as we know it is just external circumstance for a larger lesson. The tools of the lesson vary from person to person, but I suspect we all follow a similar syllabus in the end.


“The one great art is that of making a complete human being of oneself.”

― G.I. Gurdjieff

How does one go about this work?  I believe the path varies, the key point being in the attempt.  We are all fallible and none of us are perfect.  The work is in the commitment to continually walk the spiritual path. This may look different for each person, but the end result should be the same. I would even argue that one must work on knowing self before giving themselves to another. It is a symbiotic relationship and when approached with some intention, a beautiful one.

4 thoughts on “Know Thyself

  1. Polonius: 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.

    1. William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about love and leading a balanced life. Hamlet is definitely a thought provoking piece.

  2. “There is peril in solitude and in renown; therefore, make your way in the ordinary, avoiding the allures of both fame and obscurity.”
    from Oracles in the Ordinary, NB

  3. Very true. It is in the ordinary moments where living fully occurs. Too much or too little becomes a distraction from the process. Everything in the balance.

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