The unexamined life is not worth living, Socrates says in Plato’s Apology.
In this seminar we will examine the meaning of self-knowledge, in the eyes
of ancient and medieval thinkers, mystics and philosophers. Our focus might
be on ancient Greece, from Heraclitus, the Greek Mystery-schools to Socrates
and Aristoteles, but we will also rise above that and take a look at later Christian,
Jewish and Islamic thought on self-knowledge. And we will also listen to
ancient voices from China and India, telling us about self and non-self, unity
and an incomprehensible simultaneous difference.
What self-knowledge means varies from time, culture and thinker. But one
also finds some common ground. One such is mors mystica, the self has to die
and be reborn to become a truer self. Superficial self-knowledge is not enough.
Egocentricity doesn’t belong to the realm of deeper self-knowledge. Meister
Eckhart, influential fourteenth century Dominican, sums this up neatly when
he says: Examine yourself. And whenever you find yourself, take leave of yourself.
Seminariet Self-knowledge hölls på Engelsbergs Bruk den 25 April 2019.