Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
December 31, 2004
The Riddle of the World

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of mankind is man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
Whether he thinks to little, or too much;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself, abused or disabused;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

The Riddle of the World
Alexander Pope

The famous Greek maxim "Know Thyself" is attributed to any number of ancient Greek philosophers, including the great Socrates. However, according to the ancient historian Plutarch, "Know Thyself" was originally the admonition "Gnothi se auton" ("Know Thyself") inscribed on the Sun god Apollo's Oracle of Delphi temple in ancient Greece. Plutarch should know about the inscription on the Oracle, since he was once one of its caretakers.

Posted by nathan at December 31, 2004 01:57 PM

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