Definition of the subject: Why seek to know oneself?
Etymology: From Low Latin circare, “to go around, to go through in order to examine”, and, in Medieval Latin, “to search, to scrutinize”.
To seek: to apply oneself with perseverance to obtain a certain result; to try,
(Dictionnaire de l’Académie française)
To know: 1. to have or form a precise, thorough idea of something. 2. to know; to have innate knowledge or knowledge that appears to be innate. To have knowledge acquired by study, practice and use. (Dictionary of the French Academy)
Self : “Principle of the individual consciousness, object of this one, but active subject”
Problem: Why seek to know oneself?
We must ask ourselves : why does the corrector ask this subject ?
The subject raises in fact the question : what is the interest to question oneself, to discover oneself ? Why discover oneself, understand oneself, rather than discovering the outside? Is the intimate, the self really a mystery for the human being, and is it not more useful to understand our environment, what is not ourselves? If not, doesn’t the knowledge of oneself allow on the contrary to better understand the environment?
Development: Why seek to know ourselves?
The subject refers to an inscription on the pediment of the temple of Apollo in Delphi that Socrates (470-399 BC) comments on.
JC). In Greek, Gnothi seauton. In this context, “Know thyself”
reminded men to be humble before the gods. It was a question of remembering that the man was made of passions, defects, opinions, and that he remained weak in comparison with the gods.
Hegel considers the “Know thyself” as a turning point in the history of the Spirit. It is the passage of “the single universal spirit” to a “singular spirit to the individual”
singular spirit with the individuality which takes shape “.
Saint Augustine already explores the importance of the self. The man must leave to
the man must go to the discovery of his self, must know himself, and it is thus that he discovers God, with his help. he says: “since there is no man in the world who knows what is going on in man, but the spirit of man which is in him”.
God is inseparable from this research of the knowledge of oneself: “here I am becoming for myself, under your eyes, a problem”.
Montaigne made self-knowledge an objective:
“I want to be seen there in my simple, natural and ordinary way, without contention or artifice: for it is I that I paint. My defects will be read there, and my naive form, as much as the public reverence allowed it to me. (…) Thus, reader, I am myself the subject of my book” Essays, “To the reader”
Montaigne cruelly poses the question posed by this 2014 baccalaureate subject:
“Have I wasted my time in being aware of myself so continually ,
so curiously?” Essays, Book II, Chapter XVII
Pascal is particularly virulent in this regard, in one of his thoughts:
“To speak of those who have treated of the knowledge of oneself, of the divisions of Charron, which sadden and bore. Of the confusion of Montaigne, that he had well felt the defect of a right method. That he avoided it by jumping from subject to subject, that he sought the good air.
The silly project that he has to paint himself and that not in passing and against his maxims, as it happens to everyone to fail,
but by his own maxims and by a first and main purpose. For to say foolish things by chance and through weakness is an ordinary evil,
but to say some by intention it is what is not bearable and to say some such as these”
The psychoanalysis poses a new glance on the research of the knowledge of oneself:
“While the relations existing between the external perception and the ego are patent and evident, those that attach the internal perception to the ego require a special examination. About them, one is tempted to ask whether one is really entitled to attach all consciousness to the sole surface system of ‘perception-consciousness’.” Sigmund Freud in The Ego and the Id (1923).
It is on new grounds that we must seek self-knowledge, for self-knowledge no longer has as its object a unified e conscious subject, but a more complex subject.
→ Aristotle – No scientific knowledge through perception