chapter  9
Understanding a Person
Pages 15

In many ways, this is the point at which we began the book. As Aristotle and an endless number of thinkers, dreamers, and other souls have pondered since the beginning of time, we desire to know. There is perhaps no more compelling issue for us to know than ourselves. As Socrates and the Delphian oracle declared in ancient Greece, "Know Thyself!" Philosophers, theologians, scientists-all of us-have struggled with that dictum ever since (and probably even before Socrates declared it), and the answers at which we have arrived have been as varied and as diverse as the character of those who have asked. Goethe listed the world, heart, and mind as the aim of our understanding, and it is no coincidence that he wrote them in that order, poetic license notwithstanding. We seek to

know our world. That leads us, after a brief pause, to understand our hearts. Without a pause in his line, for there is no comma between heart or mind or break in the rhythm of the quote, Goethe states that our aim quickly comes to understanding the mind. The direction is not accidental-Goethe was a master of words and images. Understanding the world leads to understanding the heart, our passions, which invariably leads to the mind. The mind is the basis, the "last in the list," to paraphrase. They are intertwined, yes, but the order is not accidental. And then, there is Euripides.