“Gnothi seauton,” the ancient Greeks said. “Know thyself.” So, how do you know thyself?
To know something, you have to read up on it. But if it is not written down yet, you have to examine it. When examining things (even your self is a “thing” to the friend of wisdom!) you need the right tools.
The tool we use for examining ourselves is a concept called “relevant structures.” Show me your relevant structures and I tell you who you are.
You and I are part of structures. Your family is a structure. Your source of income is a structure. Your friends, your country, and humanity itself are structures. You may be a member or fan of a sports team. That is a structure too. The clique you hang out with and the school you go to, they are both structures.
The structures we listed here all share a trait: They are relevant to you. They are your relevant structures.
We also need to look into structures that are inside the self, and abstract, none-tangible structures in general. We must study the types of structures and relationships between them. The more structures we examine, the better we know ourselves. “Know thyself” becomes “understand your relevant structures!”
You could sit down and list all the structures you are a part of, in writing, on paper. You could sort them by degree of relevance. That is how you begin knowing yourself. You could do it in your mind. Chances are, you have already started listing your relevant structures, mentally, as we are talking about them here.
It is work, no doubt. But with every relevant structure you find, you make a real step towards the Greek’s call: Gnothi seauton! Know thyself!
So, what are your relevant structures?