February 24, 2011

Scito teipsum

Recording also available at iPadio using this link.

Today's saying is Scito teipsum. In English: "Know yourself."

I was prompted to include this as today's saying because of a very thought-provoking article I read about K-12 education, criticizing it for taking a one-size-fits-all approach, rather than an exploratory approach, where every student would have the opportunity, resources and encouragement they need to seek out the subjects that truly ignite their passions. The article contended that by making people college-ready rather than by making them self-aware, we wind up with many students in college who have no idea why they are there, since they have not gotten to learn anything about themselves in their many long years of schooling. Very true! The command to "Know yourself" in its Greek form (ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΕΑΥΤΟΝ) was supposedly inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and was invoked by the philosopher Socrates, among others. It's a piece of advice I would gladly inscribe on the front door of any school!

In terms of Latin grammar, this saying features the wonderful form of the imperative with the unfortunate name of the "future imperative." There is nothing really "future" about it - instead, the form has a kind of official grandness about it, something that is a command at all times, rather than a command for a single individual circumstance.

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

Scītō tēipsum.


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