Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, nephew of Pericles, was an ambitious statesman of noble birth. Socrates counseled him to seek wisdom and virtue first, so that he may know, firstly, what is good and fitting for himself and for the nation, and secondly, whether he is qualified to rule.
“Consider: if some one were to say to the eye, ‘See thyself,’ as you might say to a man, ‘Know thyself,’ what is the nature and meaning of this precept? Would not his meaning be:–That the eye should look at that in which it would see itself?
If the eye is to see itself, it must look at the eye, and at that part of the eye where sight which is the virtue of the eye resides; And if the soul, is ever to know herself, she must look at the soul; and especially at that part of the soul in which her virtue resides, and to any other which is like this.
No part of our souls is more divine than that which has to do with wisdom and knowledge. This is that part of the soul which resembles the divine; and he who looks at this and at the whole class of things divine, will be most likely to know himself.”