against their nature; so also man, whose nature is not to bite,nkick, imprison, or behead but to do good, to work together,nto pray for the success of others. The greedy, disputatious,ntricksy, angry, timorous, slothful, fickle, or lustful cannotnproperly be considered human, but have the spirits ofnanimals — or those spirits that the ancients (and morenmodern thinkers) regularly reckoned animals to have. Whatnwe are, by nature, is not what now appears: “[we] have anlittle forgotten [our] real self,” being clouded by a mist ofnmortal affairs that the Lady Philosophy shall wipe away.nBecause our nature is to be aware of what we can be, we cannconceive the negation of that self-awareness, and forget. In anPlatonic world one’s nature is not what now one usuallyndoes, but what the eye of reason can discover we should do,nif not perverted from the old straight way.nRemember that you are an actor in a play, thencharacternof which is determined by the playwright. If Henwishesnyou to play the part of a beggar, remember to actnevennthis part adroitly; and so if your role be that of ancripple, an official, or a layman. For this is yournbusiness, to play admirably the role assigned tonyou;nbut the selection of that role is another’s.nNot body, nor rank, nor estate, nor reputation is me: thosenare all things I put on, and may be diverted by. My being isnonly known in my recognition of duty. What is thenself-knowledge the philosophers require, and what is the selfnthat is known? Modern existentialists, perverting an ancientndoctrine, have decreed that the human self is a vacuity, thatnwe have no real nature, no duties prior to our own, entirelynarbitrary, choice. Modern naturalists, no less despairinglynthough with more consistency, have held that what we are isnsimply discoverable: we are animals whose nature is dictatednby our evolutionary past. Both sides have taken the presentnworld for granted, and they differ only by the extent tonwhich they think self-knowledge is absurd. I shall pick up thenhint that both unconsciously give us in a moment: what wenknow of ourselves, the self as object of our cognition, arisesnwithin a wider, unknown self. What we are is not the thingnwe think.nA full investigation of these mysteries, to state thenobvious, is far beyond my ability. What I shall be consideringnin this second section is the simple thought, muchnmocked by moderns, that this life’s “a dream and andelirium” (as Aurelius said). Epictetus is wary of saying thatnwe cannot distinguish waking life and dream, but it is annerror to suppose that he is making the merely bourgeoisnclaim that our present, ordinary life is wakeful. A feeble ornfrivolous skepticism, which gives as a reason for not attendingnto our obvious duties that we cannot “know” that we arennot asleep, is not the lancet needed to awaken us. We arenasleep as long as we are deceived, self-contradictory, inane;nbut Nature — which is to say, God’s will — will often prodnus half-awake, “though we groan and are reluctant.”nStudents of philosophy are generally introduced to thenthought that life is but a dream only as an instrument ofnCartesian doubt, a device to be neutralized. The moren16/CHRONICLESnnnpsychoanalytically-inclined commentators attribute even thenreadiness to consider such a theme to a deep-seated malaise,na failure of nerve in the face of woridly danger. “If onlynMarcus Aurelius had seen a good psychiatrist …” Well,nwhat evidence is there that psychiatrists, any more thannsophists, “have the ability to impart” what they do notnpossess themselves, a real equanimity and knowledge ofnwhat is really ours and what’s required of us?nDescartes’ puzzle, which no modern is supposed to takenseriously, is the simple question, “How do you know you arennot dreaming?” The puzzle, even when it is taken seriously,nis only reckoned a problem for epistemology, where thenancients recognized it as an inquiry about the status of ournlife-world, a problem for ethics. Descartes’ own answer (thatnGod would not deceive honest inquirers) has not convincednmany, but no other adequate response has been found. It isnusual nowadays to say something like the following:n(a) As long as the “dream” is consistent and coherent, nonone need care; or (b) “dreaming” only makes sense if therenis such a thing as “waking,” so everything can’t be a dream;nor (c) “this is not a dream” is more certain than any othernpremise that might be invoked to prove (or disprove) it; orn(d) we cannot even speak of the possibility that we aren(transcendentally) vat-brains or imprisoned spirits; or (e)nthings that are asleep can’t ask or answer questions (“If I asknmy son if he’s awake and he says ‘no,’ I know he’s not tellingnthe truth”). None of these claims work, even as sophisticalnphilosophy, let alone as ways of giving the really doubtfulnsome assurance of their identity.nWhat we know of ourselves, the self asnobject of our cognition, arises within anwider, unknown self. What we are is not thenthing we think.nThus: there is something we call “being awake,” but thenfact that we call it that no more proves that it has thenproperties we thereby ascribe to it than the fact that peoplenonce spoke of witches shows that there really were witches,nthough there were people whom everyone called “witches.”nIt is strange that sophists who regularly (and incorrectly)noppose Anselm’s ontological argument on the plea thatnreality cannot be determined simply by our concepts ofnreality should so unblushingly reverse their judgment whennasked to consider whether this world is a dream and andelirium.nFurthermore, (a) a coherent illusion in which we have thenimpression that we are encountering real things, real people,ncan only satisfy the self-absorbed. Some of us, at least, wantnto have real friends and companions, and to know somethingnabout the real causes of our experience, (b) Grantednthat to say of an experience that it is a dream carries thenimplication that it is not a true waking experience, it doesnnot follow that we can put our finger on true wakingnexperiences, nor that they will turn out to be the ones wen