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By Paul Valéry

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In the earlier version K a n t declares that the anthropological question is the most fundamental of them all, since the first three questions m a y be regarded as phrases of it' (Wheelwright, in Buber [10], p . 72). K a n t did not elaborate this germinal idea. It was rather Kierkegaard who later, as Buber said, 'indicated that thought cannot authorise itself, but is authorised only out of the existence of the thinking m a n ' . But it was K a n t , as we have seen, who brought back the question, W h a t a m I ?

Implicit in this is a concept of maturity a n d completeness, and the growth of a 'healthy moral sense', b u t these are never fully realisable in any actual living individual. Some aspects of a person m a y simply be incapable of growth or change, faults in the psychic tissue which he has to live w i t h : you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear even by psychoanalysis. I n coming to accept such truths psychoanalysis has simply come to accept the great complexities of the texture of h u m a n nature, a n d the inevitable faultiness and intractability of h u m a n personality.

It involves the recognition of certain h u m a n realities which are not to be found by empiricism, such as the observation (in psychology) of behaviour : they are the facts of experience, of the inner world. T h e y recognise the mind's existence in a body which has a history and in which a person lives with his unique experiential history a n d his personal culture. W h a t is most real about m a n is his psychic reality, with its signs and meanings, from phantasy to creative art and symbolism in living.

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Amphion by Paul Valéry

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