"But Damascius conveys [the subject or skopos of this dialogue] more exactly and more truly when he says that it is not about knowing oneself unqualifiedly, but about knowing oneself as a civic person (politikôs). And he establishes this from the definition of the human being in this dialogue as a rational soul (psukhê logikê) that uses the body as an instrument. Only the civic person uses the body as an instrument, since he is sometimes in need of spirited emotion (thumos), for example [in fighting] on behalf of his country, but also of an appetite (epithumia) for doing his citizens good. But neither the purificatory person (kathartikos) nor the contemplative person (theôrêtikos) need the body. For a purificatory person is the soul freeing itself from the body, though the ‘chains’ nevertheless remain and are not released as [they were] from the Ambracian youth; instead, they are released through sympathy. For it is possible for beings even here [sc. in the perceptible world] to exist above [sc. in the intelligible world] in a contemplative manner, because of a certain kind of sympathy, and also for beings above to exist here, when the soul sheds its wings, descends here and becomes aflutter about [this world], because of its love of the body. And the contemplative person is a soul that has been released from the body, while again here [in this world] we become intellectually aware (noein) of a release on account of the independence [of the soul from the body]. For the soul of the contemplative person, by being active (energousa) in accordance with that which is most divine within it, is in this way freed from its shell-like, pneumatic vehicle. And on this subject the Poet says
Adroit Odysseus then stripped off his rags . . .
In other words, the contemplative person who has separated himself from such ‘rags’ is truly ‘adroit’ (polumêtis). So, then, the target of the dialogue concerns knowing oneself as a civic person, if indeed the body is an impediment to the purificatory and contemplative person, and the pure person (kathartikos) is distinguished by moderation of the passions (metriopatheia), and the contemplative one (theôrêtikos) by freedom from them (apatheia). That is Damascius’ position."