Learning by suffering—pathei mathos in Aeschylus’ phrase; but this means more than being undeceived: ‘what a man has to learn through suffering is not this or that particular thing, but the knowledge of the limitations of humanity, of the absoluteness of the barrier which separates him from the divine.
It is ultimately a religious insight—that kind of insight which gave birth to Greek tragedy. Thus experience is experience of human finitude. The truly experienced man is one who is aware of this, who knows that he is master neither of time nor of the future …’.
Understanding is, then, an exploration of the dimensions of human finitude.