A man once said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”. We are talking about Socrates, the great Greek philosopher (470 BCE to 399 BCE). He died defending his ideas and beliefs adamantly before the law. Ironically, he fought that he knew he knew nothing.
Once, an oracle announced, that no one is wiser than Socrates. Baffled by this news, Socrates went on a search to find someone wiser than him, to prove his friend wrong. As you might have guessed, he never found one.
Socrates himself wrote nothing, his ideas were spread by his small circle of followers. His admirers consider him as a man of great insight, wisdom, and analytic skills. I am mostly fascinated by the events leading to his death. (Rasputin, you listening? )
Searching for the truths of the universe, Socrates used to ask people questions like, “What is ……?”. For example, “What is love?” or “What is justice?”. When an interlocutor replies, he used to dig deeper asking another question. If the bedrock is not reached, he asks another question. The dialogue continues this way, searching for the essence. He finally finds a contradiction and proves his interlocutor wrong. I know this sounds annoying. Probably this gives you a fair idea about the reason for his execution. Officially, Socrates was accused of impiety and corrupting the youth. He was sentenced to death.
The degree of liberty we experience in today’s world is a privilege. At least we are not executed for being wise. On a serious note, some of the philosophy of Socrates is phenomenal. We are lucky to have born in an era of free speech.
A man once said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”. Now we know who said it.
If I ever meet Socrates, there is one thing I am definitely gonna ask him.
Hi Socrates, If you know you know nothing, then you know something. But then you can’t say you know nothing. Did you lie in the first place? XD
Also, do you know “What is a paradox?”