Not Rasputin

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.

He knew he knew nothing? Nothing? Which dimension are we talking in?

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?”

Published by Mayank

Always "Start with Why". Says Simon Sinek.

39 thoughts on “Not Rasputin

  1. There is a lovely zen proverb which says ‘to understand nothing takes time’. Unravelling the essence of who we are and what life is – is an act of megation and unlearning all that we see and believe

    Liked by 5 people

    1. So true.

      “…act of negation and unlearning all that we see and believe….”- Socrates negated the myths that falsely explained the world at that time. For instance, he was able to foresee the defects in democracy before anyone else saw.

      That is why Socrates’s philosophy is admired widely, and the zen proverb explains it beautifully

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked the article
      Haha even I like the last question
      The statement by Socrates is a paradox. Another example of a paradox is – “Nobody goes to Murphyโ€™s Bar anymore โ€” itโ€™s too crowded.”. [ How can Murphy’s Bar be crowded if nobody goes there? ] paradoxes are always fun to think on
      The meaning in Socrate’s paradoxical statement is deep philosophically. And that makes it cool.

      Again, a big thumbs up for being a discerning reader

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am glad I read this post today, Mayank. Paradoxes exist to reinforce the fact that our world is not binary, but rather grey. A statement doesn’t necessarily have to be affirmative or negative, it could be recursive too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very well said, the world is not binary. I remember wondering at Zeno’s paradox as a school kid. It might not be a paradox for me now, but it taught me that paradoxes play with the infinities.
      Thanks for your insightful comment, Karthigeyan

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I came across Zeno’s paradox through independent reading and it was really interesting how physics solved it independent of math ๐Ÿ™‚
        Paradox truly makes one think out-of-the-box.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. So back in philosophy class I asked a professor about seeming paradoxes like the one you mention.
    “Change is constant”
    “I know nothing”
    He answered that these were “metatruths.”
    More word games?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. Paradoxes are the truths, that makes sense only when we combine multiple non paradoxical truths.
      I love paradoxes arising from word games, but even more intriguing are the ones arising from nature and science. One of them you might be knowing is fermi paradox. I always want to read more and more about these

      Thanks for your wonderful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right. One ‘solution’ to the Fermi paradox might be the sheer volume of reports and experiential accounts about ETs. I know it’s not science as conventionally understood but it could be taken as data.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In North America and probably Europe it’s a common short form for “extraterrestrials” — i.e. extraterrestrial life.

    Now, just what that is, here’s where the debate could get interesting… ๐Ÿ‘ฝ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ›ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting. If some of the ETs accounted are indeed real extraterrestrial life, then we might be in deep trouple.
      One of my friends once talked about whole brain emulation(WBE). When I googled it, came to know that might be the point where a life form becomes extinct(physically) and immortal(technically). WBE is also a very believable explaination as to why an advanced civilization ends(physically). It’s basically a futuristic technology where the brain of humans are simulated(and cloned) in computers, providing every possible sensation of walking/running/fighting, but without any physical body part. A sensation of infinite pleasure at will, without any physical harm. So, ETs might be right there, without any physical presence

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s possible, you know. I wrote an unpublished sci-fi novel about time travel. An aspect of it entails part-organic part-machine beings existing way out there, in the distant future. They are so evolved that they can actually reach back through time and psychologically influence human beings in the past (e.g. our present).

    I think there are many mysteries out there that most of us don’t consider—except in the realm of science fiction and maybe philosophy and religion. ๐Ÿค”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your novel sounds cool. I’d love to read it. I totally agree, that not only scientists, but common people should also keep searching answers to the mysteries.

      By the way, i mentioned WBE because it’s no more a completely out of reach technology. WBE is successful for some single cell organisms.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. From my experience, some people are more conventional and others are inclined to ask questions. As the old saying goes… “it takes all kinds..”

    I’d be curious to learn more about WBE and single-cell organisms… would you have a link?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, that is fascinating. For a long time, I thought that any kind of mattery/energy – a rock, a TV or a toaster – could have some kind of rudimentary consciousness. And that the more organized the energy, the more complex the consciousness (You probably know that some Asian philosophies think this way).

        But I also wondered – in SciFi scenarios – if uploaded brainwaves would also have a *soul.*

        I believe the soul is a purely spiritual entity, something that goes beyond matter/energy.

        More recently, I got to thinking that if God can give our bodies a soul, perhaps God would bestow a soul on an uploaded consciousness.

        Now that is thought-provoking.

        Robots with souls!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Defining or quantifying conciousness is very difficult job. Humans never understood properly what exactly conciousness is. And that’s why we have never made a concious device.
        May be in future, as you said- robots with conciousness

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Heyy! I am so glad you loved reading my posts. Every comment means a lot to me, and every appreciation motivates me to keep writing.
      Thank you for taking out time. Hope you like other posts too!


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