Questions – Part 1

“It’s the question that drives us.”

Socrates was in the habit of asking his fellow citizens questions, often seemingly straightforward and simple questions whose answers turned out to be elusive. Like a skilled interviewer, Socrates would follow up with more difficult, probing questions which would expose the ignorance of the people he asked. For example, Socrates asks his friend Euthryphro’s: What is holy? What makes an act holy? Euthryphro’s response: “Holiness is what all the gods love and its opposite is what all the gods hate, unholiness”. This seems to be a good answer until Socrates poses the difficult follow-up question.”

Is what is holy; holy because the gods approve it, or do they approve it because it is holy? As you can imagine, Euthyphro has a difficult time answering this one and grows annoyed with Socrates. This process of asking questions until the person either contradicts himself or makes a mistake has become known as the Socratic method.

Self knowledge is the key, and without it we can unlock no other knowledge worth having. How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight? We humans according to many are born free however society turns it as a prison.

The only thing worse than a prison for your mind would be a prison for your mind you didn’t know you were in, a prison from which, therefore, you would have no urge to escape. How would a person in such a prison even recognize if he were set free?

The prisoners in the cave are chained by the neck, hands, and legs. They have been this way since birth and so have no conception of any other way of life. Shadows appear on the wall in front of them, as their jailers pass animal figures before the light of a fire in the manner of a puppet show. The prisoners watch shadows on a wall, shadows not of real animals but of carved figures. The light that makes these shadows possible is firelight, not the best possible kind of light, sunlight. Yet these prisoners do not know that they are prisoners and do not suspect there is any reality but that which they experience. One day, however, one of the prisoners is set free of his chains, is dragged to the outside world, and by the light of the sun beholds things as they actually are. Rather than selfishly remaining in the outside world, the prisoner returns to tell the others about the outside world.

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet,” wrote Aristotle. “education” literally, etymologically, means “to lead out,”


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