Knowing nothing as a strategy to heal a nation: a return to Socrates and his techniques

Current Affairs

Turns out there are lot of parallels between ancient Athens and the modern Western societies.

“In ancient Athens, as much as in the U.S. today, being perceived as right translated into money and power. The city-state’s culture was dominated by the Sophists, who taught rhetoric to nobles and politicians, and the Poets, ancient playwrights. Greek theater and epic poetry were closely related to religion, and their creators were treated as mouthpieces for aesthetic and moral truth.”

The Conversation – Articles (US), J. W. Traphagan, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, The University of Texas at Austin: What Socrates’ ‘know nothing’ wisdom can teach a polarized America

Socrates inspired a stance of intellectual humility that ultimately created a way for society at that time to find a way forward, at least for a while. Seeking the truth and not insisting that you’re right by use of rhetorical flourishes is the fountain from which liberal Western democracies flowed.

I suppose it’s not a surprise that forces opposed to that world-view’s flourishing are using the same tools that Socrates’ opponents did to seemingly defeat him. Silly Sophists… truth wins in the end.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...