The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sealing Plato's Cave

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Socrates, one of my philosopher heroes, was sentenced to death. Why?

He asked too many questions.

"Socrates' paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to accusations of wrongdoing. Socrates defended his role as a gadfly until the end: at his trial, when Socrates was asked to propose his own punishment, he suggested a wage paid by the government and free dinners for the rest of his life instead, to finance the time he spent as Athens' benefactor. He was, nevertheless, found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety, and subsequently sentenced to death by drinking a mixture containing poison hemlock." Wikipedia

Ah. Corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and impiety.

I like it. A lot.

Socrates corrupted those around him by urging them to question anything and everything. I try to do the same. Don't always succeed, but it's a pretty good bet Socrates didn't manage it every time either. I was raised to question, to wonder, to imagine, to push and to reach. I have often, often, often been accused of taking it too far. Fortunately, no one has offered me a jug of hemlock yet, although some people have been moved to violence against me.

Why?

I fall back on a maxim I have coined - If the truth hurts, you're living wrong.

Questions are posed and, in turn the querent is ridiculed. People will not answer the question. Rather, they hurl invective and insults. They denigrate the intelligence of the questioner. They call the questions asinine and stupid.

And yet, when faced with questions they are happy to answer, they will gleefully say "There is no such thing as a stupid question."

Hah?

I give you this comment from a FB gadfly of mine: "Yeah, I've gotten use to the whining of white guys. It's a never ending thing and when they get really mad they chase you down and shoot you. I got chased on the highway last night by some jerks who didn't like my Obama bumper sticker. They had NRA stickers on their big ole truck, fyi."

And "
Stupid people get to talk too."

Why the insults for a simple a question? And which person is doing the whining?

Yes, it's easy to say "Baker, just go look up and you'll find the answers." Yep. Can do. But I am more interested in hearing YOUR reasonings, more interested in hearing YOUR thoughts. You matter to me. Else, I'd not be asking you.

A person cannot change the world until he changes himself. Change only comes from a willingness to accept and integrate new information. New information only comes from observation.

Anyway, Plato's Cave is and has been an incredibly popular hangout for thousands of years. What say we all get out of the cave and start talking to each other instead of slinging insults?


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