I Know That I Know Nothing: Socrates

Don’t act as if you know everything; you don’t and everything you do know may be wrong. Have the courage to admit that you do not know anything and instead ask questions.

Some time in the late 5th century BC, the high priestess in Athens was asked who the wisest person around was. Her response was the philosopher named Socrates.

Socrates was shocked. How could he be the wisest around?! But the high priestess was known for telling accurate prophecies. Intrigued by the idea Socrates set out to find someone wiser than himself.

He interviewed all the smartest people in Athens, including politicians, poets and craftsmen. But what he found surprised him.

The politicians claimed wisdom, but had no knowledge. The poets could touch people with their words, but did not know their meaning. And the craftsmen had great knowledge but only in a specific and narrow field.

Everyone he spoke to claimed that they were wise, but they exaggerated how much they really knew. Many people claimed they knew a lot about something, when in fact they didn’t.

Socrates, on the other hand, knew that he knew nothing, and he wouldn’t pretend to know otherwise. He was aware of his own ignorance, and that was why he was the wisest person around.

“The fool doth think he is wise,
but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”

William Shakespeare

We Don’t Really Know Anything

When we think about it, there’s actually a lot of things we know nothing about. Science is constantly proving us wrong and being updated.

Think of some of the things that were ‘fact’ many years ago. People used to think the earth was flat and that if you sail across the sea you’ll drop off the edge of the earth.

Think about what we know to be true now, that will seem ridiculous in 50, 100 or 1,000 years time. What will people look back on our time period and laugh at? Everything we know now, may be completely wrong.

It’s Ok To Know Nothing

Remember; the only true wisdom, is in knowing you know nothing.

You can’t learn something if you think you already know the answer. If you think that there’s nothing left to learn, then you’ll shut yourself off from ever learning it.

The moment you think you know everything, is the moment you become closed minded and stop growing.

Be wise and have courage to admit your ignorance.

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