Tag Archives: Socrates

Wisdom Books: Rediscovering Plato by Norman D. Livergood

Rediscovering_Plato_Norman_Livergood

The Greek thinker Plato (428-348 BCE) speaks trenchantly to us today about twenty-first century barbarism,” writes author Norman D. Livergood in the introduction to Rediscovering Plato and the Mystical Science of Dialectic. “No other single thinker offers us the weapons to defeat contemporary oppression and ignorance.”A demonic cabal has seized power and imposed a fascistic dictatorship on the United States,” writes Livergood. “It is only when teachings like Plato’s dialogues become current again in the West that we will be able to rise above barbarity and depravity to a more enlightened existence.”Not only can Plato teach us how to withstand a constant barrage of propagandized power-plays, but Plato also provides esoteric Perennialist instructions for realizing our spiritual potential, which is even more important than struggling against despotism and benightedness. Plato helps us to rescue ourselves not only from political-economic-religious tyrants, but also from our own tyrannies: our mindless self-indulgence, our acquiescence to ignorance and self-satisfaction.

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Enlightening Talks: The Wisdom of Socrates with Peter Boghossian and Stefan Molyneux

Socrates

Stefan Molyneux guest hosts the Peter Schiff radio show and speaks with Peter Boghossian on the basics of the Socratic Method. Stefan also discusses governmental responses to gold backed alternative currencies and the fundamentals of love.

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Words To The Wise: #1 Be As Ignorant As Socrates

As you may have noticed recently, I have been mostly reticent on this blog due to life’s commitments getting inconveniently in the way ever so often.  So I thought I would try my hand at the less time-consuming arts of writing the odd aphorism, maxim or short essay (very short I hope).  Not to say that I have anything wise or knowledgeable to offer but I thought from time to time I’d share my own thoughts and observations on this mysterious journey called existence.

So here I begin this series “Words To The Wise” with a legendary Greek sage who knew how much he didn’t know.

#1 Be as Ignorant as Socrates when it comes to acquiring knowledge and truth;

seems to be an oxymoron at first glance, but to those who are slightly familiar with Socrates’ story this advice will make good sense. For those who know Socrates to be “the wisest of them all” but cannot fathom him also being ignorant at the same time, must understand what being “the wisest of them all” truly meant.

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Wisdom Books: The Complete Works of Plato

Collected here are the complete works of Plato, in the classic translation by Benjamin Jowett. One of the most influential thinkers of Ancient Greece or any other era, Plato formed the basis of Western philosophy. Mostly written in the form of dialogues with his teacher Socrates as the protagonist, his works address themes as varied as metaphysics, psychology, pedagogy, politics, and ethics. Despite the weighty subject matter, Plato’s writing remains accessible to the general reader, and infused with wit and humor. Why is Plato worth reading today? His dialogues are vitally concerned with how we should live. His arguments always have an engagement with life. He combines the logical rigor of a philosopher with the imagination and artistry of a poet. In short, despite the passage of thousands of years, Plato remains relevant and compelling.

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What is Wisdom but the Vanquishing of Ignorance?

The hideous visage of evil is clearly perceptible in our time. Behind it lurks the perpetual conspiracy of ignorance, threatening to overwhelm all noble elements of human culture. At present, the flood of ignorance endangers the very foundations of civilization.

Ignorance Kills

“Evil actions are the result of ignorance.” ~ Plato

Ignorance is not merely the lack of knowledge, but self-destructive turning away from truth in all areas of life. Persons develop a taste for ignorance, the predisposition to embrace erroneous beliefs based on presumption or mere authority. The ignorant person believes he knows what he actually doesn’t know; he becomes delusional. He is deranged.

We find it difficult to understand how people today deliberately refuse to look at what is actually happening in the world, believing the lies and distortions their leaders tell them. With a straight face, political, economic, religious, and media figures tell the people that black is white, war is peace, lies are truths, joblessness is economic recovery, ignorance is intelligence.

The Nature of Ignorance

The worst feature of ignorance, Plato tells us, is self-satisfaction. “For herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is nevertheless satisfied with himself: he has no desire for that of which he feels no want.” (Symposium)

Self-love, Plato recognizes, sees its own ignorance as wisdom; it seeks no cure, “the soul wallowing in the mire of every sort of ignorance and by reason of lust becomes the principal accomplice in her own captivity.” (Phaedo) It will not let a more competent person perform what he can. Ignorance can only be overcome by an outside force of true wisdom.

Plato describes ignorance as the “greatest of diseases” and says that “the excessive love of self is in reality the source in each man of all offences; for the lover is blinded about the beloved, so that he judges wrongly of the just, the good, and the honorable, and thinks that he ought always to prefer himself to the truth.” (Phaedo)

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