In the Apology by Plato, Socrates made many bold and inspiring statements leading the reader to have to interpret it on their own terms. He stated, “I am likely to be wiser . . . to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know” (21d). Later, Socrates went on to say, “I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul” (30a-b). These statements and how they support one another can only be understood by analyzing what is wisdom, excellence, and who is fit to teach these to others.
First, the idea of wisdom brought to light by Socrates is one of the most difficult, yet crucial, ideas to define and understand. Upon receiving the prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi, Socrates said, “I am not wise at all” (21b). In the text he described his journey to prove the oracle wrong and the knowledge that was gained from it. As Socrates questioned men from all walks of life including politicians, poets and craftsman he came to the conclusion; “human wisdom is worth little or nothing” (23a). Like so many, Socrates faced the superfluous battle where one another argue points or try to teach others about things in which they know nothing about. Wisdom is not having knowledge in all things but understanding oneself and the knowledge they possess. In society, many people are thought to be wise either because they have a certain title or for their age. Yet, no one person can be all knowing. It is not a lack of wisdom to only have minimal knowledge on multiple subjects. However, it is ignorant, and irresponsible, to speak or even attempt to teach another on subject...
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...ything worthwhile the youth. Instilling an eagerness in the future, their youth, to look inward upon themselves and not strive to gain wealth or earthly possessions but rather to grow as men. Without the ability to analyze their own ideas and beliefs they could not hope to improve themselves as well as the population as a whole.
Only by understanding what wisdom, excellence, and who embraces the attributes necessary to teach these ideas can someone understand how each of Socrates statements were meant to build upon each other. It is these ideas of growing in goodness of the soul and by each person understanding themselves can they hope to truly grow as individuals. If all people strive to grow and to focus on looking inward as opposed to the material world around them then society and the world can truly grow and become a place of truth and justice.
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