Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Sophist of the 21st Century...and SOPHISTRY

Socrates made a lot of powerful enemies in Athens but also touched the lives of many people because of his intellectual humility.
Socrates was critical about the sophist of his time. Socrates clearly denounced their dishonesty in the pursuit of knowledge. Many of the sophist were extorting money from people in exchange for "knowledge" 

Sophistry is defined as - (noun) a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone.

I was in grade school when I was introduced to political philosophies ie. Plato's Republic.
Many years later I realized that Socrates was Plato's mentor. I did not know Socrates and his story until later after I left my college teaching career to pursue development work with the poorest among the poor. It was 1983. Like Socrates, I was in searched of a deeper meaning to all the theories I learned from college and graduate school. I was looking for the PRAXIS to all the theories I  memorized...and still I wonder, with all those great theories, why so much poverty and sufferings ?

I have a gifted memory but I was pedantic and intellectually arrogant then. My exposure to development work from USAID, CARE and Plan International taught me valuable lessons, particularly the predicaments of materially deprived people in many parts of the world, and my personal and direct work with the poorest among the poor changed me forever. But, I have this nagging question, how many among the billions of people (7+ billion) are willing to be selfless like Socrates ?

Many others followed Socrates. Dreamers like him that made the world a better place to dwell.

Besides Socrates I have other favorites :

Blaise Paschal (Theory of Probability) Blaise was famous  not only because he thought and initiated the first calculator and co-authored the theory of probability in Statistics.
Blaise Paschal's famous wager about God.
"If you believe in God, you lose nothing, therefore I choose to believe in God."

No comments:

Post a Comment