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The Wisdom of Socrates Introduction Ancient wisdom is often associated with philosophers who ventured out into the world sharing their thoughts and ideas to anyone who would care to listen. One of the most influential philosophers in history is Socrates, who has mentored the likes of Plato.
Socrates uses himself as an example when he teaches that beauty does not guarantee happiness. True beauty is inner beauty, the beauty of one’s spirit and character. In conjunction with happiness, which was also a construct that Socrates discussed, he denotes that one cannot tell if a person is happy or not based on his external appearance, but happiness, like kindness, is a matter of inner qualities. His famous motto: “An unexamined life is not worth living” is a testimony to how much he values thinking and philosophy and the perennial introspection of why we exist. Constantly reflecting about one’s life and impact on others creates meaning for a person and Socrates encourages that we indulge in deep, critical thinking ourselves at all times. Socrates’ legacy is not volumes of his philosophical writings, but how he impacted the thinking of other philosophers. Plato described him as an “unambivalent” individual who stood clearly for some values and firm against others. For him, there were no gray areas2. As a sophist, or wizened people who taught valuable skills for a price, Socrates went against their practice and did not charge for his instruction3. He is considered a paradigmic individual who is known to provoke intense reactions among people – love and acceptance or rejection and exclusion of his ideas. ...
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