posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 03:46 PM
Okay, that sounds silly. But let me explain.
I am taking a philosophy class right now at uni, and we're talking about Socrates. Socrates' main philosophy, if you aren't aware, is that the
greatest wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.
It seems paradoxical - you know that you don't know - but it makes sense. What do we really know? Do we know what comes after death? Do we know that
God exists? Do we know that aliens are here on Earth? Unless we've had some sort of divine/et intervention, I imagine most of us are speculating and
then placing a belief in something. But then we go on to act as the authority of subjects when asked. People are so certain Indigo Children are real
so they preach it to the world as if it were fact - when really, it is speculation. You don't really know. Same with death. People are afraid to die,
but to Socrates, this makes little sense, because how do we know death is bad? Are we authorities on death? Have we experienced it enough to place a
rational fear in it? No, not really.
In Plato's dialogue titled 'Euthyphro' (and for those of you who don't know the dialogues, they are dialogues Plato recorded of what Socrates said
to other people), Socrates is talking to a Priest named Euthyphro. Euthyphro is prosecuting his own father for murder because Euthyphro considers it
the pious thing to do. Socrates says to him, "Okay, if you're so smart, tell me what it means to be pious." Euthyphro can't actually come up with
an answer. He just says, "I know what it is and that's what matters. My idea of pious is the right one." Socrates says, "If you can't actually
explain what pious is, how do you know it's pious to prosecute your own father for murder?" Socrates continues to question Euthyphro, never making a
statement of belief but merely questioning Euthyphro's, until it becomes clear Euthyphro has no real basis in what he believes other than the fact
that he believes it.
The moral of Euthyphro is that we shouldn't consider ourselves the possessors of any kind of superior knowledge unless we are so certain in our own
minds that we are right. You can pretend to be right all you want, but if a few little questions can make you privately question your own
'knowledge', then you know something is wrong, which is the position Euthyphro was in.
So to turn this into a philosophy that has a function on ATS, we simply need to take a step back. When we yell at people to deny ignorance, are we
being Euthyphro? At the end of the dialogue, Euthyphro's convictions have wavered considerably. He doesn't believe he knows what pious even is
anymore, and he gets so irritated with that that he and Socrates stop talking. Are we so certain of what we say here that if Socrates interrogated us,
we would have no wavering of our knowledge and belief, even hidden? Sure, we all pretend to be confident with what we say. But on the inside is where
we know that our convictions are shaky, and perhaps not true knowledge whatsoever.
I would hazard to say that there are many Euthyphros on ATS - people who flame and bite and say "I'm right you're wrong end of story." But without
having the ability to examine our own knowledge, to say "You know, maybe I don't actually know everything about this subject, maybe I need to step
back and see what others have to say before I make a decision" we lose the chance to really learn. It's not about being the smartest here, or the
most intelligent, because in the end, none of us really know. We are on a conspiracy theory website because we can't be completely sure of anything
we say. So, in the spirit of Socrates, maybe we could take a step back from our defense of 'I Know The Full Truth' and embrace that fact that none
of us here really know and we need to be open-minded if we ever want to figure anything out.
P.S. I know this subject has been discussed on ATS before, but I figured I would put it in a philosophical perspective since I just got out of class
and that's the mood I'm in, plus, I really wanted to get the idea of 'question yourself and question everything else' out because I don't feel
like there is enough questioning on ATS. There is a lot of questioning, more than 'real life,' but also a lot of pure close-minded preaching here
that doesn't help us on our search for truth.