What do you think of Plato

Socrates and Wisdom - What Do You Know About Cars?

Socrates (born 469 BC, died 399 BC) is one of the very big names in the roughly 2,500-year history of philosophy. Like many of the ancient philosophers, he lived alongside Aristotle and Plato in ancient Greece.

But his way of practicing philosophy differed very fundamentally from his colleagues. Because he didn't write. Point. First of all, this is very remarkable, it was and is still essential for every spiritual authority to put his ideas on paper. Surely this is primarily due to the desire to immortalize oneself and to make one's knowledge available to posterity. We only know about Socrates from the writings of Plato, his godlike student, and Aristotle, the inventor of metaphysics.

Socrates pursued philosophy differently: for him philosophy belonged on the street. Academic activity was a horror to him. Almost every fine day he strolled through the market square of Athens and engaged his fellow men in conversations. He was happy to do this with members of high class and knowledge, because the aim of the Socratic dialogues was always to show the other person his ignorance. With probing, pointed questions, he exposed the supposed knowledge of his counterpart as incomplete, incorrect or even wrong. But this was not based on any profiling intent. Because the often angry interlocutor, a respected member of Athens society, who was exposed here, often replied: “So you think you see that I don't know anything. But what, Socrates who calls you wise, do you think you know? Do you think your knowledge is superior to mine ”? And here we come to the core of the teaching and his famous quote "I know that I know nothing". For Socrates himself did not think he knew anything, but he was at least aware of his ignorance. He knew, he let it be known, only this one tiny bit more than anyone else, because precisely this, that he knows nothing. And in this insight, this important trifle, he indeed knew more than any of the scholars of Athens.

What did Socrates mean by not being able to know anything? And even more exciting: what does Socrates have to do with cars?

First of all, of course, one can know something. But all knowledge is relative, even important mathematical and scientific laws are created by humans. We know you, but do you have to be right? Do we really know where we come from? Where are we going Why are we in this beautiful world? Do we know the wonder of nature? Of being human?

You don't have to take it that big. You are interested in a certain term. Wikipedia is awesome. However, in the article there are about 30 words in blue with a separate explanation that couldn't really define them all. And in each of these articles another 20 ... and so on. The further you get in, the more you realize your own ignorance.

This is also called the paradox of knowledge: the more someone knows, the more clearly it becomes to him how little he knows. Because he has insight into the innumerable areas of knowledge in their depth and will recognize that his own knowledge is actually void compared to the gigantic possibilities of knowledge. If we're being completely honest, we don't really know anything. And do you know what the beautiful is: Exactly this knowledge sets you free. Because not knowing anything means staying curious. The world is open, because like a child who knows nothing about the world, we do not lose our amazement. Knowing nothing does not mean not wanting to learn. But on the contrary. If we think we know something for sure, we are "through with the chapter". We know all about it. Do not concern ourselves with it any further. The more we think we know, the smaller our world becomes.

You can already guess how cars belong here: The subject of cars is predestined to expose ignorance disguised as knowledge. There are self-appointed experts everywhere who, according to their own statements, know everything about a certain brand, the technology or the history of the automobile. And yes: there are of course those who have acquired a certain amount of knowledge through intensive examination of the topic. But if I may speak of myself at this point: For 30 years now, I've been occupied with my favorite topic almost every free minute, and yet I learn something every day. To be honest, I don't know anything. So many defunct brands with so many stories behind them. So many technical achievements by great, forgotten automotive pioneers. Countless mutually influencing determinants that affect every brand and every single model. The list could go on forever.
For me, accepting ignorance is the key to having new experiences every day. To learn. To develop myself. Anyone who thinks they know something for sure will want to defend this “knowledge” under all circumstances. There can never be room for new experiences here.
With this in mind: If you too now doubt whether you really know everything about the 126 series from Mercedes, it is better if you can say no. Because then it will be interesting again from today.
P. Busch

To borrow:

"Brief History of Philosophy" by Volker Spierling. Entertaining and very exciting, all great philosophers have their say. Socrates too. In addition, insight into the entire history of philosophy.