The Socratic Deception
The Socratic Deception has its origins in the dialogue “Meno” as recorded by Plato. In Plato’s Meno we have ground zero for the Socratic Deception. This marks the beginning of the end for the grand Hellenic experiment in rational thought. Socratic Deception as expressed in Plato’s Meno is based on the theory of disembodied remembered knowledge. Socrates attempted to prove this by first establishing that the slave boy did not know the Pythagorean formula for doubling a square.
Socrates then proceeded to give a number of guided questions or leading choices to the slave boy until he got the right answer. Socrates declared this to be his proof that knowledge is not acquired but remembered. I find this to be the first instance of guided choice used as a substitute for acquiring knowledge or. This is the Socratic Deception, his “grand proof” of an all knowing soul, or higher all knowing intelligence. Most people these days would say the act of thinking helps them solve problems by finding solutions. But is it really so? Do they actually think? Is thinking really even necessary these days? Under the Socratic barrage of multiple guided choices who needs to think to survive? All we have to do is choose between chocolate or vanilla. Black or white. This is the extent of our Socratic thinking process we have inherited. We are being spoon fed choices and being led to the “correct” answers. Whether to vote for a candidate or a war or choose a pill or a vocation or escape vacation, or religion, or your choice of afterlife; paradise or hell. The question whether there is a heaven or hell is not even debated using rational thought free of superstition or fear. It has become accepted as a matter of faith or belief.
Socrates “proves” the slave boy can “remember” the formula how to double the size of a square. The slave boy has no previous knowledge of geometry. He is led by Socrates to the right answer and guided in “remembering” the correct geometric formula.
This is how Socrates convinces Meno and consequently the rest of our modern civilization that knowledge is accessible as an act of remembering instead of as an act of learning. Superstition and rational thought were thus combined by Socrates and adopted by our modern civilizations. Rational thought was suppressed and is still being punished to this very day. Thus superstition is masked with fear, racism is masked by religion, and bigotry is masked by nationalistic cultural expression. The dehumanizing of the human species can be traced right back to this Socratic dialogue written by Plato; Meno.
Modern problem solving is not based on reason or rational thought. Okay, let me be a bit more specific; by rational thought I mean our ability to consider all sides of a question or problem and develop a series of options for consideration. The question is: can you consider all the options from everyone’s point of view as well without fear, bias or superstition? Now, can you see them all with equal measure the benefits or drawbacks to you and others by choosing one point of view or the other? Can you then one by one eliminate the most undesirable points of view until the best solution is found for you and others for the short and the long term? Can you then communicate this idea to everyone and receive their opinions by being open to finding an even better solution?
The best solution would be best for how many? The best solution may not be the best solution for everyone or for oneself that is finally decided on. It depends on what your objectives are. In order to be able to accomplish this task of problem solving you have to incorporate feelings, or emotions, that are important in order to assess your own and others behavior or predict their future behavior. Rational thought is not separate from the body. Rational thought incorporates every relevant reality or fact and detail in order to arrive at the best solution. Many times the Ancient Greeks would exemplify this in battle. Their strategy sometimes required them to lose in order to gain a bigger victory later on. They were not afraid to retreat or even run away, in order to trap their opponents and defeat them. Growing up in the Canadian school system I argued with my teachers over the English military strategy of taking turns shooting at each other. To me was the most idiotic military strategy of all time. My teachers did not agree. They tended to claim it was part of that period… Yes the period of darkness, superstition and fear… Yes fear under the threat of divine punishment by God and retribution by King and country on their family honor…
An example of a man who successfully employed rational thought to the greatest degree I would say is Themistocles. He was able to develop a rational but yet daring strategy to defeat the Persians. Rational thought does not mean safe or boring it is not an intellectual idea it is a state of consciousness. It is an active engagement with the physical world free of superstition and fear. He convinced the Athenians to abandon their beloved city and run to safety to the island of Salamina.
Victory would not be assured if they abandoned their city, but defeat was certain if they attempted to defend it.
To add to the measure of difficulty Themistocles faced in trying to convince the Athenians to adopt this strategy was their willingness for self sacrifice. What if they lost anyway? How will they be remembered then? The 300 Spartans sacrificed themselves to the last man only a few months earlier. How could the Athenians run away? What if they were betrayed like the 300 Spartans before them? If unsuccessful they would be hunted down, captured, or killed to the last man woman and child. They gambled on rational thought, not on their emotions, or bias or pride or ego, or superstition, but on the most rational strategy available to them. So they abandoned their city to the Persians to be burned down and allowed their temples to be desecrated. This was one of the most daring and clever deceptions ever in history of warfare, Themistocles lured the Persian navy into the Straits of Salamis by deception and destroyed them.
Unfortunately modern Greek politicians have shown no capacity for rational thought during the recent economic crisis in negotiating with their creditors. Greece would not be suffering under the rule of the barbaric and irrational economic policies ordered by the corrupt bankers today if they had used rational thought to devise a winning strategy.
One Who Thinks Like a Hellene is a Hellene
Ironically Themistocles was later falsely accused of treason by the Spartans and he went into exile. Themistocles thus fled from Greece, and traveled to Asia Minor, where he entered the service of the Persian King Artaxerxes I, the son of Xerxes the King of Persia Themistocles defeated at the battle of Salamina. He was made governor of Magnesia, and lived there for the rest of his life. Rational thought is loyal only to truth and the freedom to pursuit it. The attachment to country, religion, or social standings are not designed to free the individual but to enslave them. Such blind attachments lead to unsustainable and wrong decisions. These are the type of decisions that have brought us on the verge of total planetary collapse at a push of a button. Never has the danger been greater and never has the blindness been more complete. Our blind attachment to nationalistic, superstitious religious beliefs is the greatest threat to our survival as a species. The ancient Hellenes declared that anyone who did not think like them was a barbarian. Anyone who did think like them was a Hellene. They were the first to make this differentiation of humans based only on Rational Thought instead of race, religion or family ancestry. For a brief 100 years of their history they exemplified it. Can we do it again before its too late?
Whether they are Good, Bad, or Ugly, solutions are always relative; they are interdependent not absolute. But we still have to make individual choices based on our specific points of view. And so we shall. Are you not curious about how someone else may reach a vastly different decision based on the same set of facts? Would this way of thinking of rational scenarios give you additional insight you that you may find useful in your decision making? Ultimately we have to choose the best solution that would bring us the most benefit. The problem is most of the time we equate the best solution as the easiest to understand. The obvious immediate benefit choice may not be the best solution to our problem. This is where philosophy steps in. This is where philosophy’s value is best displayed. As a practical problem solving method based on rational thought. This is the origin of philosophy, rational thought and freedom to look at a problem without superstition. Rational thought extends a lot further than simply not being superstitious. A superstitious or an emotional solution to a problem may at times be correct. Correct solution does not prove the method of acquiring the solution is correct.
A stopped clock still tells time with absolute accuracy twice a day.
In fact if I was to look at my watch and remind you the time is 9:00am, and in the evening if I was to repeat this in the evening and remind you it is now 9:00pm, you would think that my watch actually worked. In the modern arena of competing ideas I see very few competitors. Most are not even present, or even aware there is a debate going on. In fact most people think they are very involved. Most people think their watches actually work. They believe they are fully functioning thinking human beings.
In a democracy most people do vote after all. Voting is the final act of an engaged citizenry not the only act. Voting comes at the end of a great deal of debate between citizens not between candidates. In Athenian Democracy you did not vote for candidates you voted on issues each one separately. There was no actual leader or “President” who made decisions. There were 10 “Presidents” who presided over the process they did not arbitrarily rule. Some were great orators and were able to influence the debate with their clarity of thought and debating skills. Pericles the man who had the Acropolis rebuilt in all its splendor was one such man. The Parthenon is a tribute to his will to build something that would last beyond his time and beyond the Hellenic time of triumph during the 5th century BC. But even he fell under the weight of his own hubris and built the Parthenon but in so doing alienated his allies. They soon turned against Athens rule and Sparta began a war that would put an end to the Athenian miracle.
The rise of Athenian power created suspicions among his allies fearing Athens would become too powerful on its own. The Spartans rebelled against this Athenian dominance and commenced a 29 year war that brought to an end the Hellenic Athenian miracle. Pericles and his whole family perished due to a typhoid break out. Some historians claim this was the result of large number of people seeking the protection behind the Athenian walls. It is assumed this sudden increase in population overwhelmed the sanitation capabilities which led to the typhoid outbreak. I suspect this may have been the first instance of biological warfare on the part of the Spartans to deliberately pollute the Athenian water supply. This 27 year war was brutal with both sides breaking all of the rules in their lust for victory. The Athenians and the Spartans increasingly used more and more mercenaries to fight in the front lines and gave them free range to terrorize their opponents and desecrate the dead. The Spartans and their allies eventually won the war.
Sparta defeats Athens
The Spartans could not rule over Athens because their culture was far more popular than their own. The magnificent Acropolis was the sum of all their achievements. The Spartans left them alone but toothless and relatively free to continue their experiment in free thought. But it was too late. The damage had been done. The rapid growth of their intellectual abilities led to their downfall. While Pericles was building the magnificent Acropolis the pseudo-intellectuals like Socrates and Plato were gnawing at the fringes of the great debates twisting truth to fashion a new philosophy of disembodied knowledge. The theory of the eternal all knowing soul was being fashioned into a tangible reality. It is precisely this disembodiment of knowledge that was their downfall. Knowledge removed from the body becomes brutal because it has lost its humanity. It has lost its basis of rational thought. The Spartans took everything else but left Athenian democracy alone to die a slow death at the hands of the Socratic/Platonic method. Socrates was finally brought to justice for his crimes against Athens. But it was way too late.
The Athenian court now under Spartan rule made one last attempt to put the genie back in the bottle by sentencing Socrates to death for his contrived, false and misleading form of rational thinking. Even in midst of their demise they tried to stop this form of diminished thinking by sentencing Socrates to death. It was too late. The demise of Hellenic thought was already a runaway train careening out of control down the steep excrement filled slopes of the Acropolis.
The Spartan city state and their allies defeated Athens in a protracted 27 year war. This effectively put an end to the Hellenic Miracle. Socrates life straddled these two key developments. The 27 year war with Sparta began in 431 BC and ended with Sparta’s victory in 404 BC. Is it any wonder the rise of Socratic thinking coincided with the decline of Athenian supremacy?
Eventually Athens having lost touch with its Ancestral Gods due to the Socratic deception. and their reason for being. They fell to their knees at the sight of St. Paul who came calling with stories of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The Socratic theme of diembodied knowledge and the manner of his trial and death mimicked the story of Jesus very closely. It was not a stretch for them Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus at the Acropolis and said:
“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”
This is a prime example of Socratic deception as expressed by St Paul 350 years later. Judaism at the time needed to reinvigorate their ancestral worship by way of a Messiah son of the unnamed God. Ironically the Athenians seized on the story of crucifixion and resurrection and built Christianity on the remnants of the Socratic Deception and abandoned their ancestor worship all together. They were already prepared for this union of Judaic religion and Socratic thought in the form of Christianity. During Alexander the Great’s conquest of Jerusalem a great deal of Socratic thought and Hellenic knowledge was assimilated by Judaism, but they did not abandon their ancestral worship; Judaic mythology could trace their ancestral lineage back to Adam and Eve. A few centuries later the Roman empire was Hellenized and they embraced the Socratic/Plato Judeo/Christian beliefs. The seat of Roman power moved from Rome to Constantinople.
The Hellenic philosophical texts in the great library of Alexandria, Athens and elsewhere were taken over to remote Christian monasteries, Rome, Constantinople and disappeared. Many are still intact where they still lie today hidden from view. It is forbidden to read them. If anyone gets too close to reading them they were and are being destroyed or taken out of circulation. It is one of the great unresolved mysteries; what happened to all the Hellenic manuscripts? They were continuously being copied for centuries and yet very few have survived. The dogmatic religions of the world made sure they will never see the light of day. Rational thought is the biggest threat to monotheistic, monolithic, dogmatic, fanatic, religious beliefs. One such manuscript by Archimedes was recently discovered. The original Archimedes manuscript was largely erased and written over by Christian scribes who ran out of parchment. It Is now confirmed that Archimedes actually discovered calculus.
By hiding, destroying, or covering up this knowledge how much pain and suffering have these men of God heaped on humanity? Using calculus, the precise number of deaths they have caused can be calculated. The horror of unsustainable growth and irrational population increase could have been averted. The ban on contraception and the uncontrolled population growth fostered by these men of God are creating a time bomb for our planet. It is unsustainable. Without a true resurrection of Rational Thought we are doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs. Extinct.
We bow down to these type of intellectually shallow religious beliefs of after life and all knowing godhead. We even sacrifice our children by sending them out to war with the blessings of these same religions. We have turned truth on its head; we have managed to use rational thought and reason to justify religious superstition and intellectual laziness.
What is the actual cause of this diminished thinking capacity? Is it the demands of modern consumerist society? Have we been brainwashed? Has the need for quick answers and quick convenient solutions caused us to loose our ability to think deeply about anything? Fortunately we can trace the shift from Rational thought to this new type of faulty and very deceptively manipulated thinking all the way back to its origin.
Socrates lived between 469 – 399 BC. Five years after Sparta defeated Athens, Socrates was sentenced to death. Socrates was not the cause of the Athenian demise he was the symptom. The symptom of excess. The type of thinking that became lazy and manipulative because the society had grown so powerful so rich they thought they were indestructible. They no longer had a need to seek the truth they played with the ideas of truth in their minds and exchanged them like poker chips in a game of cards. Hubris – Pride flooded the Acropolis with self righteous vain philosophers all vying for attention. Rational thought became a parlour game for entertainment instead of as an existential need to know to learn and to examine. This is where Socrates found his audience for his vanity of ideas. He was even invited to the Pericles household by his wife Aspasia, where he finally gained some stature in Athenian society. These ideas have no reason to exist except to make Socrates look smarter than everyone else or to make everyone else look a lot dumber depending on which way you look at it. The intellect is best used to solve problems and not for parlor games of one-up-man-ship that lead to no useful end. What is the use of a complex mind if it cannot be used to solve problems, generate success, happiness and freedom? This is akin to having a mouth and only using it to talk and never eating. You will die. This is how our intellectual abilities have died as well. Shriveled and unable to function without external suggestion or persuasion. This in turn resulted in making us all act stupid and eventually we became stupid. Our intellect stunted and unable to assess our circumstances in a rational manner we sought help from above. Hope for Divine intervention, Prayer and Faith became our problem solving techniques. After 2,500 years we still by and large fail to solve the simplest of problems for our long term survival.
Philosophical development suffered. Socratic ideas were more like bullying tactics than philosophical search for truth. He was not really interested in Truth. He was able to use distorted logic and his manipulative dialectic method to make Truth look like a Lie. That is why Socrates must die. His example gave the world demagoguery not only in politics but in science, religion and philosophy as well. This is the key to understanding the damage Socratic thought has done to our ability to think rationally. The fact is Socrates never wrote anything down; most likely because he could not afford the papyrus or lack of proper grammatical education. We know him only from Plato’s writings. Perhaps Plato was not the best transmitter of Socratic thought. There was no video or sound recording at the time, so how could Plato faithfully represent Socrates conversations? Socrates animosity and sarcastic nature is still evident in Plato’s writings, but how much of the belligerent rants were removed if this much was kept in? Once you realize the modern scientific inquiry was born out of Socratic thought then you may begin to understand the cause of our mass failures to develop rational sustainable solutions for our ever increasing populations. Socratic dialectic method and the theory of the all knowing soul as expressed by Plato became the foundation of Christianity.
Socrates must be rolling in his grave or laughing his head off knowing that he provided the tools to justify in the name of Judeo/Christian/Muslim barbaric acts and atrocities. If only his death sentence could have stopped his belligerence. Like the Christ on the bloody cross his martyrdom gave rise to the opposite of his intention, or he simply did not care what effect his words eventually had on humanity’s evolution.
Lust for the negative
It is not easy to understand the reasons of humanities lust for the negative. Perhaps there is some great treasure hidden there. Perhaps the reason is simply that it’s so much easier to tear something down instead of building something. Perhaps these are all lessons for the rest of us who are standing on the sidelines watching the ebb and flow of the struggles for truth and justice. Perhaps we need to engage more and stand firm defending what is right and not what is clever. Perhaps we need to re-engage in the search for truth and find there the common ground. Confront the stupidity of irrational arguments wherever they may be heard immediately and not let the political, religious and philosophical bullies take over the conversation. Perhaps its time to start again from the beginning and question what is truth what is sustainable development and what is the meaning of life. Do we want this planet to survive or do we want our stunted version of reality to destroy what is left of it?
Here is an excerpt from Plato’s Meno:
Soc. Mark now the farther development. I shall only ask him, and not teach him, and he shall share the enquiry with me: and do you watch and see if you find me telling or explaining anything to him, instead of eliciting his opinion. Tell me, boy, is not this a square of four feet which I have drawn?
( This is the moment Socrates convinces Meno that the slave boy “a stopped clock” is actually a perfect time piece and a brilliant mathematician. It recollects the time perfectly. “You see this diagonal line cuts the square into two equal triangles. So if we want to double the square we would need four of these right ? So you are ready to proclaim that the double of a square is the length of the diagonal times four? Yes master. But of course you are”. You the slave boy have proven knowledge is not gained but remembered. You an uneducated slave boy with no knowledge of geometry recollected a solution to how to double the size of a square in another square. You are indeed a genius. No need to try too hard to learn you can simply recollect what we tell you to recollect. Another question: Is it 9am or 9pm? As you know am is morning and pm is night. How about you go and look outside and see whether it is day or night. It is day master the slave boy answers. Now look at your watch is it 9 o’clock? Ah so you are ready to proclaim that it is 9am? Yes master. So you have correctly told time with a stopped clock using a question and answer method of observation. Therefore it is proven once again a stopped clock tells perfect time! )
Soc.And now I add another square equal to the former one?
Soc.And a third, which is equal to either of them?
Soc.Suppose that we fill up the vacant corner?
Soc.Here, then, there are four equal spaces?
Soc.And how many times larger is this space than this other?
Soc.But it ought to have been twice only, as you will remember.
Soc.And does not this line, reaching from corner to corner, bisect each of these spaces?
Soc.And are there not here four equal lines which contain this space?
Soc.Look and see how much this space is.
Boy.I do not understand.
Soc.Has not each interior line cut off half of the four spaces?
Soc.And how many spaces are there in this section?
Soc.And how many in this?
Soc.And four is how many times two?
Soc.And this space is of how many feet?
Boy.Of eight feet.
Soc.And from what line do you get this figure?
Soc.That is, from the line which extends from corner to corner of the figure of four feet?
Soc.And that is the line which the learned call the diagonal. And if this is the proper name, then you, Meno’s slave, are prepared to affirm that the double space is the square of the diagonal?
Soc.What do you say of him, Meno? Were not all these answers given out of his own head?
Men.Yes, they were all his own.
Soc.And yet, as we were just now saying, he did not know?
By using one whole square and another split into four triangles he guided the slave boy to the correct answer. In order to double the size of a square each side must be the length of its diagonal. Socrates then declared this to be proof of remembered knowledge. The animation below shows the animated formula of doubling the square.
The Socratic deception disembodied thought from the physical. He tried to prove that thought preexists in the soul and is remembered not learned. This marks the end of rational thought and the rise of superstition bathed in Socratic circular arguments. I hate to admit it because I do not like Kant either, but Kant is right on this one! Like I said previously even a stopped clock tells time perfectly twice a day.
According to Kant, the ancient Greeks (Socratics) used the word “dialectic” to signify the logic of false appearance or semblance. To the ancients, “it was nothing but the logic of illusion. It was a sophistic art of giving to one’s ignorance, indeed even to one’s intentional tricks, the outward appearance of truth, by imitating the thorough, accurate method which logic always requires, and by using its topic as a cloak for every empty assertion.
This is exactly where we are today. Our national, international public and private discourse is primarily guided by Socrates and his devotees who are gifted with bullying natures but limited intelligence. Socrates was not intelligent he was a clever bully; there is a big difference. Socrates main claim to fame is his dialogues as recorded by Plato. Socrates was a citizen of Athens. He had a right to speak in the assembly and confront the greatest minds. Why did he not? Where are those dialogues? He debated minor characters in the outskirts of Athenian society. He did not and could not debate people who were intelligent and guided by true rational thought who could not be intimidated. He debated their students or only those he could bully into submission. This is exactly what the Meno dialogue represents; the beginning of the end of rational thought.
The Rise of Superstition and Fear
The perpetuation of this faulty reasoning is still used to this day in order to bully our rational thinking process into submission and constrain our creative impulses. This does not represent the Hellenic spirit in any way shape or form. This is superstition cloaked in faulty reasoning. It has fueled the rise of the global Judeo/Christian/Moslem/Hindu belief systems and marked the beginning of the 2,500 year dark age of human evolution. We were able to catch a glimpse of the Hellenic spirit for brief moments along the way; the 12th century when the crusaders brought back ancient Hellenic texts on science and rational thought and during the 14th century when fleeing Greeks from the Ottoman empire landed in Florence, Italy bringing with them literary texts from the Hellenic period. Today in the midst of a global crisis we need now more than ever the guidance and superpower abilities of the true Ancient Hellenic culture to guide us.
Recipes For The Revival Of The Hellenic Spirit
My book “Recipes for the Revival of the Hellenic Spirit” purpose is to clear the cobwebs surrounding the true nature and practical value of the Hellenic spirit. Connecting with the Hellenic spirit will untame your creativity and unleash your capabilities to their full potential. Rising above superstition and fear, “Recipes for the Revival of the Hellenic Spirit” is a guide to personal happiness, physical health, and intellectual freedom. A road map for reclaiming our fullest potential as a species.
One city one world one human at a time”
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