Artwork for podcast Voice over Work - An Audiobook Sampler
Think Like Socrates: Unlock the Power of Socratic Questioning By: Steven Schuster
12th March 2022 • Voice over Work - An Audiobook Sampler • Russell Newton
00:00:00 00:05:26

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Greetings! My name is Socrates, and my thoughts changed the world. But that’s a bold and conceited statement for an introduction, so allow me to tell you a more detailed version of my story. As we speak, I'm sitting in a jail cell on the outskirts of Athens. Within minutes, a guard will bring me a drink. It will be a cup of hemlock, a poisonous potion prompting a paralytic passing. I shall empty the cup following which act I will become very sleepy and shut my eyes forever soon afterward. But before that happens, I wanted to share some of my ideas with you.

I was born in Athens in ancient Greece. Always a private person, wishing to keep this habit in my last moments, too. Without too many personal details, I’m comfortable confessing that I have the reputation of a mysterious troublemaker in my homeland. People call me the first Western philosopher, but I don’t indulge in such self-polishing thoughts. Philosophers usually flatter themselves thinking they know a lot about the world. I don't think I know that much.

The Peloponnesian war left a mark on my mind, and after returning to Athens, I isolated myself to think a bit. In my time, wisdom was the coolest label you could possess. If someone gathered a large support group behind his ideas, he was proclaimed wise. I took such “wisdom” with a large grain of salt. In my experience, many people who seem to be or claim to be wise are not that wise. This naturally proposes a problem. Those who believe in the authority of this sage, will blindly follow him, often at the cost of severe consequences.

Questioning wisdom helps you discover flaws in it. If you don’t question, knowledge stands still as a rock instead of flowing and carving new ground like a river. Following this realization, I started asking questions more intentionally.

I discovered that questioning a claim of something being true, tests its validity. If you question someone and they can prove that their claim is legit, great job. You made sure you’re not signing up for spreading false information, and you also helped someone practice defending their truth.

For example, if someone claims that it is essential to worship the god Ares, I would ask, “What is essentialism? What is worshipping? Are there other gods to worship?” If they can’t articulate essentialism, how can they claim it is essential to worship Ares? If they can’t explain what worship is, how can they know if they are worshipping Ares, and therefore that they are doing an essential act?

If someone making claims can’t answer the challenges imposed by questioning, how can they state that their claim is true?

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