A Primer on Socrates …
Socrates is considered the “father of Western philosophy” and one of the most influential human beings who ever lived.
Among other goals, the study of philosophy seeks to pursue the truth and, by so doing, make it possible for humans to live more meaningful and important lives which might better mankind by advancing knowledge.
To facilitate this search for knowledge and the truth, Socrates popularized what became known as the “Socratic Method.” According to Socrates, by simply asking provocative questions, citizens could better discern key truths and answer important questions.
The “Scientific Method” – wherein scientists question an alleged scientific “fact” – is one of the more important progenies of the Socratic Method.
It recently occurred to me that if Socrates were alive today, he would be censored, deplatformed, smeared, cancelled, and labeled a grave threat to society. In short, he would be charged with spreading disinformation and would no doubt be Target No. 1 of the massive Censorship Industrial Complex.
Of course, Socrates was charged with all of these crimes in his own life and, in fact, was put to death for practicing the Socratic Method.
One of the charges political leaders of Athens convicted Socrates of was “corrupting the youth.” In short, Socrates’ questions were perceived as causing “harm” to the citizens of Greece and, thus, he had to be permanently silenced.
Civilization has Advanced a Little Since Socrates’ Times …
Western civilization has perhaps advanced a smidgen in the last 2,400 years as current political leaders are not lobbying for death sentences for people who ask the wrong questions.
However, prison sentences remain a common fate for many figures around the world who insist on following the Socratic Method and persist in asking questions that reveal truths that the powerful class prefers not “corrupt” its citizens/subjects. (Someone like Julian Assange might agree with me here).
Today, individuals who are not sentenced to death (or murdered by dismemberment, like Jamal Khashoggi) do so at the risk of losing their jobs, status and incomes, all for essentially practicing the Socratic Method … and its best-known offspring, the Scientific Method.
Today, as in 399 BC, simply asking politically-incorrect questions is considered a serious offense.
As it turns out, even the First Amendment to the US Constitution – which, for more than 200 years, many Americans thought protected the “natural rights” of citizens to ask questions of their rulers – might not fully protect a “truth-seeker” such as Socrates.
While I still can (at least on Substack), I’d like to take a stab at using the Socratic Method in my own pursuit of discerning important truths. (I’d ask that readers not forward this column to anyone who works for Media Matters, the Stanford Virality Project, or any agency of the US government.)
My ‘Socratic’ Questions …
If he were alive today, would executives with Facebook, YouTube, etc. ban Socrates?
If so, why?
Would many important political leaders call for more aggressive actions to make it less likely that Socrates could spread “disinformation” that might harm or corrupt the youth (or anyone) who might stumble upon his questions?
If so, why?
Did the Socratic Method ultimately lead to the Scientific Method?
Can anyone practice the Scientific Method without questioning “authorized” scientific narratives?
Should the Scientific Method be revised?
Has it already been revised?
Why can some questions be asked, but other questions are not allowed?
Do (mainstream media) publishers, editors, and journalists support the Socratic Method or not?
What evidence can anyone cite that “truth-seeking” journalists support the Socratic Method?
Doesn’t copious evidence exist that MSM journalists despise and recoil from the Socratic Method?
Our Covid New Normal was not Friendly to the Socratic Method …
Aren’t many or all questions that challenge the authorized narratives on “settled” Covid science now considered taboo or off-limits?
Has the “settled science” on any subject ever been proven wrong?
How were these scientific myths proven to be wrong?
Did debunking dangerous scientific or medical “facts” save lives and reduce misery?
Has any government policy later been proven to have been based on falsehoods?
Has any government policy ever produced tragic outcomes or harmed many innocent people?
If this is now considered to be the case, how did millions of people reach this belated conclusion?
Who Gets to Decide What Questions Can’t be Asked?
Who gets to decide what questions are harmful or dangerous and should thus be censored?
Why do these people and organizations get to decide this?
Has any citizen ever concluded that someone they know is actually a liar and should be avoided or ignored in the future?
Did these people reach this conclusion by asking questions?
Should teachers and professors still mention Socrates in world history or philosophy classes?
Should educators point out Socrates became a revered figure because he invented the Socratic Method?
Should teachers allow their own students to ask questions in class?
Are some classroom questions off-limits?
Has any citizen ever refrained from asking a question because he or she thought posing this question might cause him harm?
Is it possible that important unasked questions, if asked, could improve or benefit the world … or someone’s life?
Can most citizens identify a conclusion they once thought was true but now believe was wrong?
How or why did they change their opinion?
Did they ask questions they’d never asked before?
Do some people intentionally tell lies or try to conceal the truth?
If so, why do they do this?
The Socratic Method Spread …
Why did Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great celebrate, practice and disseminate the Socratic Method?
Should they also have been put to death?
Why did so many people once revere, celebrate and practice the Socratic Method?
Why is the Socratic Method now considered dangerous to so many powerful people and organizations?
Have governments and “leaders” ever persecuted people who asked the wrong questions?
If so, why did they do this?
Other Historic Figures Asked Hard Questions as Well …
Was Jesus of Nazareth also put to death for spreading what he believed was the truth?
Is Jesus a revered figure to many people today?
Would Jesus believe it was okay to ask questions if one of God’s children thought vaccines might be killing innocent children … or if some war should not be fought?
What would Jesus do?
Why did God give human beings a brain if we can’t use them to ask questions?
Did Galileo also practice the Socratic Method?
If he did, did this disturb certain powerful figures of his time?
Would the world have been better off if Galileo had kept his questions to himself?
More Taboo Covid Questions …
How many people suffered some level of personal harm as a result of the Covid lockdowns?
Who ordered these lockdowns?
Are the people who ordered the lockdowns the same people who don’t want people to be able to question their mandates?
Does, or can, money and power corrupt some people and organizations?
Is it okay for investigators to “follow the money?”
Is making more money – or not losing money – a motive in some crimes?
If, in history, investigators have “followed the money,” didn’t a series of questions probably spur them to do this?
Are official or journalistic investigators following the money today?
Is there any mainstream journalist in the world today who would admit that some topics are off-limits to investigation?
Why are these subjects – or certain questions – off limits or taboo?
Once You Start Asking Questions, More Keep Coming to You …
Is the world a better place because of the Socratic Method?
Will the world be a better place in the future – will more lives be saved – if the Socratic Method was/is banned?
Would most citizens of the world like to be able to ask questions they think are important?
Why do many citizens of the world now fear certain questions and approve of punishing or harming people who ask “truth-seeking” questions?
In your own life, were you ever killed by a question?
If the answer is yes, are you reading this column from Heaven?
How do so many people survive after being asked questions they didn’t like?
If Gallup did a poll, how many citizens would agree that someone like Socrates should be banned or prevented from asking questions that upset powerful people or challenge the “authorized” narrative(s)?
Do most people agree that those who commit crimes should be punished?
How do prosecutors and juries establish that a crime was committed?
Do they ask questions?
Why do they ask questions?
If you were on the jury that prosecuted Socrates for asking corrupting and dangerous questions, would you have voted to acquit him of this charge?
Today, do you support content moderators, artificial intelligence, algorithms, and the employment of thousands of people at hundreds of organizations that exist to stop or bully people who ask unauthorized questions?
If yes, what are you afraid of or why do you support this?
Are your fears really justified?
If you’re ever charged with a “crime” you didn’t commit, would you like to be able to defend yourself against these false charges … by asking questions?
Should every citizen in the world be able to use the Socratic Method without fear of reprisals?
As noted, the answer to the last question seems to be “No.” Socrates would be banned and castigated today … just like he was 2,400 years ago. Still, I’m glad he had the courage to ask those questions.
Republished from the author’s Substack
Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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