The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers

The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers

via the Next Big Idea Club by Eric Weiner

Eric Weiner is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Geography of Bliss and The Geography of Genius, as well as the critically acclaimed Man Seeks God. A former foreign correspondent for NPR, he has reported from more than three dozen countries.

Below, Eric shares 5 key insights from his new book, The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers. Download the Next Big Idea App to enjoy more audio “Book Bites,” plus Ideas of the Day, ad-free podcast episodes, and more.

1. Don’t aim for knowledge—aim for wisdom.

We’re awash in information and knowledge these days, but often bereft of wisdom. Knowledge is organized facts, while wisdom untangles those facts, makes sense of them, and suggests how best to use them. The British musician Miles Kington put it this way: “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” Wisdom is a learned skill, so expecting to acquire wisdom by luck is like expecting to play the violin by luck. Yet that’s essentially what we do—we stumble through life hoping to pick up scraps of wisdom here and there, all while overlooking the one great source of wisdom: philosophy.

2. Annoy people. All great philosophers do.

Socrates was tremendously annoying—he was known as the “gadfly of Athens.” He buttonholed all sorts of people, interrogating, say, a general about courage, or a poet about beauty. He pressed and pressed until these people grew infuriated, because they just couldn’t give Socrates a satisfactory answer. The general didn’t know what courage was, and the poet was clueless about beauty. Socrates had questioned their assumptions, and laid bare their ignorance. Good—this is the first step, he thought, toward true knowledge. So go forth and annoy people, but start with yourself. Question your own assumptions and your so-called “knowledge.” Be your own Socrates—annoy yourself.

“When life is good, dance. When it hurts, dance. Don’t just accept the absurdity that is life—celebrate it.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

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