Essay on Socrates: Plato and True Political Art

Submitted By alexiswhitesides
Words: 623
Pages: 3

In the Gorgias, Socrates says “I believe that I am one of the few Athenians – perhaps indeed the only one – who studies the true political art, and that I alone of my contemporaries put it into practice” Socrates believes that he was put into Athenian society by the Gods to enrich the society as a whole. He describes how people are corrupted in their ideologies because they attach more meaning to possessions and riches rather then their actual souls. “What I say is the greatest benefit, by trying to persuade him not to care for any of his belongings before caring that he himself should be as good and as wise as possible, not to care for the city’s possessions more than for the city itself, and to care for other things in the same way.”(Page 39) Socrates observed men of various different possessions that were deemed knowledgeable, including poets, politicians, craftsmen, etc. He questioned them to learn from them knowledge that he did not possess. However, once conversing with them he learned that these people believed themselves to be wise only because of their specific talent. He met with poets that created poetic masterpieces, but that were incapable of explaining the deeper meanings of their poem. These poets believed themselves to be wise because they had created these poems, but they in fact were not wise beyond their creations. Socrates explains that this occurred with virtually everyone that he had met with. “The good craftsmen seemed to me to have the same fault as the poets: each of them, because of his success at his craft, thought himself very wise in other most important pursuits and this error of theirs overshadowed the wisdom they had.” (Page 27) Socrates explains that God refers to this as human wisdom, and that it is worth little or nothing. Socrates is the wisest amongst the mortals because of his understanding that human wisdom is in fact worthless. “I am wiser then this man: it is likely that either of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser then he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know.” (Page 26)
I believe that Socrates’ arguments are progressive to society but that they are