Friday, September 23, 2011

If I Had a Creed, This Would Be It...

"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance."
-- Socrates

29 comments:

Hasse said...

The quote is oversimplifying things in my book.

Look at the role of ignorance in the ending of Watchmen for instance.

KouThan said...

I didn't knew that socrates said that (and imagine i am greek) but that's actually obtaining knowledge has become part of my life. I just love being informed.

jojjo said...

Hasse/
Of course it's oversimplified, it's a tagline. The reasoning behind the quote however, is, simply put amazing.

(Although personally I prefer Epicurus. You should rally check him out Bob, if you haven't already; he is basically like an ancient and much more laid back version of Ayn Rand.)

Hasse said...

@jojjo:
I'm not saying it's oversimplifying as a quote, but as a creed I think it would be.

jojjo said...

Hasse/
Yea, I'm sorry. I get a bit defensive about philosophers :)

Euler d'Moogle said...

(Forgive me if this is a double post)

“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

— Isaac Asimov

Hasse said...

@jojjo:
Hehe, it's cool.

Phobos said...

Too simplistic. Really depends on what you do with that knowledge. Do you build an atom bomb or a power station....

I know with the current political situation in the US a creed like this is appealing. It is better for people to have knowledge than not. But just the fact of having knowledge does not mean people will always do good thing with it.

How many of the bad guy's in comics are evil geniuses. In fact when people are so intelligent and have so much knowledge, they look at the rest of us a insects that are not worth worrying about.

I don't buy into religious morality, but pure knowledge on it's own is not the answer either. One place I thing I think religion has got it right though is the idea of 'do unto others, as you would have them do unto you'. I don't think that takes a lot of knowledge to implement.

Just wish more religious people would actually stick to that idea they put out...

jojjo said...

Phobos/
Again, reed Plato first. The quote is the logical conclusion of a discussion that is long, deep and deals with your concerns better then I could; it is far from simplistic.

Blue Highwind said...

There is one good, the Goddess. And one evil, Grandmaster Nimzo.

Puddle Jumper said...

Ignorance is bliss

Chris Evans said...

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance." - Terry Pratchett

I can see what the quote is going for, but it's far to bumper sticker. It's the kind of over simplified statement that really profound when your high but doesn't actually mean anything.

Steve said...

That's funny, considering Socrates had absurdist qualities and chose to simply ignore some of the bigger questions. That's dandy and fine, I'm just saying it kinda contrasts with your own philosophies Bob.

Joe said...

@Hasse,

I don't believe in "noble lies". For one thing, they're extremely fragile. The resolution of Watchmen threatened to be undone by one man's diary.

Better to give the people the information they need and demand they act responsibly on it than treat them like ignorant children who can't handle it.

"Three men can keep a secret if two are dead."

-Benjamin Franklin

Nixou said...

You know, Bob, I have a problem with this motto: its author: I, for once, despise Socrates.
I despise him so much that if I had a one way ticket in a Time Machine, I would not go after well known criminals like Hitler, Pol Pot, Amin Dada, Dick Cheney... Nononononononono: If I had a Time Machine and only one trip on it, I would go after Socrates.

Socrates may be the most depraved, dishonest, hypocritical, evil, and all around harmful individual ever engendered by the Human Race: Take the Republic: his fanboy's magnum opus claims that no form of government is worst than tyranny, and what does he advocate for instead? A regime ruled by a class of self selected aristocrats pretending to be more virtuous that the average schmuck, and who do not hesitate to lie to the populace to earn their support because, hey, the masses are waaaaaaaaaaaay too limited to undestand the genius and benevolence of the self-proclaimed best and brightest, so let's just tell them fairy tales about political affairs, call thoswe "Noble Lies", and be done with the plebs.

But dozens of generations of literary criticism and practice of philosophy and even political science tell us to overlook this core problem: look instead at the clever allegories, the witty dialectic, the beautiful rhetorical arabesques they keep telling us: let's just forget that Plato created the best list of pseudo-intellectual excuses for crooks.

How many tyrants and would-be tyrants woke up one day and started their carreer thinking they were to be the next Great Philosopher King? How many people remained blind about the viciousness, and pettiness, and corruption and depravity of some of the world worst dictators in history because they believed that dictator to be the Next Great Philosopher King? How many political activists and politicians find solace and rationalization of their disdain -if not contempt- of their fellow citizens in the Republic? "Oh sure, I'm an elitist douchebag who think that a rigid, hierarchical, social order where the underclass has no mean, no way, no chance to challenge a ruling class comprised of people like me is the best thing which can happen on earth, but hey, I'm right since Socrates said so" (sing along: This I know, because Plato told me so)

So fuck it all: When I get my own time machine, I will go back in 468 BC Athens, and strangle the little bastard in his cradle before he gets a chance to screw up the world.

Timothy said...

"Intelligent, Wise, Good" - Pick Two.

Matt said...

@Nixou

I hate to be pedantic, but almost zero scholars think the Socrates of The Republic was the real Socrates. It's generally accepted that Socrates became Plato's mouthpiece as opposed to Plato's interviewee during his early transitional and middle dialogues. Even the forms as ontological entities as opposed to a way to shape discussion of universals is attributed to Plato.

If your beef with Socrates is The Republic, I would really think it would be more accurate to put the blame on Plato.

Having said that, yeah the Socrates of the Republic is borderline disgusting (although I think that's poor descriptor). But worse than that, Plato's ideas reinforced anti-empirical thinking for almost a millennium. Aristotle wasn't even a big figure in philosophy until around the 11th century, and he's considered Plato's chief intellectual rival. Plato's poor work so permeates Western culture that they've practically evolved into the language. It's almost impossible to even speak in English without being a dualist, and that's all practically because of the work Plato did, and how respected he was by everyone in the West.

Nixou said...

"I hate to be pedantic, but almost zero scholars think the Socrates of The Republic was the real Socrates"

What, did you think that my previous comment filled with murderous intent was absolutely, entirely serious and not to be taken as an hyperbole? here's a hint: there's a Time Machine in it.

Appart from that, yeah, Plato's work did screw up western culture. I remember long frustrating hours in philosophy class were I was always fulminating at the fact that we were pretty much supposed to pretend that Plato's aphorims were supremely subtle and deep.

Dav3 said...

That's a pretty good creed, but I'll stick to mine.

When pizza's on a bagel, you can have pizza anytime.
-Bagel Bites

TheAlmightyNarf said...

I think it's fascinating that this came up while scientists around the world are actively trying to determine if the last century of physics is bunk or not.

What's worse than ignorance are ignorant people who are convinced they're knowledgeable. "Believers" who are convinced they're "thinkers". People who put their naivety on a pedestal and call it intellect.

buzzkillinton said...

knowledge when tempered by wisdom, ignorance when driven by good will.

Benfea said...

If you're pulling out that quote at this particular time, then you or someone you communicate with has been playing a lot of Civilization 5. ^.^

KevinCV said...

My creed is essentially the following: "I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person". :)

jojjo said...

Nixou/
That's exactly why I prefer Epicurus :)

TAN/
So you fail to see the difference between being mistaken and doing your best to correct yourself, and being mistaken but refusing to correct yourself? Or am I missing the point?

Chris Cesarano said...

Knowledge is worthless without proper wisdom to put it to good use.

Otherwise knowledge is no better than ignorance, and you can be a good ignorant person with wisdom. Not to mention, I mean, just because you know SOME things doesn't mean you know all. There are plenty of people that know a lot of shit, but are still assholes when it comes to stuff they don't know.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ jojjo

I'm not sure if you're referring to my first statement or my second, but either way you did miss the point.

jojjo said...

TAN/
Then what are you criticizing?

Dave said...

@Bob: HA! What a fucking joke you are. One of the most ignorant fanboys on the internet, and you pick THAT as your creed!? Jesus Christ, that's the funniest thing I've read all week!

Oh wait..... you mean..... you were being serious!? Oh. Well then..... maybe you should start putting your money where your mouth is and stop making shit up when you write your videos, hoping no one will actually notice.

Phildog said...

You can know all you want about the problems of the world, and it's potential solutions. Unless you've got a heart, it still won't make you give a damn.