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In Plato’s Apology, Socrates believes that to be good, you should strive to find out why and how things are the way they are. When his childhood friend visited an oracle and asked if anyone was wiser than Socrates, the oracle said there wasn’t. In doing this, he demonstrates that you should not just accept what you see or hear at face value, rather, you should investigate further to understand why. It does you no good to not be able to explain it. If you cannot explain it, you could say that you might not even know it at all.

So he went around and talked to many politicians and craftsmen who were supposedly wise (the definition of wise used here being something along the lines of “knowing a lot of stuff”), but after speaking with them, found that they weren’t really wise at all. They just believed that they were wise.

But this is a dangerous game. If you believe that you are wise without, for lack of better words, ‘making sure’, and others also believe that you are wise without making sure, neither of you ever taking the time to see if there is any evidence towards this idea, then everyone is going to think that you have all the answers and will come to you when there is a problem that needs fixing. So what happens when you think you know/guess the answer to the question or how to fix the problem? You aid the deprived person with your vast knowledge, of course. And then everyone is going around, believing things that aren’t true and living their lives by it. And then, when one man happens to think outside the wise old box and come up with reasons that make sense and have evidence for his conclusion, everyone shuns him, or worse, puts him on death row because it’s not what the wise man said, and the wise man knows all.

Another way of demonstrating this is when Socrates is eventually sentenced to death. He said “To fear death … is no other than to think…...

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