Move Through Wisdom Part 4 - Socrates - Know Thyself
It seems so simple.
It’s a phrase often credited to Socrates, but he actually tea-leafed it from a temple inscription at Delphi. An ancient meme that he tagged himself to and it kind of became his hashtag.
An invitation to introspection.
His hashtag, his awesome social sharing and his chilled-out, chubby beardedness – among the many limestone steps and columns of ancient Greece - meant he started to trend and got loads of followers. An influencer.
Young men flocked in robes to witness his groundbreaking style of open enquiry. Admitting to knowing nothing, Socrates simply asked his students questions, leading them to their own self-knowledge. We all have the knowledge, right?
Self-enquiry encouraged students of Socrates to look at their bias, conditioning, presuppositions, ideas and ego. Socratic Method - as this style of enquiry later became known – led to new perceptions and new ways of thinking. Self, and self in relation to other, took on a whole new slant.
Cue intervention from the thought police.
The powers that be in 4th Century BC Greece couldn’t have people thinking for themselves now, could they?
Hanging out in tunics on the slopes of Mount Parnossos, working out who they were and what they believed in, young men were distracted from what they should be doing - starting businesses, learning stagecraft and fighting wars. Seriously.
Time to arrest the dude with the beard and all the questions.
At his trial for ‘corruption of the youth’, Socrates was sentenced to death by eating hemlock. Questioned as to whether - to avoid death - he’d give up his socially noxious inquiries and move to another part of Greece, he preferred to die. ‘The examined life is not worth living’ he said.
Socrates was fully committed to the philosophy of self-inquiry.
What a dude.
Whilst, here at So We Flow..., we wouldn’t go as far as saying that an unexamined life isn’t worth living, we can see that we’re all blessed with intelligence and hell, let’s use what we can.
Benefits of Self-Inquiry
Interpreting what Socrates knew back then, and translating it for the modern man, we’ve put together 5 of the best benefits of self-inquiry. Socrates knew it then, but we forget, don’t we.
Check them out.
1. MAKE CONSIDERED CHOICES
Get a better understanding of what you need to be happy. Choose a path that truly suits you. Know if, when and who to marry. Decide if having children is really right. Inform your life altering decisions with genuine attention to detail. Think and feel.
2. CHALLENGE YOUR CONDITIONING
Whether we know it or not, even our most pious efforts are conditioned. Even our conditioning has been conditioned. Strip-back the presuppositions and biases that make us jerks. Less subjectivity. More objectivity.
3. RECOGNISE FEAR-BASED BEHAVIOUR
Get over yourself. Embrace the inquiry. We make true steps forward when we can witness where we’re scared, move into fear, and move through it. A new fear-free paradigm awaits. Does this terrify you? Good.
4. GET EMPATHIC
When we understand ourselves we can better understand and empathise with others. Sonder is the realisation that each random passer-by is living a life as complex and as difficult as our own. Now that’s beautiful. Imagine.
5. ENTER YOUR POWER
Socrates is not the only advocate of self-inquiry. Lao Tzu said, ‘Mastering yourself is true power.’ There’s truth in it guys. Find your path based on what truly calls from within and see how doors begin to open. Seize your inner force. Become invincible.
So, what’s phase one?
SWITCH OFF MEDIA
Do it. Turn it off. Try a media fast. Bombarded by adverts, shock news, daft egos and your old schoolmates slop dinners, do we really get time to feel into our own shizzle? It can be uncomfortable.
Sit with it.
Find out what it means…
…and grow from there.
Move Through Wisdom
A Philosophy Series for Yogis and Men Who Move
Where did the world come from? Why did God make the universe? Where do people go when they die? What’s the best way to live?
Like deep conversations you have with your best friends of old - gazing up at the night stars with a fresh beer - we’re nailing all the big questions here at So We Flow... Over 12 months we’re investigating 12 distinct philosophies for men. From Socrates to Chomsky and from Patanjali to Adyashanti, we delve into play, courage, non-duality, hope and more. Together, we’ll make total sense of this cosmic soup. Honest.
So stay present and stay tuned, brothers of the Flow.
For more check out
So We Flow... Journal – Find Courage With Osho
So We Flow Journal... – Lift Your Spirit With Alan Watts
Psychology Today addresses ‘Know Thyself’
Why, ‘Know Thyself’ can be dangerous
A Youtube short