At a recent seminar, we attendees or is it us attendees were asked, “Who are you online?” Pssst…to look half-way worthy of your time I suppose one should know the correct usage for we and us in the context of above sentence. But honestly I would have to Google to find out. I will take a chance on not appearing too scholarly today and hopefully the grammar police won’t arrest me. All of which gets me to thinking about Socrates and why I consider him such a bad ass.
Socrates. Say what you will but the quintessential bad boy of his time had balls. Given the options exile or death, the well-known if not the most well-known Greek philosopher, chose death. If he couldn’t sit around the square ‘corrupting’ the minds of the young men of the time, which is how Athens powers-that-be viewed his so-called philosophizing, then to hell with it. A Jacques-Louis David painting of Socrates still running his mouth while accepting a goblet of hemlock; surrounded by his entourage says it best. Socrates just didn’t give a damn.
In this country where graduation from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the like makes you an automatic scholar, Socrates, born way back when in Athens Greece, would have none of it. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates was supposedly deemed the wisest man in Athens by none other than the Oracle at Delphi, instead of embracing this accolade from on high Socrates chose instead to become a “gadfly”.
Insisting he had no wisdom Socrates set out to prove it by questioning the purported great minds of the day. Afterward he avowed that like him they knew nothing or very little. The paradox was him admitting or recognizing his own ignorance whereas the others didn’t thereby proving the Oracle right. Of course this didn’t garner any favors among the elite and his smart-alecky be-hind had to go.
Another thing about Socrates is he never wrote a doggone thing. Maybe he didn’t care how history would later view him. Or maybe it was a clever ploy by this major contributor to the field of ethics to encourage critical thinking even at the expense of his legacy. Who in the heck really knows since most accounts of him come from the writings of his students, Xenophon and Plato, and playwright, Aristophanes. With Plato and Aristophanes being literary writers who knows what literary license they may have taken to elevate their beloved Socrates.
Lets just say everyone knows of Socrates but no one really knows Socrates. He’s such an enigmatic figure there’s even something called the Socratic Problem. If Socrates lived during this age of social media where your profile tells the world who you are would he be SOL if he didn’t Facebook, Twitter, Blog, You Tube, Pinterest, and all else? Furthermore would he even care? That he wrote nothing, and apparently never strayed too far from his homeland suggests he didn’t seek celebrity. Now here he is centuries later a heavy weight among philosophers.
So after network strategist, Teddy Burriss, asked us attendees, ‘who are you online’ and said in so many words if you Google yourself and come back empty-handed you have a problem. And if you Google yourself and the results are less than favorable in your own opinion you still have a problem. Who are you online?
Go ahead and Google yourself and see what you get.