The Search for Wisdom
Wisdom, as defined in the dictionary, is “the sum of learning through the ages; knowledge”. Plato’s Socrates indicates that wisdom is the acknowledgement of ignorance. This statement may be hard to prove as true. If a deaf and dumb man came to realize that he knew nothing, because he is not able to learn it, does this make him wise? I do not believe so. Then, if a prominent professor who has studied for years and has learned many things, comes to believe that he is ignorant to the true ways of the world, does that make him wise? Possibly so. So, what is the difference here? The difference is knowledge. I believe, and the dictionary points to the fact that, one must contain a great deal of knowledge to be wise.
In Apology, Socrates says that “What is probable, gentlemen, is the fact that the god is wise and that his oracular response meant that human wisdom is worth little or nothing…” This statement comes from Socrates after he has searched Athens for a person that was wise. It may be true that his god was wise, as gods are usually all-knowing beings. But what makes a god wise? It must be his knowledge of all earthly things. Then, why is human wisdom worth little or nothing? It may seem like human wisdom is worth little or nothing in comparison with the wisdom of the gods, though in comparison to other humans, why should human wisdom be worth little or nothing? I believe that human wisdom is worth a great deal, and that there are humans who are quite wise, though they may not have admitted that they were ignorant. It may be a wise thought, to believe that you are ignorant, because there is so much out there in the world to learn that no human could ever learn it all; but does wisdom come solely from this admission? If a group of people truly desired wisdom, should they just come to realize that there is so much in the world to learn that they should never attempt to learn it all, and
therefore be wise because of this? I do not believe so. I believe that for this group to be wise they must search throughout their whole lives for bits of
knowledge that will possibly make them wise, and knowledgeable, in the future. Wisdom, then, seems to be a parallel to knowledge.
When Socrates is searching for men that are wiser that him, he looks at the politicians, poets, and craftsmen of Athens. In the example of the craftsmen, Socrates states that yes, they must have a knowledge of their craft, but because they were wise in this way, they thought they could speak knowledgably about many other things that they did not know much about. I agree with Socrates in the fact that many people do carry a false sense of wisdom, and think that they are right even in situations they know little about. The problem I see here is that Socrates indicates that these craftsmen must not be wise because they have this false sense of knowledge about other subjects. I believe that these craftsmen could still be wise, and wrong about certain things, at the same time. For example, if you were to go ask a doctor about a medical procedure, he would surely give you a wise answer, because he has the knowledge to do so. Along the same lines, if you ask a politician about a political question, he will probably give you a wise answer as well. But if you ask this same doctor the political question, he will still answer, but not in a way that a politician could. Does this make the doctor un-wise? I do not think so. So the doctor is knowledgeable in the area of medicine, just as the craftsman was knowledgeable in the area of his craft. Does this mean that the doctor is wise when it comes to medicine? Yes, I believe it does, as I believe that the craftsman was wise in his craft. This may again illustrate the idea that wisdom and knowledge are parallel, and