The following are my main takeaways from the video, quoting and paraphrasing the content.
Part of the cognitive and existential grammar of the west.
pythia is an oracle through which people believed they could speak to the gods. Probably in some kind of
psychodelic state. Stay in business by not giving clear answers, e.g.:
It might provoke an
insight on you. You can often retrospectively reinterpret later events as having being consonant with the oracle.
Socrates’ friends ask the oracle: is there anyone
wiser than Socrates? Expecting obscure answer like the snow melts farther in the south. Instead they get a clear answer: no, there is no human being
wiser than Socrates.
confirmation bias is seeking information that confirms our beliefs, while avoiding information that challenges them.
Upon hearing the answer, Socrates is not self-congratulatory, instead he challenges it.
Socrates transformed the Greek gods into moral exemplars. For Socrates, gods can not lie.
know thyself means understanding how you operate, it is like your owner’s manual.
know thyself his personal slogan for life, makes this kind of self-knowledge central. He is convinced that he is not
Dilemma: how can it be that he is the
wisest human being, when he knows that he is not
Two group of people accredited as being
natural philosophers (truth without relevance) and
sophists (relevance without truth).
natural philosophers, like Thales, start thinking scientifically, looking for rational explanations based on observations. 3 main points:
substance means stands under, another
psyche originally means your capacity to move yourself and make other things move.
ontology is the study of being, the structure of reality.
ontological analysis is when you use reason to try to get at the underlying structure of reality.
ontological depth perception is seeing with the mind into the depths of reality.
Our scientific worldview, while giving us knowledge, does not give us
sophists invented the
rethoric, influencing skills. They separated the technology from any kind of moral commitment. Modern example of
rethoric is advertising.
Lying depends on the fact that people are committed to the truth.
bullshit works by making you unconcerned by whether or not something is true.
You can not lie to yourself, it makes no sense, but you can
Believing is not something you directly do. For example, you would like to have the belief that everybody loves you, but you do not believe it. You can hope or wish, but you can not decide to believe in it, it is not a voluntary action. That is why you can not lie to yourself.
You can direct your attention to something and make it more salient to you. Your attention can be caught, something can capture your attention. This 2 things feed on each other until your attention is attached to something, this something is super salient to you, it is highly relevant to you, and you lose the capacity to notice other things, stop caring whether or not it is true or represents reality. That is how you
Socrates wanted truth and relevance.
Socrates would go about questioning people, using the
socratic method. Example:
aporia is not knowing what is going on, like falling into a magician’s spell.
Socrates is trying to make you realize how much we are
bullshitting ourselves all the time. We pursue things way before we understand them. We are always making ourselves susceptible to
bullshit because we are being driven by powerful motivations that are greatly in excess of our understanding of their truth.
The answer to the dilemma, why Socrates was wiser than everyone else, is that he knew what the did not know, in a way that allowed him to directly confront his capacity to
Socrates was accused of teaching strange gods and went to trial. They would let him go if he agrees to stop doing
phylosophy but he says: the unexamined life is not worth living.
ta erotika is knowing how to love well, what to care about, caring about with what is real.
Socrates would walk into the market place and say: look at all the things I do not need. He would say: how much time did you spend fixing your hair this morning, and how much time fixing yourself?
We need to put reason and love together, to rationally know what we should care about.
Socrates was found guilty on the trial and he was put to death.
Plato will put together Pythagoras and Socrates.
Next: episode 5.
Previous: episode 3.