What is wisdom? Wisdom is the experience that you learn in life. It is seeing these experiences and asking yourself questions: What can I do differently? How can I change? What else can I learn? Being open-minded leaves the door open to a much brighter world. We will see things differently, perhaps even better than before. Having a better insight in life is truly what wisdom is. Many philosophers both old and present have their own way of defining this. Some of the views will be similar to my own views while others are just different. I will explain how my answer to this question has or hasn’t changed since reading our required material. I will figuratively dive into Socrates’ head and look at what his answer will be to this question about wisdom and how and why it differs from my own.
In Plato’s the Allegory of the Cave, wisdom is shown as getting out of the cave and seeing the truth. All this prisoner had ever seen before were shadows of the original that he thought were real. The shadows were indeed real, but they were not the actual object themselves yet only half of the truth. His fellow prisoners did not believe him when he said that they were looking at shadows. By leaving the cave, he had a better understanding of his surroundings and in the end that made him all the wiser. The prisoner had the ability to judge for himself what was true and gained wisdom in doing so.
Wisdom was used in Plato’s Apology but not in the same sense as The Cave. In this reading from Plato, Socrates is on trial and being charged with a number of things including questioning the state religion and corrupting the youth of Athens. “What kind of wisdom do I mean? Human wisdom I suppose. It seems that I really am wise in this limited sense” (Plato pg. 43). Socrates’s friend, Chaerephon, goes to see the oracle in Delphi and asks who was wiser than Socrates. The oracle’s response was that no one is wiser than Socrates. Socrates didn’t claim to be wise and wanted to know the truth in his own way. He conducts an interview with a man who was surely wiser than him from his first impressions. Socrates concludes that the man was not wise as all. This is a prime example of to not “judge a book by its cover”. Although the man looked wiser than Socrates he still persisted he knew something when in fact he did not. He failed to listen to Socrates’s explanation and this makes him the less wise person. What I got from this context was that we have to open ourselves up in life and be willing to listen to others’ opinions because it may be something new to us. “At any rate it seems he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know” (Plato pg. 45). Socrates believed all human wisdom to be worthless and to be the property of god. Socrates explains to the jurors that doing bad and disobeying superiors, god, or man is dishonorable. I agree with him on this topic. We are brought up in a society where we learn right from wrong early on and to commit a distasteful act would only hurt ourselves or our loved ones, making us less the wiser. At the end of this story, Socrates believes his death sentence to be a blessing because he knows he has done no wrong. Even though Socrates trial only lasted for a day, he knew the verdict was unjust yet he accepted punishment. I believed he was tired of explaining himself and looked back at his life accomplishments. He was not fearful of the outcome but accepts death in knowing that his soul will continue in the afterlife, even trying to find the wisest man of them all.
There are a few more examples of wisdom from Crito and Phaedo that I will explain. In the case of Plato’s Crito, Socrates had a chance to escape the prison with help from his longtime friend, Crito. Crito doesn’t want to let his friend down and tries to persuade him to escape prison and his upcoming execution. He tells Socrates