What is knowledge?
Socrates informs us, through Plato, that knowledge is the opposite of malice. When someone knows the nature of things and of himself he automatically becomes good. This happens because true knowledge sheds a light on the terrifying darkness of ignorance that leads us to act and think wrongly since knowledge turns fear off. Even the fear of death.
In ancient greek philosophy, where philosophers did not hesitate to tire their minds with deep meanings, it was clear that knowledge is obtained through certain stages.
So, there is a hierarchical system regarding knowledge, which in the higher form is called “νόηση”(intellect).
*Νους means mind in greek.
Even then, very few attained that level of knowledge, exactly because the nature of things is such that one must struggle a lot to reach that high ground. That is why the majority always prefers easier ways.
Νόηση is connected with “Διαλεκτική” (dialectic) in Platonic philosophy and has to do with the kind of thought that someone has at this level (highest). A true intellectual is capable of understanding the deceptive nature of objects and can therefore think about the invisible world of true Ideas and the Good (Αγαθόν).
This state of mind makes someone actually intelligent.
The way to the intellect is through Virtue. One cannot be considered intelligent if one has not thrived against his passions and does not control the irrational parts of his soul. Thus, we cannot claim someone is intelligent when his actions are not directed by his mind. Nor can we say someone is intelligent if he is too interested in the material kingdom.
In our days intelligent is someone who according to ancient philosophy is one step below intellect and has to do with the kind of thought that concentrates on the function of the observable universe and not the invisible unchangeable world of Ideas. For example the calculation of a planet’s trajectory.
Therefore, we observe a lot of scientists chained to their material passions and easily manipulated because of their overall ignorance, even though they are capable of handling tools such as maths.
The way of Virtue is the way to the Good in Platonic philosophy.
Is it totally abandoned?
It is our duty, even if we ourselves do not walk that road, to encourage those who do and offer them our respect and recognition. It is the only way to show off the true notable leaders that humanity needs.
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Until then, let’s see what will change!
Change is the only Constant