Why Socrates…

Why Socrates

Our Logo – Socrates

By now most of you know that our logo is an OWL named after the Greek philosopher Socrates. He was the teacher of Plato and Aristotle. We chose Socrates as that is the method of teaching that I use the most. The Socratic Method. This method is most commonly described as “a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas underlying presuppositions.”

In other words, I teach by asking questions and helping my students develop the answers by critical thinking and debate. I help my students understand how to teach themselves.

Socrates aimed to establish an ethical system based on human reason by pointing out that our choices were motivated by the desire for happiness, and that wisdom comes from introspection.

I always ask at the beginning of every teaching experience that I have three questions: –

  • What is the definition of ignorance?
  • What is the definition of stupidity?
  • What is the definition of insanity?

Socrates is famous, among others things, for a wide range of quotations and I would like to share with you some of my favorites:

  1. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
  2. I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.
  3. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
  4. Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue – to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.
  5. In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.
  6. Nothing is to be preferred before justice.
  7. Happiness is unrepentant pleasure.
  8. Enjoy yourself – it’s later than you think.
  9. Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.
  10. The unexamined life is not worth living.


He once said “Whom do I call educated? First those who manage well the circumstances they encounter day to day. Next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all men, bearing easily and good naturedly what is offensive in others and being as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as is humanly possible to be…those who hold their pleasures always under control and are not ultimately overcome by their misfortunes….those who are not spoiled by their successes, who do not desert their true selves but hold their ground steadfastly as wise and sober-minded men.” This is a description of an individual that all of us should strive to be seen as ourselves.

Today we look upon Socrates as a positive influence on the development of the human race. His life ended when the political climate in Greece turned against him. He was sentenced to death and was executed by Hemlock poison in 399 B.C. He was 71 years old.

The answers to my three questions at the outset of this blog are as follows: –

  • Ignorance is not knowing what to do.
  • Stupidity is knowing what to do and not doing it.
  • Insanity is repeating the same things expecting different results.

The issue of the CED magazine, of the Associated Equipment Distributors, that contained my last monthly column after twenty-five years, had a nice article written by my editor of more than twenty years, Kim Phelan. The headline, of the article,  included a statement of mine “Teaching Turns My Crank.”

May you learn something important for each of you every day.

The Time is Now.

P.S.: We are pleased to report that our Logo, Socrates, and our Company Name, Learning Without Scars, have both received U.S. Trademark protection effective May 2020.