Socrates and the Art of Critical Thinking
I was remembering Socrates’ analogy of the ship at sea in a storm, and that democracy is not well suited (his conclusion not mine)for voting in the right person to take the wheel; that what we really want is the best captain at that moment of storm, regardless of whatever other short comings he may have personally beyond the immediate needs of the moment.
So what if he is a bigot, he will get us safely to shore where we will re-educate him in proper thinking
What makes rhetoric so potentially insidious is how easily the mob can be swayed into thinking that we are in times of crisis.
Of course, there are times when we actually are, but the language is the same and only critical thinking can distinguish between real crisis and manufactured for political or other purposes. Socrates, like his Roman counterpart Cincinnatus, served his term honorably, and then left it all behind, selflessly.
And yet Socrates had a soft spot in his heart for Alcibiades, who represented one of the gravest threats to the young democracy until Sparta won. Selfless service is an ideal of our Army, an explicit value, and one we recognize and honor in others. who give the last full measure of devotion.
I think we can rise to that upon peak occasions, and some exemplify it routinely to a greater degree than others, but I think it has the same problems as pure objectivity, in that both represent, in their purest form, an absolute that seems almost inhuman, unsustainable and not something you can base an entire profession on without checks and balances
Even those who act most selflessly by sacrificing themselves for others, in war for example or in fire & rescue, have not set aside their self-hood.
I believe rather, that they sacrifice the self in full knowledge of what it means to give that up for the selfhood of others.
If critical times are moments when the old ways are passing but not yet fully given way to a new order, then perhaps the chaos around us is a time when we need critical thinking more than ever?
A touchstone in rimes of crisis, and a guard against complacency and unwarranted assumptions/complacency by the majority in times of comfort? ever watchful, onward