“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
“Care first about the greatest perfection of the soul.”
“Wisdom begins with wonder,” said Socrates. Through dialogue, he led his audience to passionate inquiry of existence and identity. His speech maintained a humble tone, claiming, to the surprise of his listeners, that he knew nothing. In his mind, one could not know anything without knowing one’s self.
Thus, the Seven Sages of Greece, who had inscribed know thyself in the forecourt of the Delphic oracle a few generations before Socrates, had challenged all subsequent philosophers to attain self-knowledge before knowing anything else. Socrates embraced this ancient challenge humbly:
“I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it,
to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous,
when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.”