Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quote from Delphi

One of my favorite quotes comes from the Oracle of Delphi. The story goes that Socrates asked Pythia - the Oracle of Delphi - the question "Who is the wisest man in Greece?" to which Pythia replied, "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." I think this is quite interesting especially if you consider how much emphasis the Greeks put on philosophy and understanding the world. Any opinions?

2 comments:

Isabel Celata said...

This quote is interesting because the Oracle, who can "see" and therefore has more knowledge than Oedipus could ever hope to have, answers this question in the exact opposite way than Oedipus would have answered it. Oedipus would have given some response about how he is the greatest at everything and therefore obviously the wisest man in Greece.

I think that the ideal for the Greeks would be somewhere in between Oedipus's statement and Pythia's statement. The ideal for the Greeks would be a very wise man who is also very humble about his wisdom.

Iris Mire said...

I agree with what Izzy said about humility. I think it is especially important because Oedipus's hamartia is his pride (if you choose to overlook the inevitability of his fate). If HUMILITY = WISDOM = SIGHT, then PRIDE = IGNORANCE = BLINDNESS. I realize that that is probably oversimplifying things but it's the way I process larger concepts and parallels into categories. If Sophocles's primary objective was to comment or even reproach Athens for its hubris, then it makes sense that humility v. pride, wisdom v, ignorance, and blindness v. sight would all line up so clearly.