Socratic Questioning vs Sophistry

There are two main ways to have a debate, one is to view it as a power struggle to be won, and the second is to see it as an opportunity to progress and grow. The sophists in ancient Greece would use “the tools of philosophy and rhetoric to entertain, impress, or persuade an audience to accept the speaker’s point of view,” as a means of winning an argumentative power struggle; which is very similar to the average social media arguments of today. However, Socrates came up with a method of questioning a position that would help all participants to grow their viewpoints in search of the truth, which would also help to uncover the underlying beliefs that support their viewpoints—limiting or otherwise. According to Richard Paul and Linda Elder, “Socratic questioning is disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth of things, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know from what we don’t know, and to follow out logical implications of thought.”
Unfortunately, most people are not trained in the Socratic Method by schools and universities, and in fact, are usually only trained in the debate styles of the Sophists found in ancient Greece. This is problematic for three reasons, first, it makes those who do want to exercise and refine their mental skills cold, arrogant, and argumentative douchebags, and two, it renders those who want to remain warm, loving, and kind—unthinking ignoramuses. Thirdly, when those who want to enter into productive discussions with the Socratic Method attempt to interact with those from the first two types of people, they’re either attacked and mauled by the arrogant sophists, or they scare away the loving yet somewhat ignorant ones; all because neither type even realizes that a productive and supportive form of debate exists. Then of course there are the conscious sophists who purposefully choose to manipulate the less aware and ignorant masses with sophistry for self-serving reasons; and they must also be contended with. Thankfully though, to those practiced in the Socratic Method and multilogical critical thinking, skilled sophists are easier to spot and deal with.
Society can move forward in a more balanced and harmonious manner once we realize that a form of healthy, non-competitive debate exists that will support our growth and expansion as well rounded, thinking individuals. While the Socratic Method has been around for a while, it’s always been an impediment to sophisticated manipulators who desire to swindle our money, labor, and liberty for their own selfish gains, and thus it’s been gradually hidden from and marginalized in our schools and places of higher education. Rediscovering this powerful tool is an important first step to reclaiming our mind, and thus our personal power, liberty, and sovereignty.

Our form of emotional process work is called “the Unity Process“, which combines Hermetic mysticismAristotelian logic (the Trivium), Socratic Questioning, Inductive Logic, Jungian shadow work, and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) into an easy to use system to help people process their emotional upsets, correct their poor thinking, and balance their internal emotional states.

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