What would be the moral progress for non sages? Can it only be determined on the rack? Or would minimizing suffering qualify as progress?

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“Wisdom’s” potency in and of itself hinges upon the act of “not being claimed” as a possession or object.

This insight is what unleashes the power to liberate for those who “love” wisdom. And as a consequence — for it’s unparalleled freedom that is experienced — this propels a person into a state of “awe” and wonder at the “marvel” that permeates the mind in it’s quest to know it.

Also, this portrayal of Socrates as a buffoon to disarm his audience while he engages in dialogue with them in the marketplace might have been gleaned from his experience in the Peloponnesian war where he demonstrated to friend and foe, just what a formidable warrior he was during a serious crisis such as armed battle.

Socrates knowing both sides of the coin and discovering for himself this deep love of wisdom gave him the skill to be dexterous in his personality that allowed him to act as a fool while his inner fortitude is that of a warrior.

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