Wisdom of Quotations - Mattew 23:37 (RSV)  

Posted by Plato Greybeard


     It is tricky business to determine who or what an authority might be. Some of the group felt that God is the ultimate authority while others expressed doubt that this could be the case since, in their opinion, no such entity as God exists. The former have scripture on which to rely as authoritative, but even some believers acknowledged that, having been written by men, not all scripture could be relied on as infallible. 

     While we avoided debating the question of whether God does or does not exist, those not relying on scriptures were left the difficulty of establishing valid criteria for a reliable authority. Perhaps we can look to those who have education, knowledge and experience in a particular area as an authority in that field, but this too is an imperfect yardstick. Our understanding of science changes over time, so even qualified scientists may be questionable as authorities. In fact, if scientists were not questioned, no progress would be made. It is only by doubting and questioning that new discoveries come about. 
     One might be well advised to look with caution on those who proclaim themselves to be an expert or an authority. From ancient history to the present time, there are those who seek to be considered as an authority for prestige, monetary gain, the ability to manipulate those less knowledgeable or to try to establish a questionable thesis. The true authority or expert is recognized as such not by him/herself but by their peers and established accrediting bodies. 

     So what is left for us to base our decisions on if we cannot totally rely on authorities? Perhaps the best that can be done is to take the time, trouble and energy to think for ourselves. Weighing and balancing conflicting claims, avoiding becoming victims of our own preconceived notions and respectfully questioning the credentials of those we choose to consider as authoritative, will, more often than not, enable us to make the best decision possible.

Wisdom of Quotations - by Alexander Graham Bell  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

     We have all heard this quote yet we rarely keep it in mind when faced with difficult circumstances. Do we celebrate when we are turned down for a promotion, or laid off from our job? Do we offer our congratulations when that someone we have had our eye on decides to marry someone else?

     How many years are you willing to devote to someone who doesn’t return your love? How many years are you willing to waste in a dead end job?

     We often hate changes. We get attached to what we already know and fear new things in our life. No matter how deep we suffer we often rather be in the old than in new, but life forces us to move on whether we like it or not.

     When one door closes what do we do when we have to spend a lot of time in the hallways waiting for the new door to open? How to survive this sometimes dark time and a very harsh and ugly place to be when it often feels like the end of life?

     These are the questions we were trying to answer during our latest discussion at Plato's Academy. It was a very interesting discussion forcing us to think how much control we really have over our own life.

     We all agreed that closed doors are opportunities to move forward in our lives. They are the universe’s way of telling us to move on from a situation that doesn’t serve our highest good. No matter how bad things are, or what is happening, it too will pass and things will change. And with change will come new openings and new beginnings, new opportunities and adventures sometimes beyond our wildest imagination.

Wisdom of Quotations - by Edgar Allan Poe  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

While we had a small group for this session, the discussion was lively. Participants readily agreed that man is certainly more active today than 6000 years ago, much of our discussion centered on what does it mean to be wise, and what does it mean to be happy?

It was pointed out that information leads to knowledge and that knowledge leads to wisdom. But does it? Some questioned the concept that simply being well-educated makes one wise. However, those taking this position were unable to state what, in addition to knowledge, is required for one to be wise. Wisdom may be a quality that is observed in an individual by others, but is never a characteristic that one applies to him/herself. Socrates stated that he knew nothing, but most consider him to be one of the wisest of men.

Happiness was an even harder concept to grasp. What makes one happy can make another miserable. It is not a given that money brings happiness, although most would agree with the concept that "I've been rich, and I've been poor. Rich is better." Ultimately, happiness may depend on how one views the world around them, leaving the degree of happiness or unhappiness one experiences entirely up to the individual.