A Reputation for Wisdom

I have this feeling that I should blog something here, but time is running away from me, as happens all too often nowadays, so that means you get to suffer a slice of fiction ripped wholesale from my extensive back catalogue.

This one was published in a print zine but damned if I can remember where, and I’m not fussed enough to spend yet more time finding out.

You can guess if you like. No-prize for the winner. And, in parenthesis, I wonder if old stories like this are the writerly equivalent of those nudie pics film stars do when they’re young and hungry and later come to regret when they get old and serious, not that I have any intention of becoming serious just yet. Old is a given, alas.

The story was inspired by a comment attributed to Socrates I believe, that he was the only wise man in Athens for he alone knew himself to be a fool.

Anyway, story:-



            ‘Master,’ said the disciple, ‘how may I become as wise as you?’

            The old man smiled benignly at the youth. ‘You may know the wise man by his ignorance.’

            ‘A paradox,’ said the disciple.

            ‘Only a fool lays claim to knowledge. The wise man admits to his ignorance, and thus he may learn.’

            The disciple pondered this for a moment. ‘Then the wisest man of all would be the one who admitted to knowing nothing?’

            ‘Possibly,’ replied the great sage, an enigmatic smile on his face. ‘I do not know.’


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7 Responses to A Reputation for Wisdom

  1. Oh! I always said I knew nowt. 😀

    • petertennant says:

      I didn’t know you’d said that 🙂

      • petertennant says:

        Actually, if you know you know nowt, then you know something and so you don’t know nowt.

        Same logic applies in the case of God being omniscient. If there is something God doesn’t know then it’s hidden from Him (or Her), and so God can’t possibly know whether or not She (or He) is omniscient, and therefore isn’t.


  2. Oh – now you know, and I know that you know.

    So that’s buggered that one 😦

  3. petertennant says:

    I know everything except the stuff that I don’t know.

    For instance, I don’t know why this blog won’t allow me to reply to comments after there’s been more than a couple 😦

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