233/365 Some thoughts on knowledge from Plato’s Protagoras

In Plato’s Protagoras there is an incident where one of Socrates’s young friend Hippocrates (not the Hippocrates of medicine) comes knocking at his door early morning and tells him with so much excitement that Protagoras is in town…. Socrates then asks him “What is the matter? Has Protagoras robbed you of anything? For which Hippocrates gives a very interesting answer

He replies, laughing

“Yes, indeed he has, Socrates, of the wisdom which he keeps from me”

I will not go more into the whole significance of the dialogue and its aftermaths because I am not an expert on it… and am in no way knowledgeable to talk about philosophy at that level… leave alone understanding the ensued debate of whether virtue can really be taught…. But this small piece of the dialogue has always lingered in my mind and I will tell you why…….

Hippocrates through his funny statement opens a bigger question we have

Are we robbing something from someone when we do not share our knowledge… ?

And my answer is yes, And in a world where an induction into a competitive lifestyle marks the virtue of an individual, sharing surely becomes a threat for some… but the internet, social media and tools to be connected 24X7 has changed it all… and with the countless folks online who are changing it for the better

May be in the Pre-Internet era knowledge acquisition was not that easy and knowledge was never at the fingertip…. Not just acquiring, but storing was also not something everyone was able to do the same way… Since the acquisition itself was so laborious the sharing became too painful… but the internet gave a platform to the world where anyone willing to share can do so to a larger audience and anyone who wants to learn anything can do so for free if they are ready to put the time and effort…. Thanks to the majority of users online who make this happen and I mean many of the LinkedIn and other social media users who help in this…

This opportunity has also leveled the playing ground for many…. Yet

Sharing knowledge in all walks of life is something many folks still do not willingly do…. Why is that…?

If you look closer at the concept of knowledge sharing in the internet age, it only benefits a person taking him forward towards his goals…. Yes for many there is a profit motive in the share, even if it is not a direct one….. but overall sharing knowledge is (or should be) a positive aspect of life, especially corporate life….

Some folks do not share knowledge at work probably using the logic that this makes them irreplaceable in their field of work… and make their organization and team dependent on them and this might be true to one extend but in my career I have found that any resource in a team or organization is replaceable. Sometimes that replacement is a tough boat to ride, but not impossible. I feel it can also be true that not sharing ones knowledge can be the cause for some to not move up in their career and be respected

I have also met people who fail to share knowledge and once that changes their career has taken leaps…. For a happy successful career for oneself and others I think sharing the knowledge one has is core virtue to have…. Without having to see everything and anything as a threat…

Share what you know and Learn what you can, always.

Categories: Learning, Life, On Learning

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