How Might Socrates Provide Access to Fourth Degree Accountability?

The Greek philosopher, Socrates, recorded a timeless method for discovery that is useful to this day – the Socratic method. His system of inquiry may provide a gateway to enlightenment and Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability. Inquiry is essential to awareness – you must ask to receive enlightenment.

Socrates’ questioning helped him understand himself, others, and the world. He used them to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. I find these questions relevant today as I explore myself in a First-Second Degree bubble. Seeking to expand my perspective beyond the bubble, I pass through Third Degree choice into Fourth Degree Accountability expressed as gratitude, the Aha Zone.

Socratic Questions

Let’s take a look at Socrates’ questions to get an idea of why I find them so useful. I’ve used these questions to increase my reading speed and improve my reading comprehension. I might also use these questions in a meditation where I investigate some belief I wish to challenge. They may help me understand and sort out my own inner dialogs. I like their underlying usefulness to “question everything!” I might apply the following in a conversation with myself and or somewhat else.

  1. Questions of Clarification
    • Examples:
      • “What do you mean when you say that?”
      • “How does that work?”
      • “Specifically…?”
  2. Questions that Probe Assumptions
    • Examples:
      • “What does the word, ‘that’ refer to when you say, ‘I understand that.’?”
      • “Are you referring to a specific person in a group when you say you understand them?”
  3. Questions that Probe Reasons and Evidence
    • Examples:
      • “How would you verify or disprove your contention that those people are dangerous?”
      • “What are your reasons for believing that?”
      • “What evidence do you have to support that idea?”
  4. Questions about Viewpoints or Perspectives
    • Examples:
      • “Suppose you could view this from another perspective. What would you think then?”
      • “How would you view this from another perspective?””
  5. Questions that Probe Implications and Consequences
    • Examples:
      • “What would happen to the world were I/you to believe this?”
      • “What are you implying when you say that?”
  6. Questions about the Question
    • Examples:
      • “Why am I asking this question?”
      • “How else might I ask this question?”
      • “Does this question address what I want to understand?”
      • “What questions does this question induce?”

When I apply the above type questions to my own inner dialog, I find clarity and sometimes inspiration. Inspiration is the essential characteristic of Third Degree of Illumination choice – the “flash of inspiration” one gets when the mind is clear of bubble cruft.

Simplified Socrates?

We propose a simplified method of questioning that includes those that start with,

  • “What… is that, is my judgement, and etc.?”
  • “How… do I feel, did that work, will I respond, and etc.?”
  • “Why… is that so, do I believe that, and etc.?”
  • “Who… am I to believe that, am I as a result, and etc.?”

After asking the above questions, I might explore:

  • “What else…?”
  • “How else…?”
  • “Why else…?”
  • “Who else…?”

Resources:

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