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Defining Wisdom The Republic vs Tao Te Ching Tobias Smollett once said Some folk are wise and some are otherwise In the Tao Te Ching and the Republic the application of wisdom is approached in two different ways According to Socrates wisdom boils down to a very specific philosophical understanding of the notion of justice and ultimate truth It is with this wisdom which Socrates desires a government and society be organized and run by the elite who can understand it namely philosophers In the Tao the concept of wisdom is approached in a very different manner and it is assumed that people are naturally wise The master in the Tao states the need to guide the people but it is to help them find their own inner wisdom not simply a matter of giving power to philosophers who exist on higher ground It is in this regard that the Tao Te Ching offers a clear understanding of wisdom in everyday life and politics In the Republic Socrates outlines the problems inherent in life and politics In one of the dialogues Thrasymachus states Socrates injustice if it is on a large enough scale is stronger freer and more masterly than justicejustice is what is advantageous to the stronger while injustice is to ones own profit and advantagep20 Republic Socrates disagrees with this assessment saying I am not persuaded I dont believe that injustice is more profitable than justice not even if you give it full scope and put no obstacles in its wayp21 Republic This in mind Socrates later says justice is virtue and wisdom andinjustice is vice and ignorancep 27 Republic Continuing on this point Socrates creates a connection between wisdom and justice and holds it as an ultimate necessity for happiness stating a just man will live well and an unjust one badlyAnd surely anyone who lives well is blessed and happy and anyone who doesnt is the oppositeIt profits no one to
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