Evidently, Socrates thought the greatest potential for evil came from the ignorance of people. He had a name for it: Amathia.
A great article on the topic put the best definition as:
/’em AUTH ee uh’/
- ‘Disknowledge’ instilled into the soul by bad upbringing and bad education, consisting in false values and notions and beliefs.
I love this definition, and I want to jump all in on it. But I see a problem.
Everyone sees in it what they want to see.
I see truth as a liberal, progressive, yet realistic and honest approach to the world. I see atheism, the lack of free will, the lack of intrinsic meaning, Absurdism, and all manner of things when I look into this definition mirror.
So for me, Amathia is the opposite of that.
I have friends in Tennessee who hunt and believe the world is 6,000 years old. They don’t believe in evolution, and they think the only solution to fixing our country is coming back to our Christian god.
When he stares into the mirror he sees godless secularism as the epitome of Amathia. We both see the other person’s stupidity.
So I don’t think Amathia actually does much for us, other than to highlight that human reality is subjective, and people currently have their own set of facts and values.
If you want to get the benefit of a beautiful term like Amathia, you still have all the hard work in front of you, i.e., you still have to determine what’s true about the world as a starting point.