GEORGE KATEB

"The great inspiration for me, and it’s pretentious to say so, is Socrates, but the Socrates of The Apology, not of any other Platonic dialogue. The one who eats himself up trying to understand himself, and if he were less self-examined, he probably would not have died, but would have escaped, or if he were less self-examining, he wouldn’t have been so obsessed with examining others, and would not have got into trouble with both the people and the leaders of Athens. There’s a model in Socrates and it’s captured as well by J.S. Mill, as by anyone, when he says in Utilitarianism, it’s better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. Well, it’s not nice to call other people fools. Jesus, another great inspiration for me, reproaches those who call others fools. That didn’t stop Mill and for a moment let’s side with Mill: better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. Better to be ill at ease than to have an easy conscience. Better to be disoriented than to be falsely oriented."