Fools, pigs and Socrates

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.

John Stuart Mill

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10 comments on “Fools, pigs and Socrates

  1. shoreacres says:

    I’m not sure about that. I’m still willing to sing a chorus or two of “Satisfied Mind,” and do it without a lick of irony. Of course, the way Mill framed his argument, it’s hard to disagree with him. But since I’m neither a fool nor a pig, nor Socrates for sure, I’ll take satisfied human being every time. 🙂

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    • Bill says:

      As you may remember, I’ve blogged often about contentment and argued that it is the key to happiness. I’ve been thinking a lot about Mill’s argument lately and I do think he’s right that is easier to satisfy the appetites of fools and pigs, and I don’t think we should aspire to being contented pigs/fools. Of course we probably have way too many discontented pigs/fools these days too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was curious how you was going to tie all 3 things together, makes a man think.

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  3. Hmmm. I don’t know about that either. I’m sure JSMill didn’t count himself as a fool and that strikes me as arrogance of a sort. And one could call arrogance, foolish. But what do I know? I’m a fool. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Mill was one of the great geniuses of his age, but I don’t think his observation is arrogance. In any event, his point is definitely worthy of thought, especially in the context of his argument for utilitarianism (that which is best is that which brings the most happiness to the most people).

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  4. Scott says:

    Double like ^^ haha
    I can see both sides. Arrogance, yes, but dissatisfaction could also be taken as professional curiosity, which is something I can get behind!

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  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Bill – an interesting quote … to think about! cheers Hilary

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