"Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?"
The year was 350 B.C.E. The day was just like today, one cold sunny afternoon. [I can only imagine!]
Plato, who documented every move of this magical sage writes that Socrates tells Meno that "he not only does not know if virtue can be taught, but does not understand the nature of virtue." Meno shudders, his conviction challenged, he tastes the dialectic method for which Socrates sacrificed his life.
For ages, Socrates has been revered as the grand master of intellectual eloquence and inquiry: the ideal critical thinker. It is not one idea that earned him this seat of distinguished honor. It is his method of questioning and cross-examination of opposing views that leads to illumination of ideas. Engaging in the Socratic Method makes us confident about the experience of questioning anything including our own ideas and beliefs. By constantly asking critical questions, dynamic brands are in a perpetual state of flux. Brands like Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Google, Virgin or Starbucks constantly align themselves to the questions of the times. They are courageously passionate about doing business in a more "virtuous" fashion that brings value to the clients and adds momentum to their balance sheets. Their "brand virtue" goes through the high standards of Socratic questioning time and time again. (“Virtue” is not a term that marketers use, yet as a concept it explains growing consumer expectations toward brands and companies.)
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