|Let's look at an example:
There are 2 speakers: A and B
Person A uses Socratic Irony.
A: What is life all about?
B: Life all about being happy.
A: Oh. Is that so?
B: Yes. I would say so.
A: Are you happy?
B: Yes. I'd say that I am, most of the time, that is.
A: And how do you know you are happy?
B: Because, I feel joy, gladness, rapture.
A: Yes, but those are merely other words for happiness.
How do you know that what you are experiencing is indeed joy, gladness,
rapture, or whatever you wish to call it?
B: Well, [thinking]... well, [thinking some more]... well,
that's what society has labeled the feeling which one feels, when he/she
feels as I feel.
A: But, where does this feeling come from?
B: Well, I don't know. I guess it comes from one's state
A: I see. And this 'state of mind', as you call it, is
determined on what basis? I mean, what frame of reference does one
have to determine whether one is in one state of mind versus any other
state of mind?
B: Well, [thinking]... I guess... one must have some frame of
reference, and that... well, when one is happy, one generally smiles a
A: I see. But you are not smiling now. Are you
B: Well, in a sense, yes I am... one does not have to be
smiling to be happy. One feels... it is a feeling and a smile is
merely an outward expression of the inner feeling, but one doesn't have
to be smiling to be happy.
A: I see. This is all very interesting. But, you
still haven't really answered my question. What frame of reference
do have to know that you happy or not?
B: Well, I'd say that when my needs and desires are satiated,
then I am happy. When they are not, I am unhappy.
A: But, we cannot have all our needs and desires satiated all
the time, can we?
B: No, but we can most of them
some of the time.
A: Are you without needs and desires, then?
B: Well, for the most part, yes. I admit that there are
some things that I long to do, but my basic needs and desires are met.
A: So, you are happy when your basic needs and desires are met?
A: I see. But what about the poor wretch, whose needs and
desires are not met, and hardly ever at that? What would you have
to say about him?
B: I'd say he is a truly unhappy soul indeed.
A: But you started out saying that life is all about
happiness. Is it to be for the few who have all their basic needs
and desires met, and not for the rest?
B: Oh... I don't know. Why do you pester me with these
questions? Go bother someone else.