Sage

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Sage-markandeyas-ashram.jpg

Origin

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere to taste, have good taste, be wise; akin to Oscan sipus knowing, Old Saxon ansebbian to perceive

Definitions

b archaic : grave, solemn
  • 2: proceeding from or characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment <sage advice>

Description

In the Symposium, Plato draws a distinction between a philosopher and a sage (sophos). The difference is explained through the concept of love, which lacks the object it seeks. Therefore the philosopher (literally lover of wisdom in Greek) does not have the wisdom he or she seeks. The sage, on the other hand, does not love, or seek, wisdom because he already has wisdom. According to Plato, there are two categories of being who do not do philosophy:

  • 1. Gods and sages, because they are wise;
  • 2. senseless people, because they think they are wise.

The position of the philosopher is between these two groups. The philosopher is not wise; but, aware that he is not wise, seeks wisdom, and loves wisdom. This distinction between the philosopher and the sage played an important part in Stoic philosophy that developed after Plato.