The aim of the Socratic Method is to explore a subject's true nature through acknowledging one's own ignorance and seeking knowledge through the continuous asking of questions.
And questions were just what people had when first daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, attributed a quote to the method's creator, Socrates, tweeting:
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
While Ms. Trump cited famous Greek philosopher Socrates, the quote actually comes from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives, a 1980 fictionalized memoir by gymnast Dan Millman. To Ms. Trump's credit, a character named Socrates - who works as a wise gas station attendant - does give the aforementioned guidance to one of the characters in the book.
Twitter users quickly corrected her.
@IvankaTrump Not the actual Socrates https://t.co/SbkKe81AfA— ♍︎ ☉ ; ♌︎ ☾; ♐︎ ⇡ (@♍︎ ☉ ; ♌︎ ☾; ♐︎ ⇡) 1539685924.0
@IvankaTrump It's okay that Ivanka misled us. Instead of saying Socrates, not the ancient Greek guy but Socrates a… https://t.co/0w0aYrPNzl— Jim (@Jim) 1539687602.0
After deleting the original tweet, Ms. Trump reposted it with further clarification.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates… https://t.co/BN8IkUINee— Ivanka Trump (@Ivanka Trump) 1539688322.0
But the damage was already done.
@IvankaTrump Confucius say: A woman who steals designs & uses children to manufacture stolen designs is a Trump who… https://t.co/Fa6sQTootg— Jane L. (@Jane L.) 1539691255.0
@IvankaTrump ok... https://t.co/uXCc3xlWmK— 𝕒𝕤𝕙𝕝𝕖𝕪 𝕝𝕪𝕟𝕟™️ (@𝕒𝕤𝕙𝕝𝕖𝕪 𝕝𝕪𝕟𝕟™️) 1539685862.0
@IvankaTrump --Socrates stumbling across this philosophical gem https://t.co/249MYXDoUq— B, (@B,) 1539687890.0
@IvankaTrump That just made it worse, hon. Delete it.— justagirl (@justagirl) 1539688434.0
And Twitter users weren't done yet.
The real Socrates was executed as his hometown of Athens was recovering from the Greeks' loss of the Peloponnesian war. The loss created a national identity crisis, and Athens became fixated with its past, with superficial beauty, and with riches (sound familiar?), though Socrates insisted glory could better be reached through cultivation of the mind.
When Ms. Trump misattributed the quote, many began pointing out that the infamous Trump values are more in opposition to Socratic values than congruent to them. They used actual Socrates quotes to do so.
@IvankaTrump Well, here is a Quote from the real Socrates. PLEASE SHOW THIS TO YOUR DADDY !! https://t.co/m3Uz8pkeoP— Snarky Snowflake 🌊 (@Snarky Snowflake 🌊) 1539689980.0
@IvankaTrump Ivanka Don’t Quote Socrates. Work on releasing the 66 children who are STILL separated from their p… https://t.co/dF1u7PAABf— Resisting in Newport (@Resisting in Newport) 1539687129.0
@IvankaTrump “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” -Socrates (note: t… https://t.co/sZawZ2RbRS— John Houck (@John Houck) 1539691852.0
@IvankaTrump "Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you nei… https://t.co/9lNO1r42uk— ⏳PrimumNonNocere (@⏳PrimumNonNocere) 1539686034.0
Some reminded her of the very ideas that led to Socrates's execution.
@IvankaTrump @trumps_feed Socrates, the philosopher, was killed by sophists. Sophistry is a school of philosophy th… https://t.co/RhdTGw2c2L— Republic of Raoul (@Republic of Raoul) 1539689791.0
While it's hardly the first - or worst - misstep from a Trump when it comes to using words, we're willing to bet Ivanka wishes she'd done a little more research before citing one of the most famous philosophers of all time.