Elon Musk tweets Socrates famous saying in Ancient Greek: Why?

Elon Musk

Elon Musk tweeted in Ancient Greek, confusing many users as the translation function did not work.

In responding to a Babylon Bee article titled “Kim Jong Un Attends Ivy League University To Learn New Brainwashing Techniques,” Musk tweeted “εἰδέναι μὲν μηδὲν πλὴν αὐτὸ τοῦτο εἰδέναι.”

The Babylon Bee is a Christian Evangelical equivalent of The Onion that publishes satirical articles on religion, politics, current events, and well-known public figures.

The first paragraph of the satirical article says “According to sources, beloved North Korean tyrant and lover of doughnuts Kim Jong Un is now attending Columbia University, a prestigious Ivy League school, to learn new brainwashing techniques for his regime.”

In responding to this article, Musk quoted in Ancient Greek the famous quote by Socrates: “that he knew nothing except that he knew nothing,” or more famously, “I know that I know nothing.”

Socrates (died in 399BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought.

Socrates famous saying was affirming the fact that he knew that any knowledge or information he did have was likely to be insignificant (or even completely false) compared to how much was left to be discovered.

Socrates exerted a strong influence on philosophers in later antiquity and in the modern era. Depictions of Socrates in art, literature and popular culture have made him one of the most widely known figures in the Western philosophical tradition.

Socrates didn’t write down any of his teachings and what we know of him comes from the accounts of others; mainly his pupils, the philosopher Plato and the historian Xenophon, the comedian Aristophanes (Socrates’s contemporary), and lastly Aristotle, who was born after Socrates’s death.

The often contradictory stories of the ancient sources make it incredibly difficult to reliably reconstruct Socrates’s thoughts in the proper context; this dilemma is called the Socratic problem.

READ MORE: Spotlight on Socrates, the founding figure of Western philosophy.