Monday, June 16, 2008

Gadfly

ahhh...vocabulary. The fun never ends. I learned a new word today, and can't help but wonder if I are one..."irritant" certainly rings a bell :)
My Mother often described me using a more familiar if not self explanatory or descriptive term...I think it's spelled shit-disturber...

"Gadfly" is a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempt to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant.

The term "gadfly" (Gk. muopa)[1] was used by Plato in the Apology[2] to describe Socrates' relationship of uncomfortable goad to the Athenian political scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse. The Bible also references the gadfly in terms of political influence; The Book of Jeremiah (46:20) states "Egypt? A beautiful calf of quality pestered from the North". The term has been used to describe many politicians and social commentators; in modern Hebrew, which knows many more idioms than those used by Jeremiah, gadfly is "mekhapes pagam" literally "fault finder".

During his defense when on trial for his life, Socrates, according to Plato's writings, pointed out that dissent, like the tiny (relative to the size of a horse) gadfly, was easy to swat, but the cost to society of silencing individuals who were irritating could be very high. "If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me," because his role was that of a gadfly, "to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

0 comments: