Never call yourself wise, or talk much about your principles to civilians. Act on your principles instead. At a party, for example, don’t blather about how people should behave; just behave as you should.
Socrates made no show of his wisdom. People came to him and asked to be introduced to philosophers. He took them to philosophers, and didn’t mind being overlooked.
There’s danger in regurgitating what you’ve only partly digested. And if someone tells you that you don’t know anything, and you aren’t bothered, then you’ve made a beginning at wisdom. Sheep don’t throw up their grass to show the shepherd how much they’ve eaten; they digest it internally, and then produce milk and wool externally. So don’t show off your thoughts to the ignorant, but show them the actions your thoughts produce after they’ve been digested.
On no occasion call yourself a philosopher, and do not, for the most part, talk among laymen about your philosophic principles, but do what follows from your principles. For example, at a banquet do not say how people ought to eat, but eat as a man ought. For remember how Socrates had so completely eliminated the thought of ostentation, that people came to him when they wanted him to introduce them to philosophers, and he used to bring them along. So well did he submit to being overlooked. And if talk about some philosophic principle arises among laymen, keep silence for the most part, for there is great danger that you will spew up immediately what you have not digested. So when a man tells you that you know nothing, and you, like Socrates, are not hurt, then rest assured that you are making a beginning with the business you have undertaken. For sheep, too, do not bring their fodder to the shepherds and show how much they have eaten, but they digest their food within them, and on the outside produce wool and milk. And so do you, therefore, make no display to the laymen of your philosophical principles, but let them see the results which come from these principles when digested.
On no occasion call yourself a philosopher, nor talk at large of your principles among the multitude, but act on your principles. For instance, at a banquet do not say how one ought to eat, but eat as you ought. Remember that Socrates had so completely got rid of the thought of display that when men came and wanted an introduction to philosophers he took them to be introduced; so patient of neglect was he. And if a discussion arise among the multitude on some principle, keep silent for the most part; for you are in great danger of blurting out some undigested thought. And when some one says to you, ‘You know nothing’, and you do not let it provoke you, then know that you are really on the right road. For sheep do not bring grass to their shepherds and show them how much they have eaten, but they digest their fodder and then produce it in the form of wool and milk. Do the same yourself; instead of displaying your principles to the multitude, show them the results of the principles you have digested.
On no occasion call yourself a philosopher, and do not speak much among the uninstructed about theorems (philosophical rules, precepts): but do that which follows from them. For example, at a banquet do not say how a man ought to eat, but eat as you ought to eat. For remember that in this way Socrates also altogether avoided ostentation: persons used to come to him and ask to be recommended by him to philosophers, and he used to take them to philosophers: so easily did he submit to being overlooked. Accordingly, if any conversation should arise among uninstructed persons about any theorem, generally be silent; for there is great danger that you will immediately vomit up what you have not digested. And when a man shall say to you, that you know nothing, and you are not vexed, then be sure that you have begun the work (of philosophy). For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the shepherds how much they have eaten; but when they have internally digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk. Do you also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts which come from their digestion.
Never proclaim yourself a philosopher, nor talk much among the sensual about the philosophic maxims; but do the things that follow from the maxims. For example, do not discourse, at a feast, upon how one ought to eat, but eat as you ought. For remember that even so Socrates everywhere banished ostentation, so that men used to come to him desiring him to recommend them to teachers in philosophy; and he brought them away and did so, so well did he bear being overlooked.
And if, among the sensual, discourse should arise concerning some maxim, do you for the most part keep silence; for there is great risk that you straightway vomit up what you, have not digested. And when some one shall say to you that you know nothing, and you are not offended, then know that the work is begun. And as sheep do not bring their food to the shepherds, to show how much they have eaten, but digesting inwardly their provender bear outwardly wool and milk, even so do not you, for the most part, display your maxims before the sensual, but rather the works which follow from them, when they are digested.
Never proclaim yourself a philosopher; nor make much talk among the ignorant about your principles, but show them by actions. Thus, at an entertainment, do not discourse how people ought to eat; but eat as you ought. For remember that thus Socrates also universally avoided all ostentation. And when persons came to him, and desired to be introduced by him to philosophers, he took them and introduced them; so well did he bear being overlooked. So if ever there should be among the ignorant any discussion of principles, be for the most part silent. For there is great danger in hastily throwing out what is undigested. And if any one tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have really entered on your work. For sheep do not hastily throw up the grass, to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they produce it outwardly in wool and milk. Thus, therefore, do you not make an exhibition before the ignorant of your principles; but of the actions to which their digestion gives rise.
Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don’t talk how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought. For remember that in this manner Socrates also universally avoided all ostentation. And when persons came to him and desired to be recommended by him to philosophers, he took and- recommended them, so well did he bear being overlooked. So that if ever any talk should happen among the unlearned concerning philosophic theorems, be you, for the most part, silent. For there is great danger in immediately throwing out what you have not digested. And, if anyone tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have begun your business. For sheep don’t throw up the grass to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they outwardly produce wool and milk. Thus, therefore, do you likewise not show theorems to the unlearned, but the actions produced by them after they have been digested.
Μηδαμοῦ σεαυτὸν εἴπῃς φιλόσοφον μηδὲ λάλει τὸ πολὺ ἐν ἰδιώταις περὶ τῶν θεωρημάτων, ἀλλὰ ποίει τὸ ἀπὸ τῶν θεωρημάτων: οἷον ἐν συμποσίῳ μὴ λέγε, πῶς δεῖ ἐσθίειν, ἀλλ’ ἔσθιε, ὡς δεῖ. μέμνησο γάρ, ὅτι οὕτως ἀφῃρήκει πανταχόθεν Σωκράτης τὸ ἐπιδεικτικόν, ὥστε ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν βουλόμενοι φιλοσόφοις ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ συσταθῆναι, κἀκεῖνος ἀπῆγεν αὐτούς.
οὕτως ἠνείχετο παρορώμενος. κἂν περὶ θεωρήματός τινος ἐν ἰδιώταις ἐμπίπτῃ λόγος, σιώπα τὸ πολύ: μέγας γὰρ ὁ κίνδυνος εὐθὺς ἐξεμέσαι, ὃ οὐκ ἔπεψας. καὶ ὅταν εἴπῃ σοί τις, ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶσθα, καὶ σὺ μὴ δηχθῇς, τότε ἴσθι, ὅτι ἄρχῃ τοῦ ἔργου. ἐπεὶ καὶ τὰ πρόβατα οὐ χόρτον φέροντα τοῖς ποιμέσιν ἐπιδεικνύει πόσον, ἔφαγεν, ἀλλὰ τὴν νομὴν ἔσω πέψαντα ἔρια ἔξω φέρει καὶ γάλα: καὶ σὺ τοίνυν μὴ τὰ θεωρήματα τοῖς ἰδιώταις ἐπιδείκνυε, ἀλλ’ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν πεφθέντων τὰ ἔργα.