Life can pass by in thought, which is as good as a dream unless it is tested. There may be two schools in life, one for the intellect and the other for the heart: the duality seen in some definitions of θύμος and in 心 which stands for both heart and mind. Without skulls in dreams or misfortune would one remember the aspect of self connected to feeling that may itself grow as the mind can be said to flower?
While it is possible for there to be an intellectual who is also a "good person" and therefore passing the test of humanity there are also other roads to this same goal. One may think of the "elder", for example, who may not even be intellectually schooled but whose sensitivity to θύμος and character brings an abundance of gifts that may be shared with others (one asks whether that is not also the purpose of the intellect: to share the wealth). A description of this receptive soul can be found in the film Остров, in which the protagonist is described as, "an exposed nerve, which connects to the pains of this world. His absolute power is a reaction to the pain of those people who come to it". To speak of pain is to speak of the domain of the heart more than the mind, and the relevance of the other school may become clearer in this wounded context.
Except the intellect can also learn about sadness. It can store quotations and learn entire bodies of information on the subject. The problem is whether the information produced on a given occasion is what the doctor would call for or just a gesture of formality: idea matching, in form, the category of experience. The description of Socrates' philosophical beginnings highlights this very problem of form, or appearance, not matching up to essence.
In Plato's Apology, he is said to have tested out the oracle according to which no one was wiser than he. But I think it is important to add that he was not testing out of disrespect or disbelief, rather, it is known that the oracle both reveals as much as it hides, so the spirit behind this testing is rather particular. "'For when I heard this, I thought to myself: “What in the world does the god mean, and what riddle is he propounding? For I am conscious that I am not wise either much or little. What then does he mean by declaring that I am the wisest? He certainly cannot be lying, for that is not possible for him.'” (21b)
He claims, firstly, that he does not understand his wisdom (20e), and proceeds to examine a man reputed to be wise only to find he was not so wise, concluding to himself: "'neither of us really knows anything fine and good, but this man thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas I, as I do not know anything, do not think I do either'" (21d).
Socrates continues, "So I had to go, investigating the meaning of the oracle, to all those who were reputed to know anything ... those who had the most reputation seemed to me to be almost the most deficient, as I investigated at the god's behest, and others who were of less repute seemed to be superior men in the matter of being sensible." (21e -22a) We know the dialogues that ensued - with poets, public men, and so on - and those dialogues demonstrate how it is that things are not to be taken for granted.
I equate that latter point with Aristotle's views on phronesis in his Ethics. Like Socrates he claims he does not even know if he possesses phronesis, and explains the difficulties inherent to applying an idea to changing circumstance.
It may be that I am writing now about not being dogmatic. But like the spirit of Socrates' inquiries, to be wary of dogma does not necessarily mean that one, categorically, does not respect it where it stands for ideals and perfection. It is the intellect that tends towards the dogmatic, it is the intellect that may be said to reach it before the man does in practice; man's poorer 窮 side, the emotions, certainly does not tend towards the systematic. The school of intellectual thought can lead to a cement grave where ideas stop moving. There, the skull does not speak.
It can be hard and tiring to engage with each new situation, particularly when the situation does not correspond to the wishes of the ego. But this "exposed nerve" has much to teach those who are willing to be students. Testing shows, as Socrates demonstrated, that not all ideas that look intelligent or wise are indeed so. But Socrates explained about his enemies: "there I became hateful both to him and to many others". The second school is not for the weak of heart.
"'They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they
who love it are not equal to those who delight in it,'" says Confucius
in the Analects, Ch. XVIII.