“Now Plato’s hatred of the Sophists makes sense. He and Socrates are defending the Immortal Principle of the Cosmologists against what they consider to be the decadence of the Sophists. Truth. Knowledge. That which is independent of what anyone thinks about it. The ideal that Socrates died for. The ideal that Greece alone possesses for the first time in the history of the world. It is still a very fragile thing. It can disappear completely. Plato abhors and damns the Sophists without restraint, not because they are low and immoral people…there are obviously much lower and more immoral people in Greece he completely ignores. He damns them because they threaten mankind’s first beginning grasp of the idea of truth. That’s what it is all about.
Quality! Virtue! *Dharma! That is what the Sophists were teaching! Not ethical relativism.
Not pristine “virtue.”
Areté implies a respect for the wholeness or oneness of life, and a consequent dislike of specialization. It implies a contempt for efficiency…or rather a much higher idea of efficiency, an efficiency which exists not in one department of life but in life itself.”
Source: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirisg