If you are one of those people who have “everything” figured out, then this website is probably not for you. This website is for the curious: for those of us who explore the world with questions and perform for this world the answers. This website is for the gadflies!


The Greek Athenian philosopher (469/470-399 BCE), believed you should question everything; peel your beliefs like an onion until you find the hollow core of your own understanding. His technique, though there is some controversy of the origin, became known as the “Socratic Method.”

Copyright 2005 by Eric Gaba

According to Plato, the Socratic Method is the very essence of the Scientific Method. It is a form of debate between two people (or ideas) with opposing views or beliefs. The concept relies on asking and answering questions as a means to stimulate critical thinking.

The Socratic Method, by model, is a “negative method” of elimination, wherein better hypotheses are discovered by eliminating those hypotheses with contradictions: “the Socratic Method searches for general, commonly held truths that shape opinion, and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs.”

In Plato’s “Apology,” Socrates’ career as “The Gadfly of Athens” began when Chaerephon asked the Oracle of Delphi if “anyone was wiser than Socrates?” The Oracle said, “none was wiser.” Socrates believed the response was a paradox. He believed he possessed no wisdom whatsoever and the very possession of wisdom is impossible.

To test his hypothesis, Socrates began inquiring with other men Athenians considered “wise” and discovered their wisdom was, like his, unfounded. However, Socrates realized the Oracle was still correct. Because the so-called wise men thought themselves wise, yet were unaware of their own ignorance, he was by contrast the wisest among them, having acknowledged his ignorance. The wise men, many of them men of power, were now perceived foolish by the Greek public.

They accused Socrates of wrongdoing and found him guilty of “corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens” and “not believing in the gods of the state.” The council asked him to propose his own punishment, to which he suggested the Government pay him a constant wage and provide free dinner the rest of his life. Instead, they sentenced him to drink poison Hemlock.

Socrates inspired the MRGADFLY name and it is because of Socrates that you see questions throughout the posts on the MRGADFLY blog – while a foux pas in traditional article writing, it is a constant reminder of the author’s curiosity.


MRGADFLY is the pseudonym for Aaron Smith, a full-time writer and entrepreneur. Aaron originally used the moniker for publishing his syndicated column, “Observations.” Later, he used it for a magazine, “MRGADFLY,” where he and an all-star cast of international columnists questioned tradition for the progression of their craft.

Today, MRGADFLY owns and operates The Magic Depot, a mailorder magic supply company. Inspired by technological innovations and scientific discoveries, MRGADFLY produces a couple dozen new magic tricks every year. He writes the instructions, illustrates the step-by-step, and designs the packaging. MRGADFLY also edits magic books and tricks for other magicians and publishers.

Most of the time, you can find MRGADFLY deep within a broad-range of books, magazines, and newspapers. His constant need for more information feeds his urge to question everything – to peel his own beliefs to a hollow core.