It is a reality that societies tend to have individuals who question the way things are done. These individuals also known as philosophers feel that their responsibility is to question why things are the way they are. These philosophers usually work in places where they were born. This article will focus on one Greek philosopher who was recognized as Socrates.
In the era of ancient Greece, approximately forty years before the commencement of the Peloponnesian battles, an infant by the name of Socrates was brought into the world. This child is said to have been born in Athens in 469 BCE to Sophroniscus and Phoenarete. He was notably intelligent at a very tender age. Before the wars emanated in the region, Socrates used to hang out with the unchanged intellectuals that Pericles did. This comprised of the sophist named Protagorist, the scientist Archelaus and Damon the musician.
It is therefore clear that Socrates existed during the times of war. Socrates emerged from a well-off family. There are several instances of substantiation that have been elucidated to attest to this fact. One of them is that he served in three diverse occurrences during the Peloponnesian war.
To begin with, Socrates was a hoplite fighter during warfare. This duty necessitated an individual to purchase his own equipment as well as body armor. Socrates served as a soldier at a place called Delium in 424 BCE as well as in Amphipolis, Potidoea in 432 BCE. He did not stay as a bachelor for long. He was married to Xanthippe who was known well in the region due to her irritability. Consequently, Socrates had a family of three boys who played a great role in promoting their fathers thinking after his demise.
Socrates used to question each and every person within the society. His interrogations were extended to the streets. Socrates would stroll along the streets where he would come across different people. In the process, he would challenge an individual who he met among others on the streets with questions that appeared quite uncomplicated. His seemingly easy questions would leave plenty of doubt in the intellect of the individual.
This was how Socrates gained his superiority in being a philosopher. Socrates would ask his questions regardless of the individual’s age. Through Socrates interrogations and answers many people benefited by getting education. The method that Socrates used to educate people was referred to as Socratic dialect. Some people referred to this method as the Socratic Method.
Surprisingly, Socrates neither wrote books nor papers regarding his philosophical sayings. Similar to lots of philosophers, Socrates was seeking for the meaning of living or rather life. Socrates philosophical sayings were based on his own beliefs. Socrates had a belief that each and every philosopher was seeking answers not only to life but also what happens when one passes away.
Most of Socrates efforts were concentrated on the search for questions rather than answers. Through his efforts and interrogations, people’s morals were highly criticized. However, Socrates did not provide the people with solutions to the questions that he posed to them. This made most people within the society dislike him.
Socrates also got himself involved with two associates of an oligarchy of thirty individuals who played a greater role in conquering the democratic state of Athens. As mentioned earlier, Socrates had his own beliefs which he thought to be true. Basing on Socrates assumptions, democracy never existed.
Due to his beliefs, Socrates received a lot of hostility as well as resentment from most people within his region. Most people really hated him. According to Socrates, any given government ought to be ruled by knowledge. In his point of view, democracy should be done away with by the government while administering its rule.
There are indications that Socrates was the first and foremost human being to come up with the idea of the soul. The idea of the soul is presently well built among members of each and every society in the present day. In line with this, Socrates revealed that “there is no truth except that there is no truth” and that “he does not know anything except that he does not know anything.” After coming up with this, Socrates was able to boost his level of understanding and thinking and was equated to the greatest thinkers of all time.
Socrates spent the largest part of his life confidentially. He never took part in affairs of the public and never got involved in activities that were anticipated by the citizens of his country. Socrates never considered them as activities of great knowledge. As a philosopher, Socrates was not only an educator but also a father. He did this for a considerable duration in his life. His philosophical sayings educated several people.
Being a teacher, some of the well known followers of Socrates were Plato, Aristotle and Xenophon. One of the eulogies of Socrates was written by Xenophon. Plato also wrote several critiques regarding Socrates with the inclusion of “Apology” that demonstrated Socrates radiant defense. He wrote with illustrations from key words in Socrates philosophical sayings, for instance “[Socrates] spent his life in search of such truth as was arrived at by logical reasoning, starting from a rational hypothesis.”
The real philosophical acts of Socrates have been shown when Plato wrote what was said by Socrates during his defense i.e. “I have never been a teacher to any man, but if any one, whether young or old, wished to hear me speak while carrying out my mission, I never grudged him the opportunity. … And whether any of my hearers become better or worse, for that I cannot justly be made answerable…”
Socrates was neither a product of the social order nor a modernizer. His way was known by many. He could stroll around the streets and then engage in a conversation with a person he came across. Without hesitation, Socrates would make sure that he interrogated the individual on his beliefs.
Even though this seems to be a direct influence on people, Socrates is considered to have influenced most people’s way of life indirectly. Apparently, we are made to believe that new trends were obligatory when a person exhausted his chat with Socrates. However, Socrates never did trend setting save for that.
In 399 BCE, Socrates was charged with transgression and corrupting the youth of Athens. Socrates was blamed by Meletus. During these times, the punishment for such crimes was death. The reason behind his alleged transgression was lack of recognition of the same gods as the state. Socrates was blamed for corrupting the Athenian youths. This was after the youths started questioning their parents’ beliefs. The youngsters also questioned the beliefs of some of the significant social elite in a scornful way.
The entire matter appeared frivolous. In spite of Socrates outstanding defense, which was possibly misinterpreted by most of the 501 jury of the subordinate category of the Athenian general public, he was proved guilty by a margin of merely sixty people. Most people wanted him to be evicted from the city. However, this never happened. Personally, he requested to recompense a fine but his efforts were futile.
A larger margin of individuals won the case. They proposed the death penalty on Socrates. He was to drink poison. The death sentence was later deferred. This was as a result of a religious festival that was to be performed. The festival was for the sacrifice of the seven young men and maidens towards the Minotaur in the maze inside the holy place on the isle of Crete.
It was during this time that his friends proposed to organize a getaway for him. But Socrates refused to escape. He claimed that his escape would be contrary to all his teachings as well as the years he had lived. He took death as a light matter. He perceived death as at last getting to know all that happens after death which is considered as the ultimate quest of all philosophers. Plato denotes that Socrates said: “But now it is time for us to go away, I to die, and you to live. Which of us is going to a better fate is unknown to all save God.”
Socrates was a great philosopher. The absence of his philosophical sayings would have resulted in the absence of philosophies from Aristotle and each and every successor of his teachings. The functioning of the world at present, particularly the western world would have been very different. This would have consequently reversed the configuration as well as the workings of the globe.
In conclusion, Socrates was the greatest philosopher/ theorist in the world. He took the planet by storm. He left a lot of suspicion and doubt in the minds of the greatest leaders of the era and beyond. There is a well known painting that depicts Socrates death. Weeping friends surround him as he moves to drink the cup of poisonous hemlock.
The holder of the cup who is a servant also weeps on seeing what he was doing. The fact remains that Socrates was, is and will always be missed. Socrates discovered the truth regarding prejudices that are pushed on us by our own insecurities.