by Defrance from Villeurbanne

Socrates was only a poor and ugly man, but nowadays he is still known as the first philosopher, as the man who defined the concept of philosophy: The search for wisdom (philo sophia); but his human dimension is often forgotten. Socrates was given the same education as all other Greeks: He studied music, grammar, gymnastics, and poetry; but after a prediction of the Delphia oracle he decided to stop working and to stay on the agora to educate his peers. In fact he has always claimed that he didn't know anything but he was just asking people questions to make them think and evolve; he defined this teaching method as « maïeutique ». He also had a great idea of human morals and duty, as the fact of being citizen; that is why he took part in both wars which parted the Greeks and saved his friend and disciple Xenophon. He even dared oppose the government's cruel decisions; which cost him his life. Then in 399 BC at the age of 70, when he was condemned to death, he refused to let his disciples save him because he preferred to stay faithful to the republican laws. So he awaited his death with serenity, teaching his disciples that the soul was immortal and death would allow him to reach the kingdom of ideas, the absolute Truth.

Nevertheless, what I admire about Socrates is not really all his philosophical ideas, but his courage to defend them. As I showed before, he was not afraid of death because he believed in a supreme wisdom over death; that is the reason why he had the courage to live according to his doctrine. He bore hits and insults, and always went on teaching his disciples on the Agora his way of thinking even though a lot of people thought he was mad. Then, risking is life for a friend or giving it for is ideas, it is this aspect of Socrates' teaching which touches the most and makes me realize that we all will die in a few years, months, maybe days. So we don't have any time to waste with fear; we can live, not just exist. This means that, like Socrates, each man can do great things if he dares to think and especially to act according to his own opinion, not according to what the other people will think about him.

Finally, it is this aspect in particular that I want to point out from Socrates' life which influences mine, though maybe not as much as I would but I think it is a bit difficult not to care about death!


Page created on 6/5/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/5/2006 12:00:00 AM

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