“I reasoned with regard to myself: ‘I am wiser than this human being. For probably neither of us knows anything noble and good, but he supposes he knows something when he does not know, while I, just as I do not know, do not even suppose that I do . . . whatever I do not know, I do not even suppose I know’ (p. 4–5).”
Audio footage (if reading is not your thang):
Socrates was put on trial and subsequently executed (forced to commit suicide, classic Stoic way to go) for free-thinking.
What was he executed for? He says that “the examination, from which I have incurred many hatreds, the sort that are harshest and gravest” (p.6) are that he questioned the intelligence of those around him. As we look back at this man and what he went through we can reasonably assume that Socrates was in the right. There was little the Ancient Greeks understood about the world. Maybe this sort of scepticism was the closest to actual wisdom.
It is an interesting question and has probably arisen with many of the readers on Medium and readers of this blog.
Have you questioned yourself whether in fact you are responsible for your success? Or has it all been an accident. Do people merely respect the idea of you or are they actually following you because of the influence you have. Are you indeed noble and just? Or are you neither noble or wise and never able to morally act according to your conscious.
I oftentimes think that I am on the right track philosophically and then I find myself to be the guy with the weakest argument in the room. It happened to me when we were talking about the differences between Explanations and Arguments in my Logic and Critical Thinking course. I could not find anything to defend my opinion with. It just was an opinion.
Socrates was killed for questioning his influencers and for questioning his contemporaries. We have come a far way since that time. Everyone is questioning contemporary leaders and being very vocal about it. And this is good. It is a fortunate time we live in.
Sometimes I like meditating on this, I did it tonight. I spent an hour of my day thinking about the fortunes that we have intellectually at this stage in history. With life getting busy, with things getting in the way and responsibilities piling up it is the only thing I could do to remain sane.
We attend universities, colleges, schools that all promote scepticism and clarity of thought. I wish that this would be promoted more often. It is good to look at history as in this case with Socrates’ trial and remind yourself of the reasons we have reached this point in history. It is mainly because of these greats in the past. Philosophers have a lot to do with our contemporary freedom in the Western world.
There is a far way to go. This is for sure. And there are many different aspects we should address in our culture. Let us just remind ourselves to be thankful through it all.
From this place of reflection comes productivity. From this place of gratitude comes ambition. Let us produce well.
More Quotes from the Book, Apology by Socrates (and Plato)
This are quotes that I enjoyed from the book, since I finished recently. I thought I would share them to my blog:
“That you are not deceived by me, since I am a clever speaker” (p.1).
“But in fact none of these things is so; and if you have heard from anyone that I attempt to educate human beings and make money from it, that is not true either. Though this too seems to me to be noble . . .” (p.3).
“Of my wisdom, if indeed it is wisdom of any kind” (p.4)
“(About a politician, remained unnamed) I tried to show him that he supposed he was wise, but was not. So from this I became hateful both to him and to many of those present” (p.4).
“I am in ten-thousandfold poverty because of my devotion to the god” (p.6). Understand this as a statement said not against god but saying that he supports the gods.
“The young who follow me of their own accord . . . enjoy hearing human beings examined” (p.6).
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