Socrates Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the readings of The Apology of Socrates and Crito I have found that Socrates was not a normal philosopher. It is the philosopher’s intention to question everything, but Socrates’ approach was different then most other philosophers. From one side of the road, Socrates can be seen as an insensitive, arrogant man. He did indeed undermine the laws so they fit his ideals, leave his family, and disregard the people’s values. On the other side he can be seen as an ingenious man who questioned what many thought was the unquestionable. As he can be criticized for disregarding the many’s ideals he can also be applauded for rising above the daily ways of popular thought. He questioned the laws that he thought were wrong and, to his death, never backed down in what he believed in. People may see that as stupidity or as heroism, the beauty of it is that either way people saw it, Socrates wouldn’t care.
Socrates lived in a political system. In order for someone to survive in a political system, it is helpful to obey the laws of the system, or city. Did Socrates follow these laws? According to the facts, no. He was indeed put to death because he broke them. But when looking at Crito, I wonder if he even intended or noticed the laws he broke to deserve him death. In Crito, Socrates follows the laws and does not escape, as recommended. If he was such a criminal to deserve death, why didn’t he escape? Socrates viewed the laws with his own reference. It is obvious that he does not see any law being broken such as corrupting the youth. If he did see this crime take place I think he would not of defended himself. Socrates was a proud man, even though he did not show it. If he was accused of a crime and he knew he did it, I believe he would live up to it. I believe this because of his actions in Crito. He knows that if he escaped, it would be a crime. I find it ironic that he would argue his trial, but not argue his punishment from the trial he argued. The bottom line with Socrates and laws is that he probably did not live by them very closely. It is my belief that Socrates was a good person with good morals. He probably saw laws for the weak minded, and he was certain he was not weak minded. The question of whether he would abide by these laws is that he would and he did. He died for them.
A curious question to consider about Socrates is “What is the value of family?” To me, it seems like it is not his first priority. Socrates did indeed leave his family behind. Instead of sacrificing his mind and body to the city for his family, which is as common today as it was then, he sacrificed himself for himself. So who is nobler? The family man, who lives for the love of his family, or Socrates, who lived for himself. Many issues come to thought. One, was Socrates a family man? No, I think not. Two, did he die for his pride or to follow the laws? Can’t answer that one, but it seems to be his pride based on him living by his own laws. It may not be this blunt, but I feel like Socrates did not care for his family much. Socrates was not a politically powerful man nor did he die for some great cause that change the way things were. He died for pride. I think Socrates viewed everyone with a mind as their own individual, including his family. I think that he would have escaped with Crito if he thought differently. I am not sure if his family depended on him much, but he was a husband and a father. I wonder, since the oracle told him that he was the wisest, if he left his fathering responsibilities with the unwise. Maybe he felt like he had better things to preoccupy himself with. I can only conclude that Socrates was not a family man and viewed family as something for the other people. He did feel some sort of responsibility to his family, and I figure he expected the unwise to cherish family more.
So far, Socrates looks like an arrogant jerk. Then the question of religion becomes a factor. If Socrates was the follower of the Gods as he proclaimed, he would not of died for pride. It seems to me that Socrates was not an overly religious guy. I know what he has said and that he died because that is what the gods wanted for him, but I feel like someone who is such a dedicated thinker would not want to give up life so easily. Just looking at the facts, Socrates was all about religion. That is what he lived for. He lived his life like a disciple, preaching to the youth and so on. As a religious man I would think that he would be more concerned about his family then he was, but I can understand the argument that he died for his gods. Many people have died for their gods. Looking at all this I can say that he thought a great deal of religion and cherished it. His view of religion should be the clearest view of them all, but I still question it. I wonder if his religion became philosophy. I can not criticize his choice to die for religion, no one can. It he felt it was the right thing to do, who am I to question his religion and fate?
If Socrates was indeed the wisest man, he could hold two views of the people. One, that they were all inferior to him and it didn’t matter what they thought, or he would help the weak out by talking and teaching them how to think. So which did he display? Well, the way I see it, he displayed both. The thoughts the common people held did not disturb him. He disregarded their ideas often. But he also spoke to them and tried to get them to think. That was the crime he committed. Socrates probably saw the people used as a political tool by the city-heads. He could not of been happy about that, but he accepted it and moved past it. I do not think he cared much for popular beliefs or the tactics the politicians used on the people. I think that Socrates viewed the many as just that. They held the fate of the city and they would never know it. I see this problem everywhere today. I agree with the idea that the many’s thoughts are not very important. You can’t deal with people like that anyway. Each person has their own thoughts and they can not be classified as the many to describe all of their thoughts. He enjoyed speaking to those who cared to listen, but did he classify them with the many? Socrates views are never clear, always blurred in the middle. I will conclude that Socrates wanted the many to be individuals, but saw that they were political tools and he accepted it and moved on.
I believe that Socrates was a philosopher first and a human being second. He loved thinking. He often displayed traits to question his human side. For example, self-preservation. Socrates probably thought life is empty unless you challenge your mind. He thought about something every second that he was awake. I agree with the idea that the mind is a terrible thing to waste. If you do not challenge your mind to question the ideas that are so commonly accepted, you will be missing a large part of life. There is something lacking when you don’t challenge the norm. You will never know what you may come across. Socrates view on philosophy was that it was a way of life. Philosophy was his life and that is what he died for. It wasn’t pride or the laws, it was his mind. If someone tells me that I can’t think freely, I may have the same thoughts. What would be the point of life being some government’s drone? That is way Socrates was against so many forms of governments, because they all created drones. This view of philosophy, life, should be shared with more people. Then maybe people would understand the wrong things in the world and try to change them.