Socrates: To Conform Or Not – A Struggle Essay, Research Paper
To Conform or Not?
Socrates- A Struggle
When one is pondering the question, what do the laws mean by stating that Socrates needed to be obedient because of all that the laws have done for him, you can find the meaning in the text of the Crito. The law states, that if they were not there, Socrates would not have been born. Because it was by them, that his mother and father were married. The laws also states that if it were not for them, Socrates would not be as educated as he was. Because it was the law that education derived from, and if it had not been created, Socrates father could not have educated him in Arts and physical culture. The law also believes, that without them, Socrates would not even exist. So therefore, Socrates should not be disobeying them when he in fact owes them for his existence and all he knows. For according to the law, they gave him birth, nurtured him, educated him, and gave him all that they possibly could.
But is that a good reason for obeying an unjust law? Is Socrates really indebted to the laws? I believe the answer to that is in the question. If something is unjust then it is wrong, and aren?t we supposed to not be submitting ourselves to wrong, and instead doing right. But Socrates says, in the Crito, if you are wronged you should not do wrong in return, because you should never ?do? wrong. He believes that the laws are wrong, but if he disobeys them, he is doing wrong. To receive wrong and perform wrong is never right. I agree but I also disagree. I agree that to do wrong because someone or something has wronged you are wrong. I think that by doing so, you are stooping to a level of ignorance and therefore hurting yourself more than anything is. Because to hurt when someone else has hurt you, only leads to you ultimately hurting more. But I do not agree that by disobeying an unjust law you are doing wrong. It is unjust, unfair, and unnecessary, so by not following it, you are doing more right than wrong. No one should have to do something that they deeply believe against. One may think that this is a blatant and extreme statement but if you think about it, if the laws that are unjust were not followed maybe they would be no longer a law.
What is a law? According to the American Heritage College Dictionary, the definition of law is the condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system. My rational thinking is that if a law is derived from custom and society is not always right. Because society is not always correct. Therefore, to not follow a law is not wrong, so Socrates is not ?wronging a wrong?. So Socrates should not be following the advice of the law. For example, I believe that the law against underage persons who are not drinking, but who are in the presence of alcohol is unjust. For our society to punish someone who is trying to be morally correct and not drink is preposterous. Even worse, if that person is trying to be the designated driver, something that is very honorable, and they are punished for it, is wrong. What they are doing is not wrong, they are not partaking they are preventing. How can that be punished or considered wrong? Instead of the moral person being wrong, the law is wrong.
Society is full of humans and humans make mistakes. Because of that, there are bound to be laws that are not correct, and for one to think that they must follow these unjust laws because they are unjust is a wrong in itself. But now we are stuck. Because who decides what is right or wrong? And if everyone did not follow the laws that they believed to be wrong, we could have total anarchy. How do we decide what the definition is for right or wrong? I think that if everyone?s family structure was a little stronger and more rooted in beliefs and morals then everyone would be on a close enough wavelength of what is right and what is wrong. But there are always going to be disagreements, because what is right to me may be really wrong to someone else. So as much as I believe that it is right for Socrates to not follow the unjust law, in the end this sort of thing may lead to our destruction.
Right and wrong are words that can not be defined because they are defined. Because right and wrong are words that are defined by people?s beliefs.
I do not think that a person?s belief can be right or wrong. If they can back up what they believe than they have the right to believe what they deem as necessary. The words, right and wrong, are like the word love. Love can mean so many things to so many different people. No ones definition is wrong, it is just different. So, the answer to whether or not Socrates is right or wrong in his thinking can be added to our life long question. What is the meaning of life? Two questions that will never be answered, and never be agreed upon.