People have a perception on what death is, but the truth is, nobody has experienced death and lived to tell about it. Many definitions say that death is the termination of biological functions that define an organism but not one definition explains what it feels like. If one does not know what death feels like then how can they be afraid of it? To Socrates it would be foolish to fear the unknown but most people are afraid of the unknown. Not knowing how their death will occur or when it will happen or even what will happen after death. For some people, death may be a good thing but one won’t know until they experience it for themselves. Many people’s greatest fear is facing the unknown and accepting that one day death will occur because nobody lives forever.
In Athenian society all citizens act according to what I consider appropriate and not what an individual assumes to be appropriate. Athenian citizens help make decisions in government and put their input into certain policies and political ideas. The citizens all obey these rules except for Socrates. Socrates is unlike all the others in his town. Many of the citizens disagree with his methods and his beliefs about life, death, and the afterlife.
Socrates focuses on things that other citizens do not feel are normal. “ It goes something like this: Socrates is guilty of wrongdoing in that he busies himself studying things in the sky and below the Earth; he makes the worse into the stronger argument, and he teaches others to do the same” (Plato 19 b-c).
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His accusers believe that he wastes his time focusing on things that are not important in life. They do not believe that Socrates has the right to argue with citizens and influence others to follow in his footsteps. Other citizens also believe that “Socrates is a pestilential fellow who corrupts the young” (Apology 23d).
His accusers are scared that he is going to corrupt the minds of his peers and the youth. Socrates is not doing anything wrong by exploring new ideas but his accusers have never experienced someone doing this before and they are frightened and do not agree with it.
Socrates faces trial and is in danger of impending the death penalty. At a time of crisis, most citizens would just do what they have to do to get the judges to let them go. Even at a time of crisis, Socrates would never, under any circumstances, change his beliefs or behavior. Even when Socrates was facing death he did not let it threaten his integrity or his virtue. To Socrates one’s honor is extremely essential in life and to lose your honor is worse than death. He refuses to plea for a lighter sentence because he is not afraid of the death penalty and is ready to die for his ethics and truth. Socrates boldly amounts a verbal attack on his accusers and by doing this it is clear that his accusers have a lack of proof for their accusations. He easily manipulates his accusers to make them look foolish for accusing him for things that are irrational. It is clear that Socrates does not deserve to be sentenced to death.
Socrates believes that people should not be afraid of death because nobody knows what it is. If one is afraid of death that means he or she would have to pretend they know what death is. “ There is good hope that death is a blessing, for it is one of two things: either the dead are nothing and have no perception of anything, or it is, as we are told, a change and a relocating for the soul from here to another place” (Plato 40c).
Socrates’ theory is that death is simply the separation of the body and soul. No one knows whether death is the greatest blessing that could ever happen. Instead they dread it and treat death as if it is the greatest evil in the entire world. Socrates considers death to be better than life itself.
... . This falls in line with the idealistic approach to life after death where the soul is immortal. Some polytheistic religions, namely Hinduism believes ... time science has found more and more answers and eventually, science will also be able to answer the controversy surrounding life after death ... possibly exist beside the earth-world of matter bounded by time and space. We are used to it. We have been ...
Socrates believes that death is not evil because it is either eternal sleep or transmigration of the soul. Death could simply be seen as sleeping forever without thoughts, dreams, or consciousness. Most people would be scared of this but Socrates thinks differently. He believes that this would be the best kind of sleep because one could obtain complete and absolute relaxation. One in eternal sleep would never have to worry and would be carefree all the time. The other afterlife option would be the soul transmigrating to another place. Once again Socrates would not mind this happening because he would be able to get together with previous great souls and get to know them. During this get together he would be able to share knowledge and converse about their sufferings on Earth. It seems that Socrates would prefer his soul moving onto another place. He would love to meet people that he could converse with and relate to in some way.
Death is something that Socrates is definitely not scared of, and possibly he looks forward to it if death is what he has pictured it as. Socrates would rather die for his principles and ideas rather than contest them. He will never change his thoughts or views for anybody no matter what the circumstances are. For him, death was something that should not be feared and he fully accepted whatever punishment he received from the jury on judgment day. Socrates also feels that death should not be a factor in people’s decision making and he believes that no act should be committed upon fear of death to save one’s own life because preserving life is not the primary concern. “An unexamined life was not worth living” and if he had changed his views for the court then he would lose his entire honor (Apology 38a).
He believed that a life full of lies was not a good life that was even worth living because then one was not true to themselves and their beliefs.
Socrates believes that life should be examined through countless amounts of questioning. The only way to gain knowledge and become wise is through making mistakes and learning from them. Also Socrates believes one can gain knowledge and wisdom by their own personal experiences. He found that “those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most defective while those who were seen as inferior were often most knowledgeable and wise” (Apology 26).
... , why would you want to change it? Good changes pamper you too much; bad changes are detrimental to your life. Change is a bad thing. Personally ... embrace the world of possibilities than living with the constant fear of change. I heard a quote once, “It takes a lifetime ... , take risks along the way and play the game of life? Changes are risky, but at least you get to live differently ...
When Socrates is about to be condemned to die, Crito tries to convince him to change his opinion and to go along with the majority. Crito states, “I do not think what you are doing is just, to give up your life when you can save it, and to hasten your fate as your enemies would hasten it, and indeed have hastened it in their wish to destroy you. Moreover, I think you are betraying your sons by going away and leaving them, when you can bring them up and educate them” (Plato 45 c-d).
Socrates believes that he should not change his beliefs for others and in no way will he agree with the majority if he does not truly agree with them. Socrates would rather accept the prospect of death than act immorally. He believes that by choosing death over exile that he did not resent death and it shows that he does no fear his death.
In Socrates’ last few moments of life it seems as if he is anxious to end it and see what the future will bring him. Crito begs him to wait a little longer to drink the poison but Socrates urgently replies “ I do not expect any benefit from drinking the poison a little later, except to become ridiculous in my own eyes for clinging to life, and be sparing of it when there is non left” (Plato 117a).
Socrates knows he is going to die and he accepts it and does not try to push it off as long as he can. Socrates believes that if he lives a meaningful life then there is no reason to fear death and the afterlife.
I admire Socrates’ strength and courage to face death. As seen in his trial he is a man of his word and will not change for anybody, even his good friends. The strength that Socrates shows is very uncommon and I am amazed by it. His accusers knew that they could get Socrates sentenced to death. They knew he would not go along with everybody else and even when Socrates argued his accusations it was clear that he did not deserve to be accused. He fought for his beliefs until the very end and he lived a good life and he thought that if he had changed his opinions he would not have lived a good life.
... went straight to Naval Academy. The life changing moment in my life, happen when I decided that I want ... the nuclear reactor was always safe and in good condition and running smoothly. My task is very ... became battlegrounds of two powerful forces. How innocent lives are drastically involved in the conflict. How ... with tragic events and disputes that took many lives (Milosz 256). Leo Tolstoy’s War and ...
Socrates strength and beliefs has given me a new perspective on life. One cannot live their life in fear of what may happen or is going to happen. Also, one cannot fear death because they have no idea what death is. Just like Socrates, one should not change their views or opinions for others, they should always say how they feel and fight for it until they cannot fight anymore. By reading Plato’s The Trial and Death of Socrates the reader should come away with a new understanding on living a good life and not fearing the end of it.