Not Afraid to Die
In a world filled with fear, one of people’s biggest fears is death. Still, why do we fear death? Some would argue because it is painful. Others would say due to the harsh effect it would have on their loved ones. However, what I would argue is that it is our fear of the unknown that causes us to fear death. Socrates in his defense the “Apology,” argues that it is for exactly that reason that death does not scare him and it his death that will prove he is an innocent man
“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 a change and a relocation for the soul from here to another place.” (40d) Socrates saw death as an opportunity to have one of the best sleeps of his life or as a way to spend the rest of his life discussing the mysteries of life with other men he considered worth talking to. In saying this, Socrates had to be viewed as a dangerous man because the most dangerous people are the ones who are not afraid to die due to the fact that they have nothing to lose. While, Socrates used this rationale to possibly strengthen his defense, in reality he was probably only digging himself a deeper grave.
On the other hand, I think Socrates may have only said this in order to infuriate his accusers even more. He says, “It is not difficult to avoid death, gentlemen; it is much more difficult to avoid wickedness, for it runs faster than death.” (39b) Through this statement he is basically saying that even though have sentenced him to death, it does not mean he is an immoral man, but rather those who have persecuted him are the evil ones. Furthermore, Socrates most likely wanted to die in order to prove the point that it is not the one who tries to prove his innocence that is not guilty, but rather the one who speaks the truth who is truly a just man.
I personally am still afraid of death regardless of Socrates reasoning and arguably our age difference plays a factor into this difference of opinion. However, Socrates explains our ignorance about fearing death best when he parts with the lines, “Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one.” (42)