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Socrates the Arrogant vs Socrates the Wise

September 16, 2010

        Too most, Socrates gives off an aurora of arrogance. At first glance, I would have to agree; however, after some dissection of the text from “The Trial and Death of Socrates”, my state of thought was altered.  During the first few discussions, I myself spoke out how Socrates had very valid points of interest, but that his tone was of arrogance and egotism. He spoke to people challenging their thoughts and values. He discusses very edgy topics. Of course, this stirs up trouble. He then seems to speak down upon the jury in his defense, apology, which only adds to the contempt.  All through discussion I thought to myself “why does this so-called wise man proceed so ironically “. It wasn’t until after the MLK reading that it dawned upon me. Socrates doesn’t want tension for violence and unrest; he pursues tension so eagerly only allow breathing room for self-enlightenment and social justice. Without said tension, the status quo will always remain the same. Dr. Martin Luther King duplicates the presentation of this tension during the Civil Rights Movement. Without the widespread demonstrations and protests, the attention of the public would continually veer away from the issues.  What if Socrates knew the entire duration of his life, the consequences that he would be dealt? What if he intended to create this tension? What if he wasn’t arrogant, but only acted in the manner he did to introduce a new paradigm to the public? I understand that those arguing my view may point out that Socrates isn’t here anymore and that we will never know his real intent. But I have an inkling that he was in fact very humble and virtuous, and acted out not for himself, but to help the public examine their own lives.

One Comment
  1. jaclburr permalink
    September 19, 2010 6:45 PM

    I completely agree with you.
    I was surprised at how many people in our discussions found Socrates extremely arrogant. I suppose I understand where they are coming from, with a certain tone and the strange manner of his defense. Yet, I believe that he was very humble, and it was only through this knowing that he does know nothing that he was able to achieve such wisdom. He seems to say that he does not think himself wise, but realizes that the notion of not taking oneself so seriously is a wisdom in itself. I cannot argue with that.
    On the note of tension and public change, I also agree. Yes, Socrates causes unrest and turmoil. He stirs the pot. Yet, when has there been a time in history when political, social, or moral enlightenment has not become through the result of there being someone or some thoughts that “go against the grain”? Disagreements, questioning, and revolutionaries are necessary for the reform of any system.

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