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Death of Socrates September 19, 2014

Posted by anagasto in history, philosophy.
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The Greek assembly had passed the death sentence on Socrates.

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The painting is  in public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:David_-_The_Death_of_Socrates.jpg

Before he died, in prison, he spoke to his friends. They would have liked to free him by bribing the guards, but he refused. He did not believe in death as a final moment.

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He explained that in his view things on Earth and Earth itself were only blurred images reflected from a more perfect world.

And that perfect world is visible to our soul, but not to our senses.

This idea was later developed by Socrates’ most famous student, Plato, and also by Christian theology. And it still rules our way of judging things when we say: this is not real beauty or this is not a real democracy or somebody is not a real leader.

The idea is that we carry the model inside us, for instance in our brain or heart, and judge things accordingly.

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Socrates accepted the death sentence and carried it out by drinking the hemlock tea that he was offered, but still he warned his friends not to take his theories as the last word:

“No sensible man would think it proper to rely on things of this kind being just as I have described them, but…..”

And then he added : ” but ……..that this is so seems to me proper and worthy of the risk of believing; for the risk is noble.” Below is the context :

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Socrates never wrote. Most of what is known about him was written by his student, Plato.

It was also Plato who wrote down how Socrates died :

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For some reason painters always liked to dramatize the scene of Socrates receiving the poison.

Socrates rather explicitly rejected dramatization as nuisance, and when his wife came weeping to say good bye to him he simply told one of his friends to take her home. —

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