Socrates and His View on Happiness

Philosophers and thinkers are always the rebels of their contemporary society. The foundations of their philosophy are laid based on human welfare. Looking into the history of all the mighty revolutions becomes evident that it was philosophers who awoke the sleeping nation and fought for the noble cause of freedom, equality, and justice by their wonderful sayings and writings. The philosophical theme behind the literature of that time paved the way towards equal distribution of power, pelf, possession, and prestige for all strata of society. Thus unjust measures enforced by the contemporary laws came to an end. The name of Socrates is the most illuminating on this list. Socrates is one of the greatest thinkers, philosophers, and moralists the world has ever produced. Belonging to the center of wisdom i.e. Athens, the great philosopher is thought to be the source of spreading the light of virtue and knowledge in ancient Greece. He underwent severe trials, tolerated taunting comments, faced the unpleasant situation, and eventually embraced death by taking the goblet of poison he was forced to do, but his feet never wavered or trembled while surmounting the mountains of hardships. He always preached goodness, morality, and truthfulness on the one hand and taught mathematics, logic, gymnastics, and philosophy on the other. Socrates is quoted to be stated that the theme of real knowledge is that one must say that he knows nothing. He maintains that as mathematics shapes intellect and gymnastic shapes body, it is wisdom that shapes the human soul. The pure soul is necessary to make up a pure mind and heart, which consequently forms a neat, clean, sober, and pious social setup. He introduced the method of quiz questioning and cross-examination and applied the same while his discussions with the so-called pundits and scholars. On applying self-examinations on them, an overwhelming majority of these scholars, pundits, and individuals were ashamed of and disappointed with their ignorance and lack of knowledge. “Socrates removed the mirror of self-flattery from the eyes of the Athenians and held up before them the glass of truth; they were shocked at the result. For, they saw in this glass not the reflection men, but the images of beasts.” (Thomas & Thomas, 1971: 5) Consequently, they started behaving like beasts towards Socrates and aimed at prosecuting him at the court in 399 B.C. A leather merchant named Anytus and another citizen Meletus complained to him accusing him of corrupting the youth of Athens on the one hand and defying the gods on the other. Anytus’s son was the pupil of Socrates; it is therefore he maintained a special grudge and malice for Socrates. Plato has narrated the scenes of Socrates’ court trial, where Socrates admitted his fault and declared that the allegations were not quite new for him and he had been facing the same in past. “These people are ambitious, violent, and numerous; they are continually and convincingly talking about me; they have been filling your ears for a long time with vehement slanders against me” (Plato, Apology: 27). Socrates had neither corrupted the youth nor did he deny the existence of God. Nevertheless, he appeared at the court of law and defended himself in the same tone, which pinched his opponents and rivals. He looked modest and humble when he stated that he had not been familiar with the procedure of the court of law, so must have been forgiven due to his “ignorance”. In the words of Socrates in the Apology: “I would ask you not to be surprised at this, and not to interrupt me. For I am more than seventy years of age, and this is the first time that I have ever appeared in a court of law, and I am quite a stranger to the ways of the place; and therefore I would have you regard me as if I were a stranger, whom you would excuse if he spoke in his native tongue, and after the fashion of his country” .

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  • Socrates. Web.
  • Henry Thomas & Dana Lee Thomas. Great Philosophers. Bhavan’s Book University Bombay 1971
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