The philosophy of Socrates, which became the background for the formation of many doctrines and concepts, is an example of how reason conquers ignorance. In his writings, the ancient Greek thinker pursued truth as one of the key benefits that allowed the human to comprehend the secrets of life and, at the same time, not to build illusions about higher powers. Testimonies of contemporaries about Socrates help highlight his significant theses and reasoning on the topics of wisdom, death, and other eternal concepts.
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Wisdom in Socrates’ Philosophy
In his dispute with the Oracle of the god about who was the wisest man in Athens, Socrates resorted to an honest and unbiased method of judging different opinions. Moreover, he did not agree with those people who considered him the wisest. Conversely, as Lawhead (2014) writes, “Socrates was speechless, for he was aware of his own, considerable ignorance” (p. 34). As a result of his research, the philosopher came to the conclusion that each of the representatives of the estates he surveyed expressed one’s own wisdom from the standpoint of individual significance. Thus, Socrates showed that wisdom was the lack of conviction in the perfection of personal knowledge and the realization of one’s own ignorance.
Answering questions honestly by following common sense is the value of wisdom. According to Tedx Talks (2012), children are often more successful at this task than adults because experience is a brake on intelligent thinking. I have met wise people, and I was surprised to learn that age was not correlated with wisdom. Conversely, most of those whom I considered to have wisdom were not elderly. They had the ability to find compromises and interpret different life situations objectively, regardless of their prerequisites and consequences. I believe such people are rare today since emotional assessments often prevail over reason, and the human is rarely guided by knowledge as a tool for comprehending reality.
Death in Socrates’ Philosophy
In his arguments about death, Socrates notes that the end of life is not something to be feared. Firstly, based on his philosophy, “it is a much harder to escape from wickedness than from death,” which means that death itself should be taken naturally as an inevitable stage (Lawhead, 2014, p. 42). This thesis allows avoiding fear and focusing on what is real today. Secondly, Socrates notes that only the gods know about what awaits the human soul after the end of life. Therefore, death can be a blessing but not a tragedy, and, according to the Academy of Ideas (2013), taking care of the soul is one of the philosopher’s important theses. It is possible that many people are afraid of death because they have no idea what lies ahead. In addition, the thought that existing religious dogmas and claims about eternal life may be false create an even greater awe of death. However, by following the latter argument of Socrates, one can accept the idea that the end of life is a blessing and a form of tranquility.
Socrates’ philosophy, revealed through the themes of death, wisdom, and other eternal concepts, is rich and interprets many aspects of life. Examples from the reasoning and arguments of the thinker prove his unique perception of reality, which, in turn, contributed to world philosophy. The ideas of Socrates became the background of the philosophical thought for many generations to come and helped develop a number of significant doctrines.
Academy of Ideas. (2013). The ideas of Socrates. YouTube. Web.
Lawhead, W. F. (2014). The voyage of discovery: A historical introduction to philosophy (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.
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Tedx Talks. (2012). TEDxSomerville – Dan Rothstein: Did Socrates get it wrong?. YouTube. Web.