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Socrates and Conventional Consciousness

A Tract Book Essay


Anthony J. Fejfar, J.D., Esq., Coif

© Copyright 2007 by Anthony J. Fejfar

Socrates, perhaps the greatest philosopher who has ever lived,

taught critical thinking to the citizens of Athens, where he lived. Socrates

taught that the only life worth living was the reflective life. A life of self-

understanding. I would appear that Socrates also argued, like his student

Plato, after him, that there are three levels of human consciousness, body-

mind, soul-mind, and Spirit-mind. Socrates argued that the contemplative

life or the intellectual life was greater than the bureaucratic political life, or

the life of the base emotions or sense experience. Eventually, the citizens of

Athens grew tired of Socrates and ordered his execution by poisoning.

Socrates spent his entire life, later the basis for the western mode of

thought, arguing for higher consciousness and higher values. The citizens

of Athens, on the other hand, were satisfied with Conventional Authority,

Conventional Culture, and Conventional Consciousness. Following,

Socrates, I would argue that Conventional Consciousness is evil, or at best a

very minimal good. Unfortunately, conventional authority tends to promote

the least common denominator in society rather than the The Good. Even

when the Good is taught, it is done in such a rigid unproductive way that

nothing really Good is accomplished.

The Good Society is based upon reason, not convention.

Convention is the antithesis of The Good. We are to lead reflective lives,

not lives devoted to conventional authority. While one may argue that it is

possible to have Good convention, I would argue that it is not. Such a

society will have mere window dressing for justice and social justice. Such

a society will not really promote a life of individual reflection and reason.

For Conventional Society, Nazi Germany is as good as Stalinist Russia,

which is in turn as good as King George the III, of England at the time of the

American Revolution. All bad choices.

A friend of mine once told me that we live in a relativist world and

that all we have left is convention for authority. I argue that such a society

is merely fascist regardless of any democratic window dressing.

Conventional Authority is evil according to Socrates, and I must agree.