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Philosophy Paper 1 September 20th 2011 In Platos Apology, Socrates is on trial for two main charges: corrupting the

youth with his speeches, and of believing in gods that the state of Athens does not recognize. However, there is an underlying motive to these indictments brought upon him. Socrates challenged the wise men of Athens, namely politicians, poets, and artisans, and in effect, proved that they indeed were not wise. Throughout the text, he attempts to vindicate his actions and refute the charges being brought against him. Socrates is the link between humanity and the divine, acting as an ambassador for the god Apollo. His mission, as foretold in the oracle at Delphi is to bring the citizens of Athens closer to the divine by instructing them to live their lives justly, to show them how to achieve true wisdom, and how to enlighten their souls. These three tasks have a unified underlying characteristic: they are all rooted in the application of humility. Socrates does not make a profit by teaching the citizens of Athens. On the contrary, he does so because it is the just thing to do, caring only that their souls spend eternity with the gods and not for his own financial well-being. I thought to myself, I am wiser than this man: neither of us knows anything that is really worth knowing, but he thinks that he has knowledge when he has not, while I, having no knowledge, do not think

that I have, (Apology pg. 26). This implies that men claiming to be extremely knowledgeable in the most important matters, on the basis that they are skilled in their particular profession (i.e. poets), have the worst folly of all. This obscures their true wisdom. Since Socrates does not assert himself to be the expert in matters outside of his own skill set, he displays humility; a trait that is valued above all others. He among you is the wisest who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is really worth nothing at all, (Apology pg. 28). Socrates is, in a sense speaking on behalf of the gods, concluding that this is their opinion of human wisdom. Socrates continues on his journey because he must examine every man who claims to be wise and point him out to the god, as they have commanded him to do so. Socrates is also trying to show the people of Athens that humility, not arrogance is the key to attaining true wisdom. This is the gods intent for the Athenians because without it they will not be able to have everlasting life, and Socrates is the vehicle with which the gods message is delivered to the people. There is a congruent parallel here with Christianity. This type of true wisdom is what, we as Christians try to achieve in the present day. We believe that living a life of humility is one of the primary requirements to spending eternity with God our father in heaven. Jesus, similar to Socrates in this regard, was delivering Gods message to the people of the time so that they would turn from their wicked

ways and achieve everlasting life. Jesus said to them I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, (Matthew 18:3-4). Socrates believes that living anything but a just life is worse than death. He uses the battle of Troy to strengthen his case. He argues that Achilles thought nothing of danger and death when the alternative was disgrace. Achilles mother, who was a goddess, foretold to him that by slaying Hector to avenge his friends death, would lead to his death as well. Socrates continues by saying: He feared much more to live a coward than not to avenge his friend; let me punish the evil doer and afterwards die, he said, (Apology pg. 34). This is a perfect example of the meaning of courage, whereas one stands up and defends what he believes to be just even in the face of extreme danger. For if humanity did not have men who lived by this just code evil would overtake the world. A short example of this is the rise of the Nazi party in World War Two. Without the men and women of the allied forces, who believed that not fighting the Nazi regime was far worse than death, they were able to triumph over evil and bring peace and prosperity to Europe. In the same way Socrates is fighting against the injustice of Athens because the god has commanded him. He continues: It would be very strange conduct on my part if I were to desert my station now

from fear of death or of any other thing when the god has commanded me-as I am persuaded he has done-to spend my life in searching for wisdom, and in examining myself and others, (Apology pg. 35). Throughout the text Socrates continually emphasizes the importance of enlightening the soul. The gods use him so that the people of Athens can become enlightened and live healthier/just lives. : And I think that no greater good has ever befallen you in the state than my service to the god. For I spend my whole life in going about and persuading you all to give your first and greatest care to the improvement of your souls, and not till you have done that to think of your bodies or your wealth. Everything good comes from the improvement of your souls, (Apology pg. 36). In this quote, he comes off somewhat arrogant and contradicts the humble mindset that he teaches to the Athenians. However, the message is still clear in that the gods value the importance of an enlightened soul arguably above all else. Similarly, Socrates likens himself to a gadfly to explain exactly what the god is using him for, and in effect what his mission in life is all about. For if you put me to death, you will not easily find another who, if I may use a ludicrous comparison clings to the state as a sort of gadfly to a horse that is large and well-bred but rather sluggish because of its size, so that it needs to be aroused. It seems to me the god has attached me like that to the state, for I am constantly alighting

upon you at every point to arouse, persuade, and reproach each of you all day long, (Apology pg. 37). It is quite clear that Socrates is the link between humanity and the divine. This bears another close association between Socrates and Jesus, as it was Jesus mission to reproach the people of Israel and teach them to live just and moral lives through the improvement of their souls. Additionally, Socrates adds further proof regarding his role as ambassador to the divine by saying: It is that I have a certain divine guide, which is what Meletus has caricatured in his indictment. I have had it from childhood, (Apology pg. 38). Socrates is the link between humanity and the divine, acting as an ambassador for the god Apollo. His mission, as foretold in the oracle at Delphi is to bring the citizens of Athens closer to the divine by instructing them to live their lives justly, to show them how to achieve true wisdom, and how to enlighten their souls. These three tasks have a unified underlying characteristic: they are all rooted in the application of humility. For Socrates, wisdom and morality are inter-connected, so his efforts serve to improve society as a whole. Socrates believes that if we are all wise, none of us will ever do wrong, and our self-knowledge will lead to healthier, more fulfilling lives. The way in which Socrates lived his life as well as the way in which he was condemned to death is closely related to the martyrs of

the major world religions, namely Christianity. They were each ambassadors for their respective god, professing the gods teachings to their audiences. Their messages are also similar to Socrates in the sense that the end result is the enlightenment of the soul through living a just and moral life based on attaining true wisdom.