Socrates and Plato - Track 904

Nevertheless that is how it is, gentlemen, as I maintain; though it is not easy to convince you of it. Besides, I am not accustomed to think of myself as deserving punishment. If I had money, I would have suggested a fine that I could afford, because that would not have done me any harm. As it is, I cannot, because I have none; unless of course you like to fix the penalty at what I could pay. I suppose I could probably afford five pounds. I suggest a fine of that amount.

So he is ready to pay five pounds for his acquittal at that time.

One moment, gentlemen. Plato here, and Crito and Critobulus and Apollodorus, want me to propose 150 pounds, on their security. Very well, I agree to this sum, and you can rely upon these gentlemen for its payment.

So now the discussion about this penalty 150 pounds, the people are now very angry with Socrates because he has almost insulted them, he has not asked for any kind of punishment this is a lesser punishment 150 ponds is nothing, so they are very angry with him.

The jury decides for the death-penalty. So the death-penalty is carried against Socrates.

Well, gentlemen, (Now Socrates says on hearing the death-penalty) Well, gentlemen, for the sake of a very small gain in time you are going to earn the reputation — and the blame from those who wish to disparage our city of having put Socrates to death, "that wise man" because they will say I am wise even if I am not, these people who want to find fault with you. If you had waited just a little while, you would have had your way in the course of nature. You can see that I am well on in life and near to death. I am saying this not to all of you but to those who voted for my execution, and I have something else to say to them as well.

No doubt you think, gentlemen, that I have been condemned for lack of the arguments which I could have used if I had thought it right to leave nothing unsaid or undone to secure my acquittal. But that is very far from the truth. It is not a lack of arguments that has caused my condemnation, but a lack of effrontery and impudence, and the fact that I have refused to address you in the way which would give you most pleasure. You would have liked to hear me weep and wail, doing and saying all sorts of things which I regard as unworthy of myself, but which you are used to hearing from other people. But I did not think then that I ought to stoop to servility because I was in danger, and I do not regret now the way in which I pleaded my case; I would much rather die as the result of this defence than live as the result of the other sort. In a court of law, just as in warfare, neither I nor any other ought to use his wits to escape death by any means. In battle it is often obvious that you could escape being killed by giving up your arms and throwing yourself upon the mercy of your pursuers; and in every kind of danger there are plenty of devices for avoiding death if you are unscrupulous enough to stick at nothing. But I suggest, gentlemen, that the difficulty is not so much to escape death; the real difficulty is to escape from doing wrong, which is far more fleet of foot. It is easier to do a wrong thing, very fast you can do a wrong thing, to avoid wrong is a very difficult thing. In this present instance, I, the slow old man, have been overtaken by the slower of the two, but my accusers, (that is to say I will overtaken by my intention of not doing a wrong thing which is more difficult) but my accusers, who are clever and quick, have been overtaken by the faster: by iniquity.

You know the word iniquity, there is a word called equity that is the original word. You know the word equal, equal also means just; if you do a good to me and I do good to you they are both equal therefore it is just, equity is justice therefore iniquity is injustice. Correct? Iniquity is injustice. There is what is called Law of Equity this law of equity is an unwritten law there is no book which says what is law of equity. In other words Law of Equity is a blank book it tells you simply that in the past whenever such and such difficult cases were put before the court then judges decided what was justice in each case, what is common sense. You remember once I told you of Jesus Christ where the owner of the farm goes out to hire people. Yes, you remember that story? Then he hires them at a certain rate, after few hours he goes again and hires some more people then later on he hires some more and then at last he hires still more in the last hour and then the question is of payment and the owner of the farm decided that all of them will get equal payment. Now such cases are laid down in The Law of Equity. He was accused by the first people who he had hired saying that we have worked for the whole day and they have worked only for one hour, those who came last worked only for one hour. It is great injustice, it is iniquity if you pay them the same as we have been paid but the owner said: No the needs of the last are the same as yours. I brought them at the last hour they would have come even in the first hour, I brought them at the last hour but their needs are greater or same as yours therefore I must pay them as much as I paid to them, 'unto this last' that is a very famous phrase – unto this last, I must pay unto this last as much as I paid unto the first. There is a very great book in English whose title is ‘Unto this Last’ is written by Ruskin, a very famous British author. It’s a book on economics where he discusses what is equity. If a mother has three children and has only one small bread piece how should she distribute this piece? There are three children and herself four people and only a small piece of bread, what is just, what is equity according to the mother?

Answer: Divide into three.

Good, divide into three and remain herself without any bread that is called equity, unequal sum, two equal to two, no. In different circumstances different individuals concerned, different relations are concerned. So Law of Equity takes into account not mathematical sums but the whole human situation and then decides what is right and what is wrong that is called the Law of Equity. When mechanical law does not apply but the human law applies. So here he has used the word iniquity.  When I leave this court I shall go away condemned by you to death, but they will go away convicted by Truth herself of depravity and wickedness. And they accept their sentence even as I accept mine. No doubt it was bound to be so, and I think that the result is fair enough.

Having said so much, I feel moved to prophesy to you who have given your vote against me; (to prophesy is to – to make a prophesy, to announce in advance what is going to happen. He says:) Having said so much, I feel moved to prophesy to you who have given your vote against me; for I am now at that point where the gift of prophecy comes most readily to men: at the point of death. (It is a general belief that when man is about to die he foresees what is going to happen, a dying man does not normally tell a lie. In fact in law a dying man’s statement is taken to be true, it is given a great value. If there are so many witnesses in regard to a matter and if one of them is about to die and he gives his last word before death then his voice is counted as very important, it may not be conclusive but it is given a great weight. So he says that I am at the point of death therefore I am getting the power of prophesy so let me now tell you what is now going to happen.) I tell you, my executioners, that as soon as I am dead, vengeance shall fall upon you with a punishment far more painful than your killing of me. You have brought about my death in the belief that through it you will be delivered from submitting your conduct to criticism; but I say that the result will be just the opposite. You will have more critics, whom up till now I have restrained without your knowing it; and being younger they will be harsher to you and will cause you more annoyance.

If you expect to stop denunciation of your wrong way of life by putting people to death, there is something amiss with your reasoning. This way of escape is neither possible nor creditable; the best and easiest way is not to stop the mouths of others, but to make yourselves as good men as you can. This is my last message to you who voted for my condemnation.

Actually if you study the history of Greece you find that soon after this event, Greece itself was put into slavery, the Greeks were taken as prisoners by the Romans and even the Greek philosophers had to serve as butlers in the army of Rome such was the result that happened after this event.

As for you who voted for my acquittal, (he turns to those people who voted in favour of him) I should very much like to say a few words to reconcile you to the result, while the officials are busy and I am not yet on my way to the place where I must die. That is to say some proceeding is going on before I am taken away from the court and I am taken to the jail where I shall die there are still a few moments of freedom. So let me tell you, let us exchange thoughts between us as you used to do earlier.