Now I don't know where we were last time, ‘in the ‘Apology’’ Can you tell me the page number? Page number is 10.
You got it? Page number? “In the aim of Life” page 74 and in the photocopies page ten. Page 10. Tell me seriously, Meletus that is the one?
Come now Meletus tell me this. Yes come now Meletus tell me this.
So let us refresh ourselves before we proceed. Socrates refers to two accusations. In fact let us ask one more question before doing this: why are we reading this at all? Why should we read this passage? Can anybody answer this question? To understand the philosophy of Socrates and any other answer is a good answer. It may be said that if you want to understand the philosophy of Socrates you have many other things to read about Socrates. Why this particular passage? Why should I spend such a lot of time on reading so many pages with you?
I have read already with you a paper called virtue is knowledge. That exchange the philosophy of secret is already then why am I doing this? There are three reasons. One is you understand a philosopher best when you write an original writing. The paper which I gave you was my paper, not Socrates’s own paper. So when you read the original writing then you have a greater pulse you feel better that you have read Socrates himself.
So that is one reason why I chose to read this paper. Of course this is not written by Socrates himself, it is written by Plato. But that is the most original writing petrol himself writing about his master about his teacher.
So that is one of the best things we can do to understand Socrates. In any case there is no further thing more original than this available in the world, because Socrates himself wrote nothing, he spoke a lot but he never wrote anything in his lifetime. So this is the only original material available to you on Socrates that's the one first reason.
Second reason is that philosophy is understood best. When the life of a philosopher is given to you how far he practices his own philosophy in his own life when he says virtue is knowledge is his philosophies. The question is whether he practices that philosophy and this particular passage is the one in which we get the life of Socrates told by himself in which he shows how he believes in virtue is knowledge. We shall see here when we come to another argument, he himself uses that argument in his own case.
So this is the second reason why we are reading this.
The third reason is that Socrates is supposed to be the father of philosophy in the west. Which means he started what is called true philosophical thinking in the west so if you want to understand western philosophy it is best to read the first master, the first man who started philosophy. In fact in the west two names are greatest Socrates and Plato. Plato was a student of Socrates. And Plato is supposed to be the best philosopher even today among all philosophers of the world so Socrates is the father of philosophy and Plato is the best philosopher in the world.
So we shall study therefore Socrates and Plato the best. So that we get a real hang of western philosophies that is why I am taking so much of your time on this particular passage. You will find that this passage is not very easy. There are many stories of people and they are easy to understand. But this particular passage which I have taken is not very easy. That is because it's a philosophical dialogue and it is not a commonplace life story. He doesn't speak of his pilgrimages encounters with people in an ordinary manner.
His whole account is argumentative; he puts forward arguments against arguments and that is the best way of learning philosophy. As I told you earlier, what exactly is a philosophical argument? When we were reading The Life Divine in the first chapter I spoke to you about the philosophical argument. What is the nature of a philosophical argument? And I told you the answer for us: a philosophical argument selects certain important facts and then derives out of those facts, implications.
What does it imply? If you state facts only it is not philosophy. It is only when you ask the question what is the significance of these facts? You remember I have spoken to you of the quintessential metaphysical argument, earlier. What is a quintessential metaphysical argument? A quintessential metaphysical argument takes a few facts which are very important facts and then asks the question, what is the significance of these facts? Why should these facts be as they are? Why are they not different from what they are? Why should they not be different from what they are? When you ask these questions it becomes a philosophical argument, a quintessential metaphysical argument.
To find out the significance and significance of anything means why is affect? What is it? Why is it not otherwise? Why should it not be otherwise? Could it be otherwise, could it be otherwise other than what it is? When you ask these questions and then try to answer these questions that is philosophy.
A philosophical argument consists of selection of facts, one set of facts then second set of facts, third set of facts you can go on selecting several sets of facts. And for each set of facts you have to raise this question: why these facts are? What are they? Why are they not otherwise? Why should they not be otherwise? Why should they have been otherwise? If you raise these questions and if you find answers to these questions then that makes philosophy.
If you raise questions you can only say you have raised philosophical questions. If you're not answered yet but if you answer then you can say this is philosophy. Philosophy is an answer to quintessential metaphysical arguments. You rise first of all arguments which are metaphysical and what are metaphysical arguments? They relate to the significance of the facts which have been put before you. And when you try to ask why these facts are what they are? Why are they not different from what they are? Why should they be different from what they are? Why should they not be different from what they are? If these questions are raised and then if you answer these questions then they become metaphysical philosophical arguments. In science for example which is not metaphysics or philosophy you ask the question, why is it so? And you give an answer because of this it is so. But you do not ask a question could it be otherwise should it have been otherwise. This question as soon as this questions it is a metaphysical argument metaphysical question.
Now as I said this particular paper raises philosophical arguments and we shall see where exactly metaphysical arguments are used. So keep in mind that when Socrates is arguing he is giving you an example of philosophical arguments. The whole ‘Apology’ is actually a philosophical statement. Now I was telling you there are two accusations which are made against Socrates. Socrates starts with two accusations: the first accusation does where it occurs the first? First one page number five, page number five okay can you read out to me.
Charmendies is guilty of the criminal meddling embedding bodies into things throughout the earth and in the sky and makes it a bigger argument they think the stronger and teaches order to follow this
Good. Have you found it in your paper page number five where Socrates reads out an affidavit, I told you what is the meaning of affidavits. Affidavit is a statement of affirmation. When you affirm it is an affidavit statement of affirmation. So the affidavit is written by the accusers and this is the effect this is the affidavit. Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger and teaches others to follow his example. Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling because he's philosophy. The philosophy defined here he inquires into things below the earth and the sky when you inquire into the things below the earth and in the sky, the facts which you don't see normally below the earth and in the sky.
So he inquires into the facts, not ordinary facts. Ordinary facts can be seen very easily, not metaphysically metaphysical means the facts which are not even presented. You ask these facts I don't accept. I want to see why the facts are what they are, could they be different. If I go below the earth, will the effects be different? If I go to the sky with the effects be different so you will see in a very subtle manner how this one sentence is basically a philosophical statement. In other words Socrates is supposed to be guilty because he's a philosopher; this is that argument actually because he philosophizes. Because in that he inquires into things below the earth in the sky and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger and teaches others to follow his example he's corrupting the people. .
Now we have read this whole passage in detail so I don't go over it again. Now I come to the second accusation now where is the second page? Page nine.
Now read that one, what does it say? Socrates is guilty of corrupting the mind of the young and of believing in deities of his own invention instead of two boys recognize the state. So ‘Socrates is guilty of corrupting the minds of the young’. This is the first accusation. In this second accusation first part of the second accusation, ‘Socrates is guilty of corrupting the minds of the young and of believing in deities of his own invention instead of the gods recognized by the state. So now Socrates is examining this accusation. So let us read it, first it says ‘I’m revising a little of what we did last time.
First it says that ‘I am guilty of corrupting the young but ‘I say gentlemen that Meletus is guilty of treating a serious matter with levity. Since he summons the people to stand their trial on frivolous grounds and professes concern and keen anxiety in matters about which he has never had the slightest interest. I’ll try to prove it; I’ll try to prove this to your satisfaction. There are two things now he says I’ll prove, first that he professes concern and keen anxiety in matters about which has never had the slightest interest. He says that Meletus has no interest in youth first of all; he doesn't even know the young people of Athens.
Since he does not know the young people, how would whether I am corrupting them or not? He has never had any interest whether they are corrupt or not it is only to argue against me, it is to prove that I am guilty that he brings a false charge against me and then showed that he has a great interest in the young people and therefore he is very concerned about whether they are corrupt dead or not. And since he wants to prove that I am guilty he wants to say that I am corrupting them. Whereas the real fact is that Mr Meletus does not know the young people he has no company of the young people he does not know what they are doing what they should be doing he has never come into any kind of contact.
So this is one point that he wants to prove so let us see how Socrates goes about it.
Come now, Meletus! Remember that this is a court in the open ground and Meletus is sitting as an accuser any test is another one Lycon is the third one these three are the main accusers in this case. A then there are a lot of people of Athens young old and others so now Socrates calls upon meditation says “all right Meletus come on tell me this! ‘You regard it as supremely important do you not that our young people should be exposed to the best possible influence’ Meletus's answer says ‘I do’ very well then tell this gentleman who it is that influences the young for the better. Obviously you must know if you are so much interested. You have discovered the vicious influence as you say in myself and you are now prosecuting me before this gentleman. Speak up, and inform them who it is that has a good influence upon the young. Meletus does not answer the question. So he said you see meditators that you are tongue-tied and cannot answer do you not feel that this is discreditable and a sufficient proof in itself or what I said that you have no interest in the subject. Tell me my friend who is it that makes the young good.
Now Meletus answers the question “the laws” then Socrates says that is not what I mean. My dear sir I am asking you to name a person whose first business it is to know the laws. Then Meletus answers ‘these gentlemen here Socrates the members of the jury’ the jury according to Meletus consists of the people who are good influence on the on these young people. So Socrates asked the question ‘do you mean Meletus that they have the ability to educate the young and to make them better.’
Meletus says ‘certainly! Then Socrates says ‘does this apply to all jury men or only to some’ ‘to all of them’ says Meletus. Then Socrates says ‘excellent! A generous supply of benefactors ‘I am the only person all of them are very good people they are making good influence upon the people all of them excellent a generous supply of benefactors. Well then do these spectators who are present the court have an infinite improving influence or not apart from jury there are so many people here they are also having a good influence on the people young people.
Meletus says yes they do then Socrates goes forward and says and what about the members of the council the answer is yes the counsellors too so Socrates says but surely Meletus the members of the assembly do not corrupt the young. They are also benefactors no? or do all of them to exert an improving influence answer is ‘yes they do’ so now Socrates then concludes then it would seem that the whole population of Athens has a refining effect upon the young except myself and I alone demoralize them is that your meaning’ Meletus says ‘most emphatically yes’ this is certainly now Socrates says ‘this is certainly a most unfortunate quality that you have detected in me. ‘well let me put another question to you, now you see the argument he says let me put another question to you take the course case of horses you will see here what I told you earlier analogical argument here are men young men compare them with horses.
Take a group of horses now if you want horses to be trained better or well you find good trainers isn't it. Just as you need good trainers for the young people similarly you need good teachers good trainers for the horses.
So he says if you want trainers for your horses how many trainers you will find in a given city? all people? Or only a few? if you find that you cannot have all the people as trainers then do you think that as far as human beings are concerned there will be many more trainers than for horses. It's ridiculous! so he says that your whole argument is ridiculous to say that all the people of Athens are good benefactors, I am the only one person who make a very evil influence on them.
So this is the way in which it shows the ridiculous the ridicule in the matter to show that all our benefactors I am the only person who is creating a bad influence on the people. So this is analogical argument. So let us read that argument take the case of horses do you people do you believe that those who improve them make up the whole of mankind and that there is only one person who has bear influence on them or is the truth just opposite that the ability to improve them belongs to one person or to very few persons who are horse trainers whereas most people if they have to do with horses and make use of them do them harm is not this case merit us both with horses and with all other animals. Of course it is whether you and any test deny it or not it would be a singular dispensable in dispensation of fortune for our young people if there is only one person who corrupts them well all the rest have a beneficial effect.
But I need to say no more. There is sample proof Meletus that you have never bothered your head about the young. And you make it perfectly clear that you have never taken the slightest interest in the cause for the sake of which you are now indicting me.
All right this is the arguments we shall repeat the argument. The basic accusation is the Socrates is corrupting the minds of young people now Socrates is dealing with this argument and puts a question. Who is it that really is a benefactor of the young people?
See how he argues the whole argument he doesn't prove I am not guilty he says you tell me who are the good people? I am a bad man. All right, grant. Granted that I’m a bad man. I am creating a bad influence upon the young people. Tell me who are the benefactors? So first meditator says the members of the jury? They are the good people and they are creating good influence upon the young people. So he says all right! What about the other people, who are here? All gathered they are all very good people. Fine what about the members of the council? They are also very good people. What about the most of the assembly? Very good people. So the conclusion that is derived from these arguments is that all the people in Athens are good they are benefactors. Only one person is an evil person.
So all right this is our conclusion. Now let us take courses in analogical argument. Is it a fact that if you want to train horses will you really find all the people to be good horse trainers and only one to be bad trainer?
Answer is, obviously no! You find very few people who can train horses well so if that is true then your whole account is false because according to your account all people are good trainers only one is evil. So that is how the argument Meletus falls.
Here is another point, now Socrates continues tell me seriously meditators is it better to live in a good or in a bad community, You see the way in which is answer he is raising the question. He wants to prove that he's not guilty. He doesn't say I’m guilty or not guilty, He raises a question the answer of which will lead to the conclusion that not guilty.
Tell me seriously, ‘Meletus is it better to live in a good or in a bad community? Answer my question, like a good fellow; there is nothing difficult about it. Is it not true that wicked people have a bad effect upon those with whom they are in the closest contact, and that good people have a good effect?
And easy to answer the question. So Meletus says. Quite true. Socrates says is there anyone who prefers to be harmed rather than benefited by his associates is there anyone who prefers to be harmed rather than benefited by his associates answer me my good man the law commands you to answer is there anyone who prefers to be harmed.
Is there anyone who prefers to be harmed rather than benefited by his associates? Answer me, my good man; the law commands you to answer. Is there anyone who prefers to be harmed?
Meletus Says ‘of course not.
Well, then, when you summon me before this court for corrupting the young and making their characters worse, do you mean that I do so intentionally or unintentionally?
Meletus Says ‘I mean intentionally. Then Socrates says why? Meletus, are you at your age so much wiser than I at mine?
This is his way of witty questioning Why Meletus, are you at your age so much wiser than I at mine? You have discovered that bad people always have a bad effect, and good people a good effect, upon their nearest neighbours. Am I so hopelessly ignorant as not even to realize that by spoiling the character of one of my companions I shall run the risk of getting some harm from him?
If I corrupt somebody and then I live with him then I’ll also become corrupted do you think that I am so bad as that that knowingly I’ll become victim of my own bad teaching I will still teach bad things.
Because nothing else would make me commit this grave offense intentionally. No, I do not believe it, Meletus, and I do not suppose that anyone else does. Either I have not a bad influence, or it is unintentional, so that in either case your accusation is false. And if I unintentionally have a bad influence, the correct procedure in cases of such involuntary misdemeanors is not to summon the culprit before this court, but to take him aside privately for instruction and reproof, because obviously if my eyes are opened, I shall stop doing what I do not intend to do. But you deliberately avoided my company in the past and refused to enlighten me, and now you bring me before this court, which is the place appointed for those who need punishment, not for those who need enlightenment.
Let us revise this argument. I am doing this because I want you to be acquainted with the way of arguing, a philosophical means of arguing a case. So let us repeat. Is it better to live in a good or in a bad community? The answer is obvious; we should live in a good community. Then he says: Is it not true that wicked people have a bad effect upon those with whom they are in the closest contact. Answer is "yes of course" Then he says: do you think anyone would voluntarily like to be affected badly, not at all. If so, if I corrupt a young person then I shall be obliged to live with a corrupt person and therefore I will become bad myself and that is not good for me, so intentionally do you think I will be corrupting anybody or I should be corrupting anybody intentionally. Certainly not, so if I am not intentionally corrupting anybody then the right course for you is to call me in private, give me instructions and say look! You are doing something wrong, you do not know that you are intentionally doing it but actually speaking it is corrupting yourself, therefore avoid it. So he said that if you want me to be really educated rightly, if you are a very good friend of mine then don’t bring me before the court. Come to me privately, explain to me that I am doing something wrong and explain to me that by doing wrong to some other person I am doing wrong to myself, therefore you should not punish me but only enlighten me. Alright this argument is clear? No. yes clear argument alright.
It is quite clear by now, gentlemen, that Meletus, as I said before, has never shown any degree of interest in this subject. However, I invite you to tell us, Meletus, in what sense you make out that I corrupt the minds of the young? Is the third question now? The first question about verses and men trainers of men and trainers of verses. The second was intentionally corrupting or unintentionally corrupting
Now the third question is in what sense do you make out that I corrupt the minds of the young? Surely the terms of your indictment make it clear that you accuse me of teaching them to believe in new deities instead of the gods recognized by the state. Is not that the teaching of mine which you say has this demoralizing effect?
Meletus says that is precisely what I maintain. Then I appeal to you, Meletus, in the name of these same gods about whom we are speaking, to explain yourself a little more clearly to myself and to the jury, because I cannot make out what your point is.
Now what is the meaning of this? He says I don't understand your point now. Let us read again. I appeal to you, Meletus, in the name of these same gods about whom we are speaking, to explain yourself a little more clearly to myself and to the jury, because I cannot make out what your point is.
Now this statement means actually you are asking me whether I believe in gods or not. Knowing very well that I believe in gods therefore he says I don't understand your point. Repeat now the argument of Mellitus.
Meletus says you believe in gods other than the gods in which the state believes. So the argument is not that it does not believe in gods at all. Argument is that he believes in gods but gods which are other than the gods of the state. Now he will prove that if he believes in divinities at all there can't be two kinds of divinities. If I believe in one divinity then divinity is the same everywhere, whether these divinities or those divinities. Therefore it is a fact that I really believe in divinity. So if you say that I believe in divinity and yet I don't believe in divinity is a self-contradiction, therefore he says I don't therefore don't understand what your point is. I cannot make out what your point is, is it that I teach people to believe in some gods which implies that I myself believe in gods and am not a complete atheist, so that I am not guilty on that score—but in different gods from those recognized by the state, so that your accusation rests upon the fact that they are different? Or do you assert that I believe in no gods at all, and teach others to do the same?
Then Meletus says Yes, I say that you disbelieve in gods altogether. So now Meletus changes his position. In the first phrase he says believe in god’s different from the gods of the state. Now he says no I want to assert that you disbelieve in gods altogether
You surprise me, Meletus. What is your object in saying that? Do you suggest that I do not believe that the sun and moon are gods, as is the general belief of all mankind?
The answer; He certainly does not, gentlemen of the jury, since he says that the sun is a stone and the moon a mass of earth. This is the answer of Meletus.
Socrates now says: Do you imagine that you are prosecuting Anaxagoras, my dear Meletus?
Now Anaxagoras, was the philosopher of the time who had declared that the sun and the moon are two stones which have come out of the earth and since they are revolving very fast they have become very hot. That was the theory of Anaxagoras. So he says what you are saying is a theory of Anaxagoras not my theory. So are you confusing me with Anaxagoras? Because Anaxagoras philosophy is well known and you are imputing that philosophy into me which is not my philosophy.
Have you so poor an opinion of these gentlemen, and do you assume them to be so illiterate as not to know that the writings of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae are full of theories like these? And do you seriously suggest that it is from me that the young get these ideas, when they can buy them on occasion in the market place for a shedding drachma at most, or so have the laugh on Socrates if he claims them for his own, to say nothing of their being so silly? Tell me honestly, Meletus, is that your opinion of me? Do I believe in no god?
Meletus says, No, none at all, not in the slightest degree.
So Socrates says, you are not at all convincing, Meletus—not even to yourself, I suspect. In my opinion, gentlemen, this man is a thoroughly selfish bully, and has brought this action against me out of sheer wanton aggressiveness and self-assertion. He seems to be devising a sort of intelligence test for me, saying to himself, Will the infallible Socrates realize that I am contradicting myself for my own amusement, or shall I succeed in deceiving him and the rest of my audience?
It certainly seems to me that he is contradicting himself in this indictment, which might just as well run: Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods, but believing in the gods. And this is pure flippancy. This is the conclusion. What is flippancy? Absolutely a self-contradiction which is amusing. And amusing self-contradiction is flippancy or a nonsense. An amusement in speaking that is nonsense. That is flippancy.
I ask you to examine with me, gentlemen, the line of reasoning which leads me to this conclusion. You, Meletus, will oblige us by answering my questions. Will you all kindly remember, as I requested at the beginning, not to interrupt if I conduct the discussion in my own customary way?
So now he proves the self-contradiction of Meletus. Let us repeat. Is there anyone in the world, Meletus, who believes in human activities, and not in human beings? Repeat the question. Is there anyone in the world, Meletus, who believes in human activities, and not in human beings? Make him answer, gentlemen, and don't let him keep on making these continual objections. Is there anyone who does not believe in verses, but believes in verses' activities? Or who does not believe in musicians, but believes in musical activities? No, there is not, my worthy friend. If you do not want to answer, I will supply it for you and for these gentlemen too. But the next question you must answer. Is there anyone who believes in supernatural activities and not in supernatural beings?
Now Meletus says, ‘No. How good of you to give a bare answer under compulsion by the court! Well, do you assert that I believe and teach others to believe in supernatural activities? It does not matter whether they are new or old. The fact remains that I believe in them according to your statement; indeed you solemnly swore as much in your affidavit. But if I believe in supernatural activities, it follows inevitably that I also believe in supernatural beings. Is not that so? It is. I assume your assent, since you do not answer. Do we not hold that supernatural beings are either gods or the children of gods? Do you agree or not?
Meletus says, certainly. Then if I believe in supernatural beings, as you assert, if these supernatural beings are gods in any sense, we shall reach the conclusion which I mentioned just now when I said that you were testing my intelligence for your own amusement, by stating first that I do not believe in gods, and then again that I do, since I believe in supernatural beings. If on the other hand these supernatural beings are bastard children of the gods by nymphs or other mothers, as they are reputed to be, who in the world would believe in the children of gods and not in the gods themselves? It would be as ridiculous as to believe in the young of horses or donkeys and not in horses and donkeys themselves. No, Meletus, there is no avoiding the conclusion that you brought this charge against me as a test of my wisdom, or else in despair of finding a genuine offense of which to accuse me. As for your prospect of convincing any living person with even a smattering of intelligence that belief in supernatural and divine activities does not imply belief in supernatural and divine beings, and vice versa, it is outside all the bounds of possibility.
As a matter of fact, gentlemen, I do not feel that it requires much defence to clear myself of Meletus' accusation. What I have said already is enough. But you know very well the truth of what I said in an earlier part of my speech, that I have incurred a great deal of bitter hostility, and this is what will bring about my destruction, if anything does—not Meletus nor Anytus, but the slander and jealousy of a very large section of the people. They have been fatal to a great many other innocent men, and I suppose will continue to be so; there is no likelihood that they will stop at me.
But perhaps someone will say, do you feel no compunction, Socrates, at having followed a line of action which puts you in danger of the death penalty?
I might fairly reply to him, you are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action—that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one. On your view the heroes who died at Troy would be poor creatures, especially the son of Thetis. He, if you remember, made light of danger in comparison with incurring dishonor when his goddess mother warned him, eager as he was to kill Hector, in some such words as these, I fancy: My son, if you avenge your comrade Patroclus' death and kill Hector, you will die yourself—'Next after Hector is thy fate prepared.' When he heard this warning, he made light of his death and danger, being much more afraid of an ignoble life and of failing to avenge his friends. 'Let me die forthwith,' said he, 'when I have requited the villain, rather than remain here by the beaked ships to be mocked, a burden on the ground.' Do you suppose that he gave a thought to death and danger?
Let us repeat a little. He has disposed of the two arguments, one that he is corrupting the youth and second that he does not believe in divinity, both the arguments he has now disposed of. But now he raises a third argument which was not in the affidavit. He says after having disposed of these two arguments you may raise a third question. What is the third question? Socrates, why do you conduct your life in such a way that you are brought to this position today that you are to defend yourself against the penalty of death because it might come to you. Why do you conduct your life so dangerously? So to that now Socrates says that is because—then what is his answer? Why does he want to lead his life dangerously? His reply is:
I might fairly reply to him, you are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. “I do not care whether I live or I die, if I have to weigh all the time whether I shall live or die then of course your proposition is correct that I should not live life in such a way that I may incur the penalty of death.” He says my concern is only one thing, he has only one thing to consider in performing any action that is whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one.
Then he compares himself to some of the heroes of the war. What should be a hero doing in a war? Because war is a place where surely death will come in one way or the other or he might escape only if he wins over the enemy or he can escape, he can run away from the war. Who is a good warrior? Then he speaks of Achilles. Achilles is supposed to be one of the greatest heroes of the war with Troy. I don’t know if you have read the story of Troy? Yes? Achilles is supposed to be the son of a goddess—Thetis and when Achilles wanted to kill Hector that was one of the greatest enemies of Achilles. Then his mother gave a warning. If you kill Hector next will be your turn, you’ll be surely killed yourself. Knowing this still he said: No, I will still prefer death because my duty is to kill a villain because Hector according to me he is a villain. So I must kill him, I must do what is right even if in the consequence I’ll be killed myself.
On your view the heroes who died at Troy would be poor creatures, especially the son of Thetis. He, if you remember, made light of danger in comparison with incurring dishonor when his goddess mother warned him, eager as he was to kill Hector, in some such words as these, I fancy: My son, if you avenge your comrade Patroclus' death and kill Hector, you will die yourself—'Next after Hector is thy fate prepared.' When he heard this warning, he made light of his death and danger, being much more afraid of an ignoble life and of failing to avenge his friends. 'Let me die forthwith,' said he, 'when I have requited the villain, rather than remain here by the beaked ships to be mocked, a burden on the ground.' Do you suppose that he gave a thought to death and danger?
The truth of the matter is this, gentlemen. Where a man has once taken up his stand, either because it seems best to him or in obedience to his orders, there I believe he is bound to remain and face the danger, taking no account of death or anything else before dishonour.
This is the conclusion. That is his answer. Why do you prefer a life of a kind where you are constantly in danger of being put to death? So his reply is, it is better to die than to remain alive in dishonour.
This being so, it would be shocking inconsistency on my part, gentlemen, if, when the officers whom you chose to command me assigned me my position at Potidaea and Amphipolis and Delium, I remained at my post like anyone else and faced death, and yet afterward, when God appointed me, as I supposed and believed, to the duty of leading the philosophical life, examining myself and others, I were then through fear of death or of any other danger to desert my post.
Here he refers to three wars which had taken place earlier in which he was a soldier. And at that time it was expected of him that he fights the war even though that war might bring about death for him. So he said: knowing that I did my duty in the war even facing death today if I were to do a duty and not to face death, it would be inconsistency. If that was my duty at that time to face death even now it is my duty to face death. It would be inconsistent that now I avoid death.
That would indeed be shocking, and then I might really with justice be summoned into court for not believing in the gods, and disobeying the oracle, and being afraid of death, and thinking that I am wise when I am not. For let me tell you, gentlemen, that to be afraid of death is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not;
It’s a very interesting statement. Read again. Let me tell you gentle man
That to be is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not. If you are afraid of death that means you know what death is, to be afraid of death means you know what death is and who knows what is death? So if you are afraid of death, it means that you know what is death which you do not, therefore you think you are wise when you are not wise. Right? Read again.
Let me tell you, gentlemen, that to be afraid of death is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not; it is to think that one knows what one does not know. No one knows with regard to death whether it is not really the greatest blessing that can happen to a man, but people dread it as though they were certain that it is the greatest evil, and this ignorance, which thinks that it knows what it does not, must surely be ignorance most culpable. This, I take it, gentlemen, is the degree, and this the nature of my advantage over the rest of mankind, and if I were to claim to be wiser than my neighbour in any respect, it would be in this— that not possessing any real knowledge of what comes after death, I am also conscious that I do not possess it. But I do know that to do wrong and to disobey my superior, whether God or man, is wicked and dishonourable, and so I shall never feel more fear or aversion for something which, for all I know, may really be a blessing, than for those evils which I know to be evils.
I don’t know if you follow the argument. Do you follow the argument? Yes? He says, I know one thing certain to follow god is right, to follow my superior is right this I am certain. About death I do not know whether it is the greatest blessing of the greatest evil that I do not know. Now between what I know and what I do not know I can only follow what I know. Not knowing what death is whether it is a blessing or not I can therefore say: I don’t mind about death because I don’t know what it is but I know one thing that if I disobey god and don’t do my duty, if I disobey my superiors and not do my duty it is certainly dishonourable. Therefore I don’t care whether death comes or not if I do my duty properly.
Suppose, then, that you acquit me, and pay no attention to Anytus, who has said that either I should not have appeared before this court at all, or, since I have appeared here, I must be put to death, because if I once escaped your sons would all immediately become utterly demoralized by putting the teaching of Socrates into practice. Suppose that, in view of this, you said to me, Socrates, on this occasion we shall disregard Anytus and acquit you, but only on one condition, that you give up spending your time on this quest and stop philosophizing. If we catch you going on in the same way, you shall be put to death.
Well, supposing, as I said, that you should offer to acquit me on these terms, I should reply, Gentlemen, I am your very grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to God than to you, and so long as I draw breath and have my faculties, I shall never stop practicing philosophy and exhorting you and elucidating the truth for everyone that I meet. I shall go on saying, in my usual way, my very good friend, you are an Athenian and belong to a city which is the greatest and most famous in the world for its wisdom and strength. Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honour, and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding and the perfection of your soul?
And if any of you disputes this and professes to care about these things, I shall not at once let him go or leave him. No, I shall question him and examine him and test him; and if it appears that in spite of his profession he has made no real progress toward goodness, I shall reprove him for neglecting what is of supreme importance, and giving his attention to trivialities. I shall do this to everyone that I meet, young or old, foreigner or fellow citizen, but especially to you, my fellow citizens, inasmuch as you are closer to me in kinship. This, I do assure you, is what my God commands, and it is my belief that no greater good has ever befallen you in this city than my service to my God. For I spend all my time going about trying to persuade you, young and old, to make your first and chief concern not for your bodies nor for your possessions, but for the highest welfare of your souls, proclaiming as I go, Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state.
Now if I corrupt the young by this message, the message would seem to be harmful, but if anyone says that my message is different from this, he is talking nonsense. And so, gentlemen, I would say, you can please yourselves whether you listen to Anytus or not, and whether you acquit me or not. You know that I am not going to alter my conduct, not even if I have to die a hundred deaths.
Is this argument clear? Or difficult, very complex. This is much easier than the previous argument because it simply says, if you just tell me we shall acquit you. You know the meaning of acquittal? No, conviction? In a court of law a judgement is either of conviction or of acquittal. What is conviction? You are convicted to a penalty. When the judgement is against you then it is called conviction when the judgement is in favour of you and you are freed, you are allowed to go away without any penalty it is called acquittal. Then you are acquitted.
So Socrates says, to all the people in the jury and all the people who had gathered, if you are going to acquit me, if you are going to allow me to go away from here free, not guilty but on condition that I should no more be teaching philosophy then he says, I do not want acquittal. It is God's command to me that I should teach philosophy. I should tell everybody that wealth is not a thing to be pursued for its own sake, goodness is to be pursued. Goodness may give you wealth; it may not give you wealth. But goodness is to be preferred and if you are not doing that if you are pursuing wealth, if you are pursuing honour, position then I shall tell you, you are wrong. Whether you like it or not I’ll go on telling you and I’ll try to persuade you that you are wrong therefore do not acquit me and do not ask me to give up my profession.
So his last words are:
You can please yourselves whether you listen to Anytus or not, and whether you acquit me or not; you know that I am not going to alter my conduct, not even if I have to die a hundred deaths. This is his answer, he says I do not want to please you I want to do only that which is right.
Order, please, gentlemen! Remember my request to give me a hearing without interruption. Besides, I believe that it will be to your advantage to listen. I am going to tell you something else, which may provoke a storm of protest, but please restrain yourselves. I assure you that if I am what I claim to be, and you put me to death, you will harm yourselves more than me. Neither Meletus nor Anytus can do me any harm at all; they would not have the power, because I do not believe that the law of God permits a better man to be harmed by a worse. No doubt my accuser might put me to death or have me banished or deprived of civic rights, but even if he thinks—as he probably does, and others too, I dare say—that these are great calamities, I do not think so. I believe that it is far worse to do what he is doing now, trying to put an innocent man to death. For this reason gentle man so far from pleading of my own behalf at his might be suppose, I am really pleading on yours, to save you from miss-use in the gift of god by condemning me. If you put me to death you will not easily find anyone to take my place. It is literally true even if it sounds rather comical that god has specially appointed me to this city, as though it were a large thoroughbred horse which because of his great size he is not inclined to be lazy he is inclined to be lazy and needs the stimulation of some stinging fly. Read again
If you put me to death he will not easily find anyone to take my place. It is literally true that God has specially appointed me to this city, as though it were a large thoroughbred horse which because of his great size he's inclined to be lazy and needs stimulation of some stinging fly he compares Athens to a horse. He said I am living in Athens, essence is like a horse and I am like a stinging fly. If there is a big, very fat one it becomes very lazy. Now how to make a horse swing into action so only if there's a stinging fly that this horse can be injected with a kind of energy to fly up. So similarly he says I am like a stinging fly you are all in essence like a horse which is well bred but very lazy. So I am here. God has given me the task of awakening you every time stimulating you every time.
So if I die you will lose because if you have nobody now to sting you. You will not easily find another like me gentleman and if you take my advice you will spare my life. I suspect however that before long you'll be awake from your browsing and in your annoyance you will take any place's advice and finish me off with a single slap. And then you will go on sleeping till the end of your days unless god is scared for you to send someone to take my place.
I’ll stop here today. I am not sure whether you are able to follow the arguments or not. But this is my first reading. After some time we shall do a second reading, not now. We shall do the first reading now because I would like you to learn how to argue a case. And in what way the argument moves it's a very crafty argument. It's like a craftsman good artist. Many of you are good artists. I’m telling you it's also an art, the way in which you put forward your statements you refute the accusation and stand on your own stand. So whether you follow it or not do not worry just now, go through it once in a rapid manner and then we shall read again after some time not immediately. When you are again much wiser, much more educated then again you will read this and you'll find it much easier.