Plato’s Apology is the story of the trial of Socrates, the charges brought against him and his maintaining of his own innocence throughout the process. At the onset of the trial, Socrates appears to challenging the charges, which included corrupting the youth, challenging belief in the gods that were accepted and reveled by the State, and introducing a new religious focus, but also belittles his own significance and suggesting that he will not attempt to disprove that he participated in the actions maintained by the court. In essence, Socrates appears almost self-effacing, and his defense surprises even his accuser, Meletus. But by the end of the Apology, Socrates becomes almost a different person, demonstrating his own value while refusing to beg for forgiveness even to save his own life. This view of Socrates presented by Plato demonstrates the difference between a man accused and a man condemned, and in the end, Socrates has nothing to lose by providing instruction to the people through his remarks.
At the onset of the trial, Socrates recognizes that the primary reason for the accusations are not that he himself did not have value or that he was instructing students in a way that had not happened in the past, but that circumstances surrounding the trial had led to the perception that men like Socrates were challenging the standards of government. Though Socrates suggests that his value for the State was unending through out the process, the fact that his teachings asked the youth to explore their values, their systems of thought, and to question authority was a significant problem for a sometimes wavering State. I think that it was right of Socrates to encourage the youth to think for th...
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...h others can begin to understand his wisdom.
Socrates suggests that if death is a journey where all must go, then he will simply take that journey, and at the end, spend his time assisting others in examining their lives. Socrates suggests not only that he accepts the outcome, but also that he himself will welcome the chance to do in death what he was condemned for in life.
The completion of this sort of “examination” on the part of the few or the many is not possible. If a person or nation is to grow and move forward the process of self-examination will never be complete. The journey of “examination” in itself could provide the insight needed to make significant changes in today’s moral and political thinking. I think that Socrates “examination” leads to a scale of Christian ethical values that the United States and much of the world today is lacking.
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