Socrates versus Nelson Mandela Essays

Socrates versus Nelson Mandela Essays

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As an Athenian philosopher, Socrates spent his life in constant pursuit of insight. He loved engaging in conversations that helped him derive philosophical views on a number of different issues. The birth of ideas through critical reasoning can be credited back to his method of teaching, which is now known as the Socratic Method. Although widely respected today, many of his teachings were found controversial in Athenian times. Socrates was placed on trial and put to death soon after because of the disapproval of his ideas.
Even with the anticipation of death linguring in his path, Socrates remained composed and curious. During his defense, he made it clear that death was nothing to fear, but rather an accepted inevitability of life. “Those of us who think that death is an evil are in error”(Plato, 39). Instead of viewing his sentence as a burden, Socrates regarded it as a potential opportunity. If death was the soul's journey to another place, the possibilities could be endless. He could obtain a considerable amount of knowledge by conversing with those who had already passed on. He could discuss virtue with victims who had also suffered death through injustice. Socrates would be able to reveal his philosophical views without having to fear for his life, which to him could be the greatest gift attainable. His uncertainty of death left him with one other view, if not a journey, then death was simply a state of nothingness. It would be an eternal resting period free of any and all disturbances, like a peaceful sleep where even dreams were absent. As Socrates saw it, either alternative was just an advancement of the soul and nothing to be uneasy over.
Socrates spent time carefully challenging the true meaning of...


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...ad the right to learn, it was the soul’s most admirable gift, in which he could place no price on. Mandela deemed an education important as well. In fighting against the apartheid, he hoped that people of all colors and social classes could have equality in education. Mandela wrote, “Education is the great engine of personal development (Mandela, 166).” He believed it was the only cure for poverty and ignorance.
“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions,” this famous line quoted by Lillian Hellman depicts the outlook of Socrates and Nelson Mandela. Even after being accused of some form of treason and being subjected to the punishment of losing their lives, neither man chose to conform to the basis of their authority. They had already carefully conceived their notions, and were not ready to mold them to fit someone else’s standards.

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