Military Review

Lunch at the Lounge. Why was Socrates executed in democratic Athens?

At one essay contest about Socrates, an 12-year-old girl won, writing the shortest: “Socrates walked among the people and told them the truth. For this he was killed. Better, perhaps, one cannot say in two words about this barefoot old man, whom the Delphic oracle called the “wisest of mortals”.

He was born in 469 BC. in Athens and died there in 399 BC, after drinking a bowl of juice of a poisonous plant, according to the verdict of the court, hemlock. His father, a poor sculptor-mason, could not give him a decent education, and from where Socrates had gathered his extensive knowledge, admiring contemporaries, is unknown. It is known that in winter and summer he walked in the same clothes, worse than other slaves, often barefoot. But its popularity was such that in 404 BC. The government of 30 and tyrants called him to his service, but he, risking his life, refused outright. He condemned all forms of government: aristocracy, plutocracy, tyranny and democracy — as equally hypocritical and unfair. But he believed that the arbitrariness of one is still better than the arbitrariness of many - and that a citizen is obliged to observe any, even the worst laws of his homeland.

In his youth, he distinguished himself in three military campaigns, carried out a wounded comrade from the battlefield. Entered into the tradition, as a model of stupidity, his wife Xantippus, the union with which the poet Mandelstam noted:

Meets Drunk Socrates
Winged swearing wife.

Perhaps he really often came home tipsy, because he loved most of all, hanging around the city for a long time, to ask everyone who is not too lazy to engage in conversation with him, his famous questions. Well, the conversation and the ancient Greeks was a companion of feasts and wine. For all his life, he did not write a single line, imprinted like Christ, in the retelling of his speeches by his disciples - the main thing is Plato and Xenophon.

Socrates is considered the founder of dialectics and the first who deeply dug up the question of entities - common concepts for different things. For example, what is in itself “beautiful”, “bad”, “useful” and so on. But he himself, the master of figurative and tenacious speech, did not formulate his philosophical task. But as a wanderer drawn by some guiding goal, he tortured everyone with seemingly ingenious, but gradually insidious, even questions, sometimes filled with sarcastic irony. The more arrogant and self-confident the interlocutor was, the more mercilessly furnished Socrates - and, having pushed into a dead end, he still seemed to recollect: yes, I myself am such a fool that I completely misled a man!

But behind this seemingly ridiculous thing lay the method of Socrates, immortalized, which he compared with the hassle of a midwife who helps a woman in labor. And the purpose of these troubles was to get rid of the chaos of the contradictions and thoughtlessness of what Socrates put above all in life - the truth.

But what great truth did he bring to light? Yes, no - except the only one that never got tired of repeating: that he knows only that which knows nothing. And this is only different from the ignorant, who also know nothing, but think that everyone knows.

Why, then, was he so revered during his life - and was posthumously erected almost in the forefathers of the science of philosophy? Formally, for his dialectic method, later formalized in the theory of "unity and struggle of opposites." But in essence - for the image of a thinker embodied by him, who has the courage to go beyond the limits of everything driven, in order to comprehend with the power of his mind a mysterious, bottomless world - first of all the human world. His fierce passion impartially and meticulously judging everything in the world did not bypass either the most simple-looking, “children's” questions - not the most paradoxical and even taboo: about the essence of gods and power. He may be the first of all thinkers to bring such a view into the system that truth is not a certain God-given absolute, but a set of contradictory and even mutually exclusive at first glance sides.

Here he, for example, starting from the most trivial, is trying to establish the essence of such a concept as courage: “Does courage,” he asks the interlocutor, “not to leave the battlefield first?” - “Of course.” - “Is it cowardice to flee from the enemy?” “Of course.” - “And if a warrior escaped with cunning and with its help defeated the enemy?” Then the interlocutor was already somewhat confused: how could he have missed such a trick? And further from question to question, as if stripping a leaf after leaf of a head of cabbage, sifting away any false or even inaccurate judgment, Socrates strives to the core - and what does it come to? Most often, there is no definitive answer. But the powerful mind of an insistent vagabond as if pushed through us through all the contradictions of the subject, infected us with the feeling that this tearing through the outer foliage is the way to the truth. It is only necessary, as it were, he constantly instills, fearlessly, without blinking, looking into the eyes of truth — or darkness, in the absence of sufficient light.

Like others, there is an absolute ear for music, he has an absolute ear for every untruth. And his statement about his own ignorance was most likely neither a deliberate paradox, nor coquetry. It seems that he had in his heart some kind of ineffable image of truth, realizing that in the modern world he does not have the opportunity to speak it. Therefore, mainly tirelessly swept away all that was untruthful - and there are much more negatives in his conversations than statements.

From here, apparently, two of his most mysterious confessions for his contemporaries, for which he paid in the end with his head, also originate. One thing is that for some time a certain inner voice or “demon” has settled in it, who has never said what to do, but said what should not be done. But the second is the most seditious. Reflecting on the subject of the many gods of the time, he suspected that they did not act on their own, but behind them was a certain manager of their actions, the archibog.

But with all this he strictly kept and some positive principles. All the same, probably, the inner feeling that broke all the patterns of abstract judgment, forced him to build civil virtue into a higher human quality. And surprisingly echoing again with Christ, he, for 4 century before Christ, spoke one of the main guidelines of the future God-man - that it is much better for everyone to tolerate evil than to create it. But along the way he fell into some kind of insanity for the sage - considering that if people understand what is good, only he will be followed!

Civic duty, he steadfastly performed not only in war. The citizens remembered his principledness in the post of pritan - a member of the council of Pritania, an institution that sent imperious and ritual functions. In Pritaney they were still treated to an exquisite dinner at public expense by the heroes who distinguished themselves in favor of the fatherland - for example, the winners at the Olympic Games. And when someone was convicted of execution, unfairly in the opinion of Socrates, he was one of all 50 and fellow pritans loudly opposed.

But even to a modern child it is probably already clear that sooner or later this registrant with his indomitable word and mind should not be happy. For aristocrats, he was a provocative commoner, mercilessly beating up public education in big debates. For the Democrats, they are scaring away their catch and tearing down their whistleblowers. Someone even compared it with an electric stingray, which with its blow deprives the language of any debater. Someone else was scared by his great criticism and complete detachment of judgment ...

But since even the 30 tyrants did not dare to openly pursue him for refusing to serve them, the Democrats who replaced them brought a secret intrigue against him. It is believed that the sophists put his hand to it, whom he ridiculed for aimless verbal juggling. But then fashion arose on them, they gave costly lessons to noble young men - and Socrates, who taught everyone for free, also undermined their business.

The famous comedian Aristophanes played a bad role in his fate. Belonging to the conservative party of agrarians, he did not distinguish between Socrates and the sophists: both of them were for him free thinkers who trampled on holy antiquity. In the comedy “Clouds”, he derived Socrates just in the image of a sophist who sits like an owl in his “thinking” and teaches young people not to pay taxes and spit on their elders.

As a result, the “group of comrades” of the Democrats, led by a certain Anit, brought Socrates to trial on the fabricated accusation, as they say now. He was charged with the corruption of youth, the denial of the gods of the fathers and the introduction of a new deity - "firing" then the article. True, in Athens, which was proud of its enlightenment, it was practically not used - and the trial of Socrates was thought rather as a sham, with the aim of only shortening it, but not depriving it of life. But old Socrates, a military veteran who did not worship the former 30 tyrants, did not allow himself to be put in a clown role.

When he was given the floor in court, he, usually quite modest in self-assessments, changed his rule and said something like the following. Everything that was said here against me is a lie. And even though everyone knows that I can outshine anyone with eloquence, today I will not resort to it and say one truth. And it is that if there is an impeccable citizen in Athens, it is Socrates, the hero of three wars, the servant of the fatherland and truth, not a debaucher, but an educator of the best husbands, whose names everyone knows. And if you want to hear according to custom, which I myself consider worthy of my deeds, this is lunch at Pritania. Especially since I need it more than the winners of the Olympiad: they do not need food, but I need it.

The judges, who were awaiting requests to replace the death penalty with exile, or at least repentance, became enraged by such bold reprimand - and contrary to their original plan, they condemned Socrates to death.

It was an unprecedented sentence: in Athens, no one has yet been punished so strictly for expressive words. And when the first rage of the judges was asleep, they decided to correct another one of their meanness - telling friends of Socrates that if he wanted to run out of custody, they would not interfere. Plato's “Criton” dialogue is devoted to this nasty business. Criton, a student of Socrates, was sent to persuade his teacher to escape, to which rich citizens even made their club. But Socrates, who did not flee from the enemy, responded to Crito’s argument that the most worthy of the Athenians should not be executed, so.

All my life I have been preaching law-abiding, and can I now allow people to say that it was only hypocrisy that came to light, as soon as the matter touched my life? Would my children be better off if I disgrace in a foreign land? I am already old, still die soon, so it is better to die with honor! Premonition tells me that my judges will be punished by rock, and my name will be in glory.

It is still widely sold in Athens and in centuries such a detail. Another student of Socrates, Apollodorus, came to say farewell to the teacher, bitterly lamented: “It is especially hard for me, Socrates, because you are unjustly convicted!” To which Socrates replied: “Would it be easier for you if I were convicted fairly?”

His last desire was to wash himself before he died, so that later he would not have to mess around with others. He drank a cup of poison, a bowl of poison, lay down and died. The Athenians, who until the very end did not believe in the execution of Socrates, retroactively came to such anger against his accusers, that those in fear fled from Athens - thus confirming the philosopher's last death prophecy ...

It is indicative that Christianity, which was rather badly attributed to the ancient pagan world, singled out from it Socrates as a forerunner of Christ - for the conjecture of that archibog. And in early Christian churches, Socrates was even depicted on icons.

But why all the same, if you turn away from the details, was this rattling righteous man killed? I think that he himself answered best of all with his dialectical message. Such personalities, who served posthumously the glory of their peoples, during their lifetime it was their perfection that came into conflict with the government, composed in one way or another of the imperfect majority. And therefore on such beacons as Socrates, Christ, Giordano Bruno, the proto-priest Avvakum there were always such treasurers as the Athenian court, the Sanhedrin, the holy inquisition, the Russian Orthodox Church. Moreover, the latter executed those convicted by them in the name of the executed Christ.

The dialectic of Socrates, gone beyond the framework of his time, perhaps explains this inexplicable paradox now. The brutal Stalinist regime gave birth to the cult of personality in us - when powerful figures were unimaginable now. Composers Prokofiev and Shostakovich, writers Sholokhov, Bulgakov and Pasternak, designers Tupolev, Yakovlev, Ilyushin, Lavochkin; scientists Kapitsa, Landau, Kurchatov - and the list goes on and on. According to the current metaphysical interpretation, all of them occurred “contrary to” - but for some reason nothing like this happens in our “free” and good time. It does not smell like the accomplishments of that “bad” pore, and the last fragments of that great “in spite of” -industry - Tu-204 and Il-96 - are ditched thanks to the current “thanks”.

In other words, our “freedom”, paradoxically, but caught by Socrates, turned into the Athenian court, the Sanhedrin and the Inquisition combined. In the embryo, this circular clip killed the entire creative urge, once again proving the Socratic message: that the view from the outside could be the complete opposite of the essence hidden under it.

During the tyranny, Socrates survived, and under the Democrats he was executed - and with his whole life and death gave us an opportunity to think about the paradoxes of being on his own skin for the 24 centuries ago!
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  1. saag
    saag 13 January 2014 08: 33
    life contrary, interesting conclusion
  2. Christian
    Christian 13 January 2014 08: 41
    Firstly, it is not necessary to put the Lord Jesus Christ on a par with ordinary mortals. Secondly, the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike Catholics, did not deal with executions. Thirdly, all of today's global "post-industrial civilization" leads to the unification of both peoples and religions. (ecumenism), way of life, and (as a result) - depersonalization and degradation of the Human Personality.
    1. Ingvar 72
      Ingvar 72 13 January 2014 09: 10
      Quote: Christian
      Put +, but I agree only with the third paragraph. As for the attitude to Jesus, this is a personal matter for everyone. In matters of Faith, you will not be forcibly sweet. And the ROC was engaged in executions, declaring the Old Believers and Old Believers, heretics and pagans. On a smaller scale, unlike Catholics, but still.
      Plato is my friend, but truth is dearer
    2. 13 January 2014 18: 22
      Quote: Christian
      Secondly, the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike

      So read at least TEN times the creed.
      Protopope Habakkuk, too, aren't you?
  3. makarov
    makarov 13 January 2014 08: 44
    "But what great truth did he bring to light? Yes, none - except for the only one, which he never tired of repeating: that he knows only that he knows nothing. And this only differs from the ignorant, who also know nothing, but think that everybody knows."

    And let it be instructive for modern experts in the debate.
    Material +++
    1. luka095
      luka095 13 January 2014 23: 37
      Well said.
  4. Valery Neonov
    Valery Neonov 13 January 2014 08: 46
    ... a "group of comrades" of the Democrats ... - and there normal people from democrats were not at rest.
    1. major071
      major071 13 January 2014 08: 59
      The Greeks came up with democracy. Well, it’s always warm there, everything grows, you can not work, but walk with bare jo (n) oh and engage in boltology. Apparently from those times it went: Who does not work - that democrat. laughing
    2. zart_arn
      zart_arn 13 January 2014 09: 10
      and there were no normal people from democrats

      Yes, not from the democrats, but from the statist-bureaucrats. We also sometimes confuse these concepts. It is thanks to democracy, i.e. participation in the management of society by every citizen, without exception, the great Greek civilization was formed - the prototype of the entire current European civilization, including Russian. Even the so-called tyranny was introduced by direct decision of the citizens. So let's learn democracy, i.e. active participation in the management of society. Without this, we will be empty-headed on the forums, scolding the "shitcrats", "communists", "homosexuals", "liberals", but not ourselves.
      1. SPLV
        SPLV 13 January 2014 16: 54
        Of course, let's study! Just do not forget that the great ancient civilization was based on a slave system! And that modern democracy, which has gotten your head on, has basically the same thing (only the bulk of the slaves live on more than one continent with their masters). Or did you also want to get some souls in the property? I hope no.
        No need to learn democracy. This social system has managed to repeatedly compromise itself over the centuries. Moreover, democracy was adapted to the needs of City-states, and not the state in the modern sense. And we can recall yet another, different, ancient Greek, who attributed "democracy" to the worst types of state power.
        And, tell me, why follow the dogmas of more than two thousand years ago, looking at the "developed" countries, totally in crisis.
        As they say, Plato is my friend, but the truth is more expensive. And the greatness of Socrates did not depend on the Democrats. In any state system, no one bothers being a patriot or being true to his word. Only you have to pay a price for it. For some it’s money, for someone it’s power, for someone it’s life.
        Thank you.
  5. jjj
    jjj 13 January 2014 08: 48
    Yes, the horses somehow mixed up in a pile, people
  6. vasiliysxx
    vasiliysxx 13 January 2014 08: 55
    It can be seen that the democrats got so sick that they did not refuse poison, but the tolerasts sentenced.
  7. Uncle lee
    Uncle lee 13 January 2014 09: 03
    The author drew interesting parallels ... They make you think
  8. kind
    kind 13 January 2014 09: 08
    Socrates survived under tyranny, and was executed under democrats

    In the case of Serdyukov, the opposite is true.
  9. demotivator
    demotivator 13 January 2014 09: 10
    Thanks to Roslyakov for the article! Since ancient times, fellow citizens have been unwilling to live by the laws of crook thieves! Socrates was a half-slave citizen in Athens, and was the first to disagree with the laws of shitty democracy of slave-exploiter!
    He didn’t even dream about socialism! Centuries have passed and the search for Socrates' Truth in 1917 ended with the birth of the first proletarian state of the USSR and the construction of SOCIALISM for the working-class proletarians! In the coming years there will be 100 years since the birth in RUSSIA of real for the working people of SOCIALISM! The first experiment to realize the dream of a bright life for workers in the USSR ended with the illegitimate seizure of SOCIALISM thieves legalized into the elite of the traitors of the working people of the Soviet Union!
    The brutal Stalinist regime created precisely the cult of personality in us - when there were now unimaginable numbers of powerful personalities. Composers Prokofiev and Shostakovich, writers Sholokhov, Bulgakov and Pasternak, designers Tupolev, Yakovlev, Ilyushin, Lavochkin; scientists Kapitsa, Landau, Kurchatov - and the list goes on and on.

    We have been living in conditions of "democracy" for two decades already, but where are the persons comparable to those indicated? Around there are only boring figures of roguish moneybags-oligarchs, and a pop cock-house, where all these Kirkorovs-varums-Orbakaite “live”. And these are all "achievements of democracy"? Not enough for a great country.
    1. 123dv
      123dv 13 January 2014 09: 38
      Quote: demotivator
      yes pop cockerel

      And you noticed that the so-called blue light became noticeably bluer.
      I immediately turned it off so that I wouldn’t feel sick ...
      1. alone
        alone 13 January 2014 20: 14
        Quote: 123dv
        And you noticed that the so-called the blue light became noticeably bluer.
        I immediately turned it off so that I wouldn’t feel sick ...

        laughing And I thought that it was only me who noticed))
        1. Not hearing
          Not hearing 13 January 2014 21: 48
          Quote: lonely
          Socrates was a semi-slave citizen

          It’s like a bourgeois proletarian.
          Socrates was born into a legal marriage and therefore was a full-fledged citizen of Athens, with all the ensuing rights. By the way, he had the right to take his property and move where he wishes (and there were such proposals). Given the fact that he was executed at 70 in Athens, it turns out that before the trial he was generally happy with everything.
  10. vladsolo56
    vladsolo56 13 January 2014 09: 42
    Well, Socrates is right a thousand times right, democracy is the worst form of government. People lie that they choose power, and people believe.
    1. Selendis
      Selendis 13 January 2014 10: 31
      Quote: vladsolo56
      Well, Socrates is right a thousand times right, democracy is the worst form of government. People lie that they choose power, and people believe.

      Guys, what if you look at the good old truth? “From ancient times,“ top management managers ”understood that the best slave is the one who does not understand that he is a slave, and even enjoys his chains. So that the slave does not run away, he is chained to the gallery, and in order to work well, they put an overseer and pay him for it. But labor productivity is still low. How to make the slave work for me with songs? We must give him what he wants. What does a slave want? The slave wants freedom. But freedom cannot be given to him, otherwise he will cease to be a slave. You can give the illusion of freedom. It was developed in ancient times and was realized through faith: “There is no happiness for man on earth. Happiness is only after death. And if you, the servant of God, will behave well in this earthly life, obey your masters (all power is from God!), Then when you die, you will be happy in heaven "
      Maybe someone, besides me, still believes that little has changed since then ... Unless for many now the faith is an illusion of freedom, everyone finds his own illusion.
      1. SPLV
        SPLV 13 January 2014 16: 59
        +! The shortest exposition of European history and philosophy over the last 2500 years that I have ever met.
  11. dickest
    dickest 13 January 2014 09: 46
    Hmm, I did not know much. In the university they study only boring things like entities and matters. Thank!
    1. SPLV
      SPLV 13 January 2014 17: 09
      Sorry, but learning a subject depends on two factors: 1. from the teacher and his relationship to his subject; 2. from the student and his circle of interests. Most likely, you simply were not lucky with a teacher who could not arouse interest in your subject. I consider that I was more fortunate: humanitarian disciplines were taught with dignity in our technical university.
  12. individual
    individual 13 January 2014 09: 46
    From the publication we conclude that philosophy is a science that, "knows nothing, but everyone thinks that he knows everything."
  13. Stinger
    Stinger 13 January 2014 09: 52
    believed that the arbitrariness of one is still better than the arbitrariness of many - and that a citizen is obliged to comply with any, even the worst, laws of his homeland.

    I thought correctly. Many hypocrites are worse than one hypocrite. In a "democracy," licentiousness is taken for freedom. And this, in the end, permeates society so much that it becomes unbearable and a dictator appears who will restore order. This has been the case from ancient times to the present day.
    1. Shadowcat
      Shadowcat 13 January 2014 13: 51
      I would say that one seasoned wolf is better than a pack of flea mongrel.
  14. dropout
    dropout 13 January 2014 17: 13
    Socratic promise: that the view from the outside can be the exact opposite of the essence hidden beneath it.

    Appearance is deceiving, said the hedgehog, getting off the clothes brush.

    Probably also a philosopher.
  15. wow
    wow 13 January 2014 20: 26
    Great was the man this old Greek Socrates !!! For a long time and with such pleasure I did not read articles and comments on them. THANKS a lot to the author !!!
  16. Not hearing
    Not hearing 13 January 2014 22: 18
    Socrates was condemned by the citizens of Athens themselves. This court consisted of 501 people, 30 votes were not enough for the acquittal (281 versus 220). In the practice of legal proceedings of the Greek policies, it was accepted that the accused himself should offer himself the measure of punishment that he deserves in his own eyes. This right, granted to the defendant, not being a formal appeal, made it possible to mitigate the punishment. It testifies to the humanity of the proceedings of the Athenians. The jury chose between two (proposed by the prosecutor and the accused) measures. The third option was excluded.
    Instead of imposing some kind of punishment, Socrates proposed something completely unexpected for the court.
    He said that for him, a well-deserved man, but poor, in need of leisure for the edification of his fellow citizens, “there is nothing more suitable than a dinner in Prtanya!” , that is, the opportunity to receive lunch on a public account as a sign of honor and special merits to the State.
    This shocked the court. The next vote took place and he was sentenced to death. The jury passed his death sentence by a majority of 80 votes.
    They do not like citizens who are especially smart. I remember - And he put on his hat!
  17. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 14 January 2014 12: 20
    "He drank like a healthy goblet, a bowl of poison, lay down and died"
    This is not entirely true. A drink from the tsikuta, which was executed in Athens, was poorly absorbed. Therefore, to achieve an early result, it was necessary to show some kind of physical activity. So Socrates walked, and uttered some of his reasoning. True, as far as I know, the last speech was not preserved either.
  18. mixbigs
    mixbigs 15 January 2014 22: 16
    The pattern is traceable to the old. So we take a very famous person, a little history, confused reasoning,
    and at the end, bam, and the Russian Orthodox Church (it was necessary to come up with the Russian Orthodox Church, so-called, supposedly for short)
    is on a par with the Inquisition. This is the purpose of the article. I'm not talking about comparing God
    with a person in the person of Socrates. After such a comparison, you can move on, but then later, next time,
    In the meantime, the grain has been sown.
    Well, a couple of atheistic comments. The work is done. Descendants of the executed Socrates
    feel satisfied.
  19. Refueling Strategic Missile Tanker
    Refueling Strategic Missile Tanker 18 January 2014 11: 35
    Since the conversation has begun about the glorious sons of Hellas, passing into a cry for the glorious sons of Russia. I will say a few words are not affectionate to the surrounding reality and the site specifically.

    The great Archimedes used to say - "Give me a fulcrum and I will turn the Earth!"

    The most worthy of Russians writes to all Russian media outlets - "Give me time on the screen, and I will turn the science of the whole world"

    The site moderator is advised to rummage through the archives and understand that the site was offered a worldwide sensation FOR MONEY.

    Since I'm --- tired of writing in a democratic vacuum. If this site sends an email address, it will receive an article and a video. Which will prove the total stupidity of state officials and inquisitive pensioners. This is what I call all those who denied UFOology. Now such certified "specialists" will be the object of caustic ridicule.

    The last DOWN + DEBIL will understand that this science of UFOlogy will be interconnected with PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS and other disciplines, for example ---- JURISPRUDENCE, as well as TECHNOLOGIES of production.

    The era of militant materialism in the world ended on April 2, 2009. And I will prove it with reason.

    I am waiting for the address from the site. Send a message in the usual form - ABSOLUTELY USELESS.