Re: virus: Looking for blame in all the wrong places
Mon, 3 May 1999 00:34:28 EDT

> > In a message dated 5/2/99 2:37:36 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> >
> > writes:
> >
> > > Socrates was offered the choice of exile or hemlock. He
> > chose the poison.
> > > Which factor do you think is most to blame for the
> > Socratic tragedy?
> > >
> > > Radical Greek philosophical notions promoted extremist beliefs.
> > > Violent arguments about the nature of society leads to
> > more widespread
> > > violence
> > > His parents failed him by not taking responsibility for him.
> > > Experimental theatre promoted anti-social behavior.
> > > Poison was just to easy to find.
> > >
> > > No! No! No! A thousand times no! The reason we respect him
> > today is that he
> > > committed suicide because it was the only ethical protest
> > he could make in
> > a
> > > society that forbade other forms of protest.
> >
> > >From what I have read, Socrates had recourse to public platform and
> > opportunity for moral suasion during his defense and as I
> > recall it was
> > weak, suggesting as you and other scholars imply suicide was
> > a deliberate
> > choice. Are you also implying it was a political act? If so,
> > was he a
> > pacifist? It seems that in exile he would have had opportunity to act
> > politically more effectively. If it was a matter strictly of
> > ethics, right
> > and wrong, his act was a surrender. It seems ironic that his
> > pupils were able
> > to use his methods to their own ends ( revolt and power being
> > an extremee
> > form of protest ) yet Socrates himself failed.
> >
> > I hope I have not infected anyone in this my first posting to
> > this list.
> >
> > Irena
> > >
> >
> Welcome to the list. How could you offend? Even if we are all gods, or if
> are all the gods there are (which is not that different).

If? You mean there is some doubt?
> Socrates was executed for "Corrupting the youth", "making the weaker
> argument stronger" and "offending the gods". He chose consistency over
> survival. Any other choice would have been unethical. Making it a strongly
> ethical decision.

I am inclined to agree it was an ethical decision, if simply from the point that it *was * a decision and that being so is choice and that is ethics.

That is why his greatness is still recognized today. I
> doubt that it could be considered a political act, and Athens was a city of
> immense turmoil. I doubt that anything his "pupils" did in a political
> could be construed as deriving from his teachings.

My recollection is vague, but I seem to recall one or two of his former pupils using his methods of rehtoric to acheive power in Athens. Also seems to me Socrates was a supporter of the Spartan way and was suspected of undermining Athenian way, thus "corrupting" the youth.
> Just as I disagreed with the two young men who shot up Littleton, I
> fundamentally with Socrates, and yet I fail to see the difference in
> motivation between Socrates and Harris and Klebold. Bear in mind as you
> this that Socrates was 70 years old, had already lived a full life and did
> not wish to live in exile. I think he sought death as an affirmation of his
> life. Placing principle before self. This is frequently cause for
> yet even more frequently cause for tragedy (if anyone can tell the
> difference). As it was in Colarado.

I think you make a good point, in that the action in Colorado was in some way an expression of conviction however limited or false it may have been.

I have tried to summarize what I
> consider to be the relevant concepts from the trial of Socrates below. (You
> can read the full trial at )