virus: Socrates

Reed Konsler (
Mon, 3 May 1999 10:24:44 -0400

Socrates didn't worry too much about being hated. He recognized that his fellow citizens were attached to their prejudices and became a lightning rod for their inconsistencies. He stood by his own version of the truth and never asked his fellow citizens to stop making fun of him. He wasn't interested in being different for the sake of difference, but in truth for the sake of truth. He never felt alienated from the society of Athens. He never sought to leave, and choose death over exile.

In the end, he just wanted to keep talking and questioning.

I think everyone is frustrated with the constraints of society. We need rules to feel safe and yet we would rather be free of them when it's convenient. Most of the rules we live by aren't of our own design, and few are ever explained to us.

Even so, I think there is something almost diametrically opposite about how the shooters in Colorado handled that frustration and how Socrates handled it. Socrates had the courage to stand up and question the preconceptions, accepting that doing so would make him a target of hatred. He accepted social disapproval in pursuit of his purpose. He didn't try to hide from it, he didn't pretend it wasn't important, and he didn't strike out at those who opposed him.


  Reed Konsler