Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On Socrates

There is a reason I picked The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David (1787) as my image. Although he never wrote anything himself, I believe that Socrates is one of the most important and influential figures in the history of human civilization.

Socrates was, from the accounts we still have, a short, portly, unattractive man. He walked barefoot at all times and rarely bathed or washed his clothes. However, he dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth -- truth that could only be arrived at through honest, critical analysis of your perceptions and beliefs. While this pursuit did not endear him to the more prominent citizens of Athens, who were often played for the fool in debate with Socrates, it attracted many dedicated students, Plato the best-known among them. The Socratic method still provides the basis for scholarship in the modern world.

In a world that demands life be lived at dizzying speed with neverending instant gratification, we stop doing the thing that makes us human -- THINKING. We're losing touch with Socrates and his command for critically analying ourselves -- "The unexamined life is not worth living." My hope is that this blog provides a small space for reflection and analysis.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I refer to the local news as the "Death and Crime Report". I refer to the cable news channels as "Madness".

I honestly don't think the cable 'talking heads'or the politicians could have a discussion that could remotely be classified as critical thinking/reasoning.

"I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face on your T.V.
I'm the cult of personality
I exploit you, still you love me"

Keep on, keeping on, Mr. Fringe.