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May 30, 2022 1 min read

Socrates-meme-youth-of-athens

This meme really cracks me up everytime I see it. Socrates was accused and eventually sentenced to death for the following - very vaguely worded - crimes: "rejection of the gods recognized by the state," "introduction of new deities," and the "seduction (in the moral sense) of youth." This generally refers to his rejection of authority, which he had repeatedly tried to put into perspective through his "Socratic dialogue" with the citizens of Athens.

According to the verdict, the jurors were to decide on an appropriate punishment. Socrates' accusers argued for the death penalty. Socrates himself, on the other hand, argued - with little thoughtful sarcasm - that he should be rewarded for his actions. After brief consideration, he proposed a small fine instead.

According to Athenian law, the death penalty was carried out with a cup of poisonous hemlock. Hemlock is a deadly plant that causes the victim to commit a kind of forced suicide. We can read about the process in Plato's work "Apology". In Plato's work "Phaidon", as an eyewitness to a group of listeners, he describes the events of the day of death, which the condemned man spent in prison in the company of friends. The main part of his account is the complete reproduction of a philosophical discussion that Socrates had. Well known from it is the discussion about the immortality of the human soul.


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