Despite his contributions to the foundations of philosophy as we have known today, it is a cruel irony that at 70 years old, Socrates was convicted to death for allegedly corrupting the youth’s minds. He was also convicted for not believing in the gods of the state and for speaking with contempt to the high ranking officials of his time (Ober “Gadfly on Trial” 2). The accounts of his trials were written by his avid and equally popular student Plato in Apology (Colaiaco 17). In Apology, he quoted:
For if you kill me you will not easily find another like me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by the god; and the state is like a great ...view middle of the document...
For him, his questionings is like a service for the people. This is demonstrated by the lines in his passage:
I am that gadfly which god has given the state and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you.
Socrates sees himself as a catalyst whose purpose is to formulate questions to irritate a person’s minds. Socrates understands that this is the foundation of progress and change. He asked questions and attempted to find answers for them; questions that lead to another questions; questions that probably made the citizens annoyed of him; questions that reduced the nobles and the most powerful into blubbering idiots (Ober “Socrates” 11).
Socrates said further:
I daresay that you may feel irritated at being suddenly awakened when you are caught napping… then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives unless God in his care of you gives you another gadfly.
This statement means that Socrates also served as a critique to those who are in power and pointed out their mistakes. Of course when someone does that to people with power, they will go mad at you, hence he was condemned to prison. However, he reminded the people that if they do not want him to point out their mistakes, then they will never realize that there is something wrong with the system. And therefore, we will not be able to adjust the world into something more that is more just and something more human.
For me, Socrates is truly God’s precious gift. It is difficult to find someone with a mind as inquisitive as he is and someone who is willing to swim against the current, someone who willingly...