Socrates was a fascinating yet exasperating philosopher who influenced many Western thinkers of today. Socrates unusual methods of his time made him a philosophical martyr. Today Socrates methods and philosophies are used almost on an everyday basis by most people in the world. Socrates helped to shape our modern everyday values. Socrates was born (470BC) and lived in Athens, Greece for all of his life. Athens was filled with several sophers, traveling teachers who taught for money. Athens was a beautiful city with buildings covered in gold. In Socrates’s time, he saw many of the gorgeous buildings such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon The center of the city or the agora was where one could most often find Socrates. It was here that he taught his philosophies. Socrates was described as ugly. He was potbellied with large bulging eyes and a snub nose. Anyone who knew him knew that inside he was “perfectly delightful.” Socrates considered himself a “philo-sopher,” or one who loves wisdom.
He thought he was different from other philosophers of his time, according to him most bragged about how much they knew about their particular subject, when in fact they knew very little. Knowing this, Socrates considered himself a true philosopher- one who knows they know little about life and is troubled by knowing that. In 399 BC, Socrates was convicted of “introducing new gods and corrupting the youth.” When Socrates was given the choice to leave Athens or to be put to death Socrates chose to stick with his values that cost him his life. Socrates is portrayed mostly through Plato, one of his students. Most people know that who Socrates was is rather unimportant- it was his philosophies that inspired most Western world thinkers for nearly 2,400 years.
Socrates’s methods are quite confusing yet their concept is rather simple and his philosophies are still used today. Socrates simply put on a facade or feign of ignorance of not wanting to teach people. He often began his conversations with questions to make one think he was ignorant or knew nothing. To prove his point he would make the person he was conversing with realize the weakness of their argument and then thoroughly convince them of what was right and wrong. Socrates firmly believed that “he who knows what is good will do good” and that one only does wrong because he does not know any better. He simply believed that one can not live a happy life if one continues to do wrong things such as lie and cheat. In other words, Socrates philosophy was just to follow your conscience.
Socrates methods and purpose clearly are extremely effective. One can not go wrong by following their conscience. Many people use the Socratic method in everyday life including me. I, myself, have used the Socratic method several times in my life, practically on a day to day basis. There was one instance when I was trying to decide whether or not I should ditch my friend who I had made plans with and to go do something more exciting with someone else. I used the Socratic method to help me decide what to do.
My conscience told me that I had already made plans with my friend and that I couldn’t just ditch her because that would hurt her. I felt bad about declining the other person though. Eventually, I decided to tell both friends my dilemma and I ended up winning both ways. I hung out with both of my friends and did something more exciting. Looking back to analyze the effectiveness, I realized that if I had lied to my friend we could have ended the relationship due to my insensitivity, which proves Socrates idea- one can not live a happy life if one continues to do wrong things. In conclusion, Socrates was a superior thinker who was ahead of his time. He believed in a simple concept that changed the way people live today.