Posts Tagged ‘Socrates’

Socrates never claimed to have wisdom but he sought it very keenly. Because he walked about the streets of Athens talking to any one who cared to look for truth was a likely figure of fun. His ungainly figure and simplicity did not strike a casual observer as anything worthwhile. The fact that he never seemed to have visible means of support other than a virago of a wife made him a convenient target for comic poets of his time. Aristophanes who knew Socrates used him in his play The Clouds ( 423 B.C) to represent the new breed of philosophers who doubted the traditional teachings of poets. Unlike the ‘ Socrates’ in the play Socrates did not teach for money. Despite many differences between the real and that of the play the public came to confuse the two.
When the play was staged Socrates was present one evening along with his friends. After the play there was a cry, Socrates, Socrates!. The playgoers went on chanting his name. Socrates was about to get up but Alcibiades advised him not to. The elder said that he saw among those who called out a few who were seekers of truth as he.
“They may be full of Aristophanes now. Here is their opportunity to compare the false with the original.” With that he stood up for all spectators to see.
Twenty four years later when he stood before the court of 501 Athenians he could not convince them that he was not that dishonest and irreverent creature whom they had seen in a comic play.
From whence arises such confusion? The Athenians knew a play from the man. One is a make-believe and the other is real flesh and blood. Even so those who tried him had a problem. Their unconscious mind knew unconsciously,- instinct you call it, as long he lived their position to control the mind of the public was shaky. Here the philosopher was teaching the young never to take anything for granted.’ Question the powers- that-be what makes them curb civil liberties? Under what authority?’These were dangerous times and whoever set man to think was stepping into the unknown. The Establishment feared the unpredictable.
In the mind of the Aristocratic party that wanted war and chaos to keep their position secure, Socrates was the enemy of state. The trial was as they decided already in mind. Unconscious mind the Will made it a necessity to silence Socrates. Only the conscious part of the judges had to supply reason. Thus legally Socrates was found guilty. How can anyone convince another who has unconsciously made up mind to follow his own course? You have to offer him things that he value more than following his own voice. Wordsworth the poet rejected the revolutionary ardor of his youth and became part of the Establishment. Robert Browning’s poem describes it well( see below: The Lost Leader)
Some change and some don’t. Socrates could not change from what he believed as right.
The Lost Leader
Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a ribbon to stick in his coat—
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
Lost all the others she lets us devote;
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!
Rags—were they purple, his heart had been proud!
We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,
Made him our pattern to live and to die!
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,
Burns, Shelley, were with us,—they watch from their graves!
He alone breaks from the van and the freemen,
He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!(excerpt)


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The fruity smell of a banana is on account of a chemical substance, ester. It is distinct from that of a pineapple. Three carbons and six hydrogen in a molecular structure give its distinctive signature. Ethyl caprylate or amyl acetate is created when molecules are compounded in a correct sequence. With it each substance would have acquired its distinct personality or signature smell as well.
A geometrical recognition of molecules among themselves is implied for ester to be distinct from ethyl caprylate. A ‘virtual’ consciousness. Virtual in the sense it is imaginary and yet allowed. If ethyl caprylate is boiled in water, ester falls apart to produce alcohol and caprylate acid. Ester is insoluble in water. If every test follows predictably we must concede these molecules do carry some sort of awareness. A virtual consciousness.
My thoughts wing on the ubiquitous molecules of Cosmos and these are like bottled messages found floating but how I am found (or read) is not known. I know these fill out a profile who and what I am. The least I can do is to be consistent. Ethyl Caprylate is created when molecules compounded in correct sequence. Similarly my thoughts and actions do hint basic characteristics or ‘soul.’
Be not afraid of men who can only kill your body and not your soul. One may kill you in the name of prophet or religion another for the good of the state. They always find reasons for it. What a waste of effort! Killing Socrates or Stephen did not stop their cause. Freedom of thought is still preserved from harm. Stephen was the martyr for the Apostolic Church. Think what a disservice the Church later did when it became organized into a megalith and synonymous with every evil practice? Men cannot touch your soul and it shall speak in your defence or accuse you of selling you for a little pomp and earthly glory.

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Physical eyes look at the world and how they see makes a difference. Eyes looking at the fashions of the world want to be in the swim of things. Physical eye for the physical world. It is a great compromiser while the inner eye is what one directs at the Immensities where no speech is necessary and one is at rest being in the centre of Immensities. More important it is to know oneself as one really is. Prophet Isaiah in his vision saw he was man of corrupt speech and unworthy to speak the message from the Lord.(Is.6:5) A seraph brought a hot coal to clean his unclean lips. He sanctified it. Sanctified in the sense he was separated from his everyday circumstances as a householder and a member of the community,to bring the message God had for his people.
We are to play many roles being part of the society we live in. As writer,artist, Congressman, delivery boy or whatever and we have our own inner lives as well. The public life sometimes can swallow up the vital and better part of us. It is what I call tyranny of the mean over the solid (cf.Wilde)*. Xanthippe terrorized her husband, poor Socrates, justifiably so, for in her eyes he did not bring home the bacon, oil and grapes as she wished. In her eyes he was a good for nothing busybody chatting his life away.( By the way he had served the state as a good citizen and took part in the wars.) Where do you draw a line then? Our lives should be built on the base,- that the seen world is all that we have, and therefore our present lives must be enriched from the depths it rests on. This physical world is the only real for you and for the world around you which is not a small thing. How do you contribute to its increase?
Jesus says.’If thine eye be evil, thy body shall be full of darkness.. ‘Mt.6:23
Being at the centre of Immensity your inner eye is set there for a purpose. You could be renewed if you use your physical eyes and the inner eye properly. So it is smart to view your material world in a better light. Going through life merely as a bystander looking on is discredit to your intelligence. And without benefit.
*‘The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts’.(The Soul of Man Under Socialism-Oscar Wilde)

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There are two kinds of people. Those who love to go with the flow. Then there are those who make a stand for their convictions no matter how contrary and rough the current is. Of the latter I shall cite two. Socrates was one who stood for his convictions. Jesus is another. Mind you what the Greek philosopher stood for and the purpose for which Jesus accepted death were for entirely different reasons. Yet their souls had affixed the shape of Truth in different order. Order of the spirit of man (who didn’t take anything for granted or heresay as true) gave Socrates to accept the verdict of the state however unjust is one. The other order led Jesus to Golgotha because he submitted to a spirit of higher Truth.

It was Thomas Paine who observed that he who has never ruffled anyone with a contrary opinion was a hypocrite. Spirit of the times is gentle and highly seductive to those who have chosen to take the line of least resistance. Such a person may get elected to the highest office but he has sold himself to be hatchet man for the majority.
Soul is kind of representation and Socrates represented every seeker of Truth who wielded reason as a scalpel to remove the flab from Truth which only made it appear as something else.

Spirit of the times is the vector of so many traditions culture and norms that peoples all across the globe may impact on each. But soul of man gives him a special insight and the wherewithal to let his spirit work with the guiding spirit of his times.

Spirit of the times accept Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader; but how he represents to the Tibetans and to the People’s Republic of China holds a difference. Those Tibetans in exile or those who are left behind see him as a reincarnation of the last lama. To the man on the street he someone worthy of respect as a holy man.

To the Tibetans he is the 14th of his line. As a living lama he represents to them the centre that holds their cultural and national identity together. In other words he is a representation of Tibetans.
But soul of Dalai Lama is not borrowed clothes of any lama dead and gone but something that can bear the weight of all those lamas who had gone before him. Even if he chose to live a life differently it validates such a change. Soul is the essence of a living being and no matter how many reincarnations of changes he may undergo in a spiritual creation the soul doesn’t shift. Soul of Dalai Lama is constant.

Soul is this Power of One regardless of changes his body or spirit may experience.


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History is the march of events in a perspective.
History is made in context of something else.
History is made by man on whom other life forms as well as  inanimate objects  can also work. Socrates ended his life drinking hemlock and Cleopatra by a bite of asp are but a few examples. A man like Caesar afflicted with falling sickness might in time lose his judgment and that might hasten his end in an unexpected manner. In short man who makes history can never be seen isolated from his world.
History is made in time and space.
Since history is made by man certain primary impulses in man would always take the steering wheel. Championing the cause of the weak for example. In ancient Rome around 113 BC the Grachii brothers stood for land reforms that would have given land to the veterans who served the republic in wars. Then as now. The vested interests of those who had plenty of land saw to that the brothers were done away with. (ref:note below)
These two brothers were concerned with the underlying injustice of the political system but in a space of decade had to appeal to two different sets of people viz., plebians and publicans. Our basic impulses have to lock in with time and place in order to be relevant.
History is correct timing.
( to be continued)
Note: Historical background
The Gracchi brothers were a pair of tribunes in 2nd century BC who attempted to pass land reform legislation in Ancient Rome that would redistribute the major patrician landholdings among the plebeians.
In 133 BC, two brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, became agents of reform. They were both well connected with the ruling elite and descendants of Scipio Africanus. The political issue was land reform. The small peasant farmer was being pushed off the land by rich landowners.
When Tiberius Gracchus’s proposal came to a vote, masses of rural people, seeing opportunity for economic advancement, entered Rome to support the proposal. In addition, as head of this movement, Tiberius found himself necessarily replacing an opposing tribune already in office. The proposal passed and the situation returned to almost normal, except that Tiberius was going to need re-election to stay in office.

When the day of election arrived Tiberius’s supporters were lacking and, worse, his opponents caused a fight in the assembly and killed Tiberius Gracchus.

Ten years later, Tiberius’s brother, Gaius, took the same office as his brother, as a tribune for the plebeians. Gaius however, appealed to a different set of supporters, the publicans. They were in charge of tax-collecting in Asia and of contracting for construction projects. The equestrian class would get to control a court that tried senators for misconduct in provincial administration. In effect, the equestrians replaced senators already serving at the court. Thus, Gaius became an opponent of senatorial influence.(ack:wikipedia)

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