Monthly Archives: August 2013

Socrates in His Own Defense; Virtue versus Posessions

Greek philosopher Socrates chose to die rather than cease teaching his philosophy, declaring that “no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.” In 399 BC Socrates was accused and convicted of impiety and moral corruption of the youth of Athens, Greece. At his trial, he presented a justification of his life. The substance of his speech was recorded by Greek philosopher Plato, a disciple of Socrates, in Plato’s Apology.

Thou doest wrong to think that a man of any use at all is to weigh the risk of life or death, and not to consider one thing only, whether when he acts he does the right thing or the wrong, performs the deeds of a good man or a bad…

If I should be found to be wiser than the multitude, it would be in this, that having no adequate knowledge of the Beyond, I do not presume that I have it. But one thing I do know, and that is that to do injustice or turn my back on the better is alike an evil and a disgrace. And never shall I fear a possible good, rather than avoid a certain evil … If you say to me, ‘Socrates, Anytus [one of Socrates’s prosecutors] fails to convince us, we let you go on condition that you no longer spend your life in this search, and that you give up philosophy, but if you are caught at it again you must die’—my reply is ‘Men of Athens, I honour and love you, but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I breathe, and have the strength, I shall never turn from philosophy, nor from warning and admonishing any of you I come across not to disgrace your citizenship of a great city renowned for its wisdom and strength, by giving your thought to reaping the largest possible harvest of wealth and honour and glory, and giving neither thought nor care that you may reach the best in judgement, truth, and the soul’…

So God bids, and I consider that never has a greater good been done you, than through my ministry in the city. For it is my one business to go about to persuade young and old alike not to make their bodies and their riches their first and their engrossing care, but rather to give it to the perfecting of their soul. Virtue springs not from possessions, but from virtue springs possessions and all other human blessings, whether for the individual or for society. If that is to corrupt the youth, then it is mischievous. But that and nothing else is my offending, and he lies who says else. Further I would say, O Athenians, you can believe Anytus or not, you may acquit or not, but I shall not alter my conduct, no, not if I have to die a score of deaths.

You can assure yourselves of this that, being what I say, if you put me to death, you will not be doing greater injury to me than to yourselves. To do me wrong is beyond the power of a Meletus [another of Socrates’s prosecutors] or an Anytus. Heaven permits not the better man to be wronged by the worse. Death, exile, disgrace—Anytus and the average man may count these great evils, not I. A far greater evil is to do as he is now doing, trying to do away with a fellow-being unjustly.

O Athenians, I am far from pleading, as one might expect, for myself; it is for you I plead lest you should err as concerning the gift of God given unto you, by condemning me. If you put me to death you will not easily find another of my sort, who, to use a metaphor that may cause some laughter, am attached by God to the state, as a kind of gadfly to a big generous horse, rather slow because of its very bigness and in need of being waked up. As such and to that end God has attached me to the city, and all day long and everywhere I fasten on you, rousing and persuading and admonishing you…

Be not angry with me speaking the truth, for no man will escape alive who honourably and sincerely opposes you or any other mob, and puts his foot down before the many unjust and unrighteous things that would otherwise happen in the city. The man who really fights for justice and right, even if he expects but a short career, untouched, must occupy a private not a public station…

Clearly, if I tried to persuade you and overcame you by entreaty, when you have taken the oath of judge, I should be teaching you not to believe that there are gods, and my very defence would be a conviction that I do not pay them regard. But that is far from being so. I believe in them as no one of my accusers believes. And to you I commit my cause and to God, to judge me as seemeth best for me and for you.

[The jurors find Socrates guilty.]

Men of Athens, many things keep me from being grieved that you have convicted me. What has happened was not unexpected by me. I am rather surprised at the number of votes on either side. I did not think the majority would be so little. As it is the transference of thirty votes would have acquitted me…

A fine life it would be for one at my age always being driven out from one city and changing to another. For I know that whithersoever I go the young men will listen to my words, just as here. If I drive them away, they themselves will have me cast out, and if I don’t drive them away their fathers and relatives will cast me out for their sakes.

[The jurors proceed to sentence Socrates to death.]

O men, hard it is not to avoid death, it is far harder to avoid wrongdoing. It runs faster than death. I being slow and stricken in years am caught by the slower, but my accusers, sharp and clever as they are, by the swifter wickedness. And now I go to pay the debt of death at your hands, but they to pay the debt of crime and unrighteousness at the hand of Truth. I for my part shall abide by the award; let them see to it also. Perhaps somehow these things were to be, and I think it is well…

Wherefore, O Judges, be of good cheer about death, and know of a certainty that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods, nor has my own approaching end happened by mere chance. But I see clearly that to die and be released was better for me; and therefore the oracle gave no sign. For which reason, also, I am not angry with my condemners, or with my accusers; they have done me no harm, although they did not mean to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them.

Still I have a favour to ask of them. When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them, and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing, then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands.

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways—I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.

(culled from encarta 2009)

Friends, chose Virtue over Possesions.


Random Thoughts: Mind The Way You Respond

Sitting on the top a batch mixer, blending a fluid loss additive, my mind drifted over the event that had happen some hours ago:

I had met a colleague reminding her of an assignment that we were to carry out together. Her response to my reminder was alarmingly annoying, demeaning me to being lesser and making me look like I am disturbing her. We had failed in recent weeks to achieve this task and I wasn’t interested in failing this week.

It had bothered me all through the week prior to meeting her and I just wanted a scenario for us to reason together. Her response dampened my morale and urged me to be the lone ranger in accompanying the task.

I had recalled that most of my colleagues, though of lower positions in the office, had complained about her attitude towards them. I had notice such but had swept it under the carpet seeing it as nothing. They had complained of being looked down on and her bluffs are annoyingly skyrocketing.

What is wrong with this babe? Am I blocking her progress? Why is she thus? Is she earning more than me? Does she have 3 heads? Or what…? i havent donr specific thing to her that could be classified as wrong.

“Hey!! Turnoff the pump” I woke up from my thoughts-land and resumed reality.

Well, in order not to be on the losing side this week, I carried out the assignment later that week. I requested an apology from the babe, which I got and life continued.

Friends, be careful how you talk to people and how you respond to their talks. You never can tell who you are talking to. You can be as mild as Jesus Christ and speak to people friendly. You would achieve greater results if your approach is superb.

You can’t always be the boss. Every Boss has a Boss. Your Boss might even be your servant.


Who is That Kid That Couldn’t Spell Television?

Sitting at the mid-section of the JSS 3C class of Federal Government College, Odogbolu in Ogun State, I was shocked to see a new English language teacher come into the class.

We have been accustomed to our former teacher; a soft lady that pampers us, and behold a tall fair man with an ascent different from the normal Nigerian accent. Without much ado and with the class still in disarray, he wrote “SPELLING” on the chalk board. He shouted “KEEP QUIET!!!”

The scattered class took shape immediately with everybody scampering to any available sit. Our English Language notes flew from our bags to our desk with amazing speed garnished with fear. Fear of the unknown.

10 words were called out and in my naivety of English words, despite being a 13 year old, I wrote the words down as I heard it. Notable among the words spelt is “TELEVISION”. I couldn’t spell an electronic item that I used every day in my house. I couldn’t spell television. I spelt it as “TV”.

That was my worst ever performance in spelling. After the words were marked I could only get about 3 over 10. Luckily for me, it wasn’t a part of the termly assessment. I looked at myself in awe.

All this happened years ago, but the memories still linger. The Okokomaiko center of the Kingdom Recovery Church Youth is organizing a spelling bee on the 18th of August. Don’t miss it. Come and watch young teens as they spell their way to happiness.

Young ones out there don’t feel so bad if you aren’t getting it right now. You can start now and make it right. No time is too late to know. It is better late than never. You can learn anything you want to learn. You can be who you want to be. Just decide and act towards your decision.

Parent, guardians and mentors, take it easy on your children and wards. He might be worse today but his greatness is grooming up to surprise you. Just believe and Pray. He Watches. He Hears. He gives Wisdom. He is Jesus Christ.

Yes, I am that kid that couldn’t spell TELEVISION. I am Chibuzor Amos. @amoscp