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21.11.2018

The Poison of Socrates [and…]

From DIMITRIS ELEAS: The Imagination of Man

Dimitris Eleas

by Dimitris Eleas

 

Socrates drank his cup of hemlock. With him both his philosophy and his truth drank poison. One wonders what the cost of such poison was at that time?  But, in any case, the Athenian state was ready to pay, whatever the price.

Let us imagine that Socrates’ poison was poured into a simple terra-cotta beaker, shards of which lie nowadays for tourists to trample on as they walk around the Agora in Athens, but he knew that it was the contents of the cup and not the cup itself that mattered. He considered it as some humorous liquid. He thought with cynicism, (by the way the Cynics had not yet arisen as a school of philosophy; but Socrates managed to think cynically before the creation of cynicism) “While I am dying, I'll write my first text; my death will be a piece of my life-work; what good luck it is to drink it, at least I'll always be famous”. Yes! To decide to die, when you can escape, are public relations. Maybe this is why someone said that Socrates is the Lenin of antiquity. And in the end, the downfall of the Soviet Union was caused by its public relations apparatus being seen as a dose of poison for the ordinary populace. But in any case, before he drank it, Socrates for sure had a little discourse with his poison, maybe from sheer egoism as he wanted to teach it something or because there was no one else in the room to talk to, not even a good-looking young male nurse to hold his hand in his last dying moments.

Almost as soon as he drank it, his eyes will have glazed over, as do the eyes of a bull when confronting the red cloth of a matador, or those of a girl who is faced for the first time with the sight of blood corning out between her legs. One of his eyes resembled that dot of light we see when a television is switched off while his other, well, it was like a computer being switched on. The password for the program in Socrates’ brain will never be known.

Socrates’ poisoning was a tragedy for Plato and for his ideas on politics, ethics and the issue of trust in the democratic process. Plato’s views were poisoned. But not Aristotle’s views. Yet, always each philosopher contains the reaction to his work within his own writing; each has to receive a rebellion from the next generation. But at least the horror of Socrates’ death set Plato writing. Such a clever little dose of poison it was that pushed so many philosophers to pick up their pens and write to build up a wall of works, to be a bulwark against their suffering the same fate as Socrates. Maybe in a way he is still standing all philosophers “from his time to ours” a little sip of his hemlock.

The poison of Socrates was the price that Wisdom paid. Wisdom fully developed in the works of Plato, and above all Aristotle.

 

Born in Athens, Greece in 1973, Dimitris Eleas is a writer, independent researcher and political activist. Lives, and (then) writes. His debut first book was published in Athens, as a 21 years old, with the title “Women” (1994). Other publications: “Ten Texts” (London, 2007), “Eccentric Notes” (Athens, 2013), “Private Cornelius” (Athens, 2014). The writings also featured in his solo art exhibition in London “Texts with Icons” (1998). Website: Greek Eyes In The World – 2012 (dimitriseleas.com) and the blog d.[cells/ideas] (dimitriseleas.wordpress.com). E-mail: dimitriseleas@gmail.com.


Rubrik: Bücher/Βιβλια
7.03.14
 von Dimitris Eleas

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