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Socrates – 1 May 2007

The teachings of the great Greek philosopher Socrates are known through the writings of his pupil Plato. Born in Athens to a sculptor in 469 BC, his guiding rule was “Know thyself.” The Socratic Method by which he taught was based on a series of carefully directed questions that would make the other person find out the truth for himself.

As often happens throughout history, the honesty of Socrates irritated the “powers that be” – at that time, the Thirty Tyrants who ruled Athens after the death of Pericles; so he was condemned to death by poisoning. In 399 BC Socrates died after drinking a cup of hemlock, the method used for executions.

In the “Death of Socrates” Plato quotes his teacher:

“I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties but, and chiefly, to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person.”

Here are a few more of Socrates’ quotations:

“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.”

“Thou should eat to live; not live to eat.”

“The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them.”

His wife’s name was Xanthippe. I think that this quotation reveals his sense of humor: J

“By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.”

And one of my favorite quotations:

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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