Jesień rozgościła się na dobre! Kolorowe liście zwiastują pierwszy w tym roku szkolnym najnowszy numer (68.) naszego czasopisma anglojęzycznego AimHigh. Pierwszy artykuł, który prezentujemy czytelnikom, został napisany przez Pawła Paroboczego (klasa 3a), który opisuje dla nas losy greckiego filozofa – Sokratesa. Fascynujący tekst, świetny angielski – zapraszamy do przeczytania pierwszej części!
The foggy figure of Athen’s perennial philosopher
“I know that I know nothing” is the famous quote, presumably once spoken by the well-known ancient Greek philosopher – Socrates. During his lifetime, this eccentric man gained quite a popularity among his fellow residents of the city of Athens. Despite this fact, it’s really difficult to fully elaborate on certain details of his life. The main reason for this conundrum is that Socrates himself never wrote anything regarding both his teachings and personal opinions on various topics. Luckily, there were quite a few of young fellows eager to scribble down every word that their so-called master had uttered. Because of that we currently have a decent amount of information about him. The only issue being – it might be troublesome to check the credibility of certain sources. Each of them states a number of things, some of which are contradictory with the works of the other followers. On the other hand, even the most reliable reference – the Plato’s body of work – has to be approached and interpreted carefully, since he often used to either idolise the figure of Socrates or attribute him his own views, making it difficult to distinguish the truth from fiction. In spite of those issues, there are still aspects that we can be almost sure of. Now, let’s leave it aside and take a closer look at the philosopher’s life, shall we?
The tale of the despised thinker
Long, long ago in ancient Greece, in the city of Athens, to be more precise, lived a certain bizarre man called Socrates. He was known for being a master at asking very probing and peculiar questions to many people simply passing through the streets, some of which were thought to be the most intelligent and knowledgeable among the folk. His questions would concern a wide category of topics. For example, the reckoned wisdom of the interlocutor. The more confident the person in-question was of their own beliefs and righteousness, the more eager and curious he was to question its claims. The purpose of his inquiries was to get to the bottom of the other person’s statement, pick it apart piece by piece, so that he could understand it fully. His famous quote “I know that I know nothing” refers to this unique approach. Each time he began to challenge somebody’s logic he did so in order to learn, to become smarter, and if it coincidentally happened that the other person wasn’t as marvellous at the society perceived them to be (which happened unsurprisingly frequently) – to make them realize the inconsistency in their reasoning. Another thing worth mentioning is the that the only response he would give during the conversations were questions. The old man never consented directly or bluntly objected. Instead, he led the query in such a way, so that by the end of the discourse both of them would arrive at the objectively correct conclusion, together. Socrates’s unusual behaviour made him well-known among his fellow citizens, not necessarily in a positive way. A great number of youngsters adored his intellectual wits and desired to become one of his pupils. However, neither establishing a brand-new philosophy school nor conducting private paid classes didn’t pique the philosopher’s interest. Nevertheless, the adoration of the youth was only a small percentage of the total population of Athens, there were many who had deeply rooted hatred for this humble deep thinker that were about to bring dire consequences very soon. As he became known to more and more people, the demands to do something about this outrageous man became louder and louder. In their eyes, many of his questions were seen as morally dubious. For instance, the fact that he dared to occasionally challenge the existence of the gods, the core of their culture and civilization, was especially negatively received. His enemies decided to cite him with the charges of the acts of profanity and depravity of the young folk in the city’s people’s court. Soon enough, the trial was in session…