My Account 
Shopping Cart 
Search the site: 
Why Socrates Hated Democracy 
We are used to thinking very highly of democracy, and by extension, of Ancient Athens, the civilisation that gave rise to it. The Parthenon has become almost a byword for democratic values, which is why so many leaders of democracies like to be photographed among its ruins. 
In the dialogues of Plato, the founding father of Greek Philosophy Socrates is portrayed as hugely pessimistic about the whole business of democracy. In Book Six of The Republic, Plato describes Socrates falling into conversation with a character called Adeimantus and trying to get him to see the flaws of democracy by comparing a society to a ship. If you were heading out on a journey by sea, asks Socrates, who would you ideally want deciding who was in charge of the vessel? Just anyone or people educated in the rules and demands of seafaring? 
The latter of course, says Adeimantus, so why then, responds Socrates, do we keep thinking that any person should be fit to judge who should be a ruler of a country? Socrates’s point is that voting in an election is a skill, not a random intuition. And like any skill, it needs to be taught systematically to people. Letting the citizenry vote without an education is as irresponsible as putting them in charge of a trireme sailing to Samos in a storm. 
Socrates was to have first hand, catastrophic experience of the foolishness of voters. In 399 BC, the philosopher was put on trial on trumped up charges of corrupting the youth of Athens. A jury of 500 Athenians was invited to weigh up the case and decided by a narrow margin that the philosopher was guilty. He was put to death by hemlock in a process which is, for thinking people, every bit as tragic as Jesus’s condemnation has been for Christians. 
Socrates, according to Plato, had no fear of death, proclaiming to the court; 
To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise without really being wise, for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For no one knows whether death may not be the greatest good that can happen to man. But men fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. (Apology 29a) 
If you put me to death, you will not easily find another who, if I may use a ludicrous comparison, clings to the state as a sort of gadfly to a horse that is large and well-bred but rather sluggish because of its size, so that it needs to be aroused. It seems to me that the god has attached me like that to the state, for I am constantly alighting upon you at every point to arouse, persuade, and reproach each of you all day long. (Apology 30e) 
Socrates famously confronts his fellow citizens with honesty, saying; 
Men of Athens, I honour and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you and, while I have life and strength, I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him saying: Oh my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not Ashamed of this? And if the person with whom I am arguing says: Yes, but I do care; I do not depart or let him go at once; I interrogate and examine and cross-examine him, and if I think that he has no virtue, but only says that he has, I reproach him with undervaluing the greater, and overvaluing the less. And this I should say to everyone whom I meet, young and old, citizen and alien, but especially to the citizens, inasmuch as they are my brethren. For this is the command of God, as I would have you know: and I believe that to this day no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the God. 
For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons and your properties, but first 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, my influence is ruinous indeed. But if anyone says that this is not my teaching, he is speaking an untruth. Wherefore, Oh men of Athens, I say to you, do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids, and either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times (29d-30c). 
A World Governed by a Higher Intelligence, is it right or wrong? 
The Stasis terraformed a planet called Glippo in the Cygnus Constellation, they artificially modified genes to create a new species using human DNA. These people who live in this new carefully balanced world are called Galippians, the Galippians live a simple way of life but everything is governed by a higher intelligence, however it would be rare for the Stasis to ever intervene because everyone living on Glippo is friendly and full of love and compassion, it seems one big happy family. 
There are two options, one, either you accept and trust in being ruled by a more intelligent race or two, let the people decide how things should be run even though the people may not always be right. On Earth it is extremely diverse and there are many different opinions, sometimes there is no right or wrong, it comes down to just different options to choose. What is right for one is not alwas right for another and this is where a clash of opinions can cause trouble, even leading to violent confrontation. 
Also greed plays a big part because as the population grows the land space becomes smaller and people become more desperate in the fight to secure what they feel belongs to them. In this struggle to maintain what is dear to one's heart, one has to make sacrifices. 
When we talk about the survival of Earth and Climate Change the solution is difficult because any radical method to rectify the problem, mostly it would come at a great cost with huge sacrifices needed to be put in place, which many would not agree to. With any policy whether you agree or disagree it comes with implications on both sides of a double edged sword. 
Designed and created by it'seeze
Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings