Phaedo


Philosophy is a vast field. It examines and probes many different
fields. Virtue, morality, immortality, death, and the difference between the
psyche (soul) and the soma (body) are just a few of the many different topics
which can be covered under the umbrella of philosophy. Philosophers are
supposed to be experts on all these subjects. The have well thought out
opinions, and they are very learned people. Among the most revered philosophers
of all time was Socrates. Living around the 5th century B.C., Socrates was
among the first philosophers who wasn\'t a sophist, meaning that he never felt
that he was wise for he was always in the pursuit of knowledge. Unfortunately,
Socrates was put to death late in his life. One of his best students, Plato,
however, recorded what had occurred on that last day of Socrates\' life. On
that last day of his life, Socrates made a quite powerful claim.  He claimed
that philosophy was merely practice for getting used to death and dying.
At first, the connection between philosophy and death is not clear.
However, as we unravel Socrates\' argument backing up his claim, the statement
makes a lot of sense. In order for Philosophers to examine their world
accurately and learn the truth accurately, they must remove them selves of all
distractions.  These not only include physical distractions, but they include
mental distractions and bodily distractions as well. Philosophers must get
used to viewing and examining the world with out any senses. Senses merely
hinder and obscure the truth. Sight for example can be fooled easily with
optical illusions which occur normally in nature. Sound can be very
distracting as well when a philosopher is trying to concentrate. All of these
cloud the judgement, and must therefore be detached from the soul. Socrates
argues that philosophers must view the world around them with their souls in
order to accurately learn about it. However, by detaching their souls from all
bodily functions, philosophers may as well be in an induced state of death. In
mortem, the soul wanders free and there are no bodily hindrances.
Socrates also believed that philosophers look upon death with good cheer
and hope. This I find hard to believe because if this were true, the
philosopher would not be able to love life, and without the love of life, there
is no life to examine and learn about. It is understandable however from
another point of view to understand why the philosopher would look forward to
death with good cheer. Once the philosopher is dead, his soul is free to roam
around without hindrances forever, and all the worlds secrets shall be revealed
to him.  In fact, Socrates\' sees his death as a liberation from the shackles of
life for his last wish was for Crito to sacrifice a rooster to Asclepius. This
god was normally given sacrifices to free the sickly from the grips of a virus
or illness. Perhaps Socrates saw the body as a sickness that fed upon the soul.
If this were the case, then indeed Socrates would be happy to leave the bonds of
life, for then he could have an eternity to seek out his answers, all without
the diversions and distractions of a body.
Socrates believed that it was this search that was important, even more
so than the answers them selves. Socrates believed that the journey toward the
answers is where most of the learning takes place, and it is this journey that
truly integrates the answers as part of your very own being.

Category: Philosophy