There is always a lot to be said about Western philosophers. After all, most of them died as peculiarly as they lived.
But none is as contentious as the death of Greek philosopher Socrates, who in 399 BC, was condemned to death by a jury of 501 “good standing” citizens.
He was found guilty on the charges of impiety and corrupting the young because he espoused thoughts that were excessively radical for his time.
He carried out his execution by ingesting a poisonous plant of hemlock. To this day, he is considered to be one of the first prominent figures in history to have been a victim of injustice.
When you think of Socrates, you think of his most famous saying:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
He demonstrated a thoroughly examined and worthy life by openly criticizing Athenian politics. He even went so far as to question the legitimacy of the many Greek gods.
And in his most daring cases, he claimed to have been guided by an inner daimonon — a term which he may have intended to mean “intuition,” but have been interpreted at that time as a dark, supernatural force that could anger the gods.
He was, in many ways, an unconventional thinker that was not suitable for his time. But such is the dilemma when you pursue an examined life that is worth living.
Basically, this is what philosophy is all about. It is the tool to which you can understand your life and the many possibilities that exist in between.
Formally, it means becoming engaged in seeking the answers to life’s most basic, meaningful, and difficult questions.
Informally, it could simply mean adhering to a way of life, guidance, or a system of thoughts and beliefs that govern your actions.
But how can philosophy radically improve your life when Socrates died for his?