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Home » Critical text by AGC » Socrates viva!
10.04.1989

Socrates viva!

Socrates viva!

¡Viva Sócrates!   

Published in El País on April 10, 1989
 
Agustín García Calvo
 

Apparently, an American retired journalist, a Mr. Stone, has released a book, which the Spanish press have been quick to sell to you translated under the title The Trial of Socrates.

Apparently the author, to give things that packaging scruples and scientific seriousness, that to undertake his company got in his old age, as Cato the Elder, to study Greek. You'd think if that was taken would be delightful work to understand accurately and plainly logical subtleties playing in the Socratic dialogues (which certainly requires a good familiarity with colloquial Attic that literature) and to get a little on the endless attempt, through versions of Plato and Xenophon, comparing and contrasting, discern something that could perhaps say the voice of Socrates the streets talking. But no, Mr. Stone does not care at all what it sounds like or what Socrates says; interested in the character Socrates and Democracy, and once again discuss the reasons that had the democratic Athenian jury to sentence him to death at age 70 for which purpose it was enough to pick up a string of historical trivia and vulgar opinions about the case, that a mediocre translations in their language just as well he had provided.

(Readers who want to mark this fling back a bit on the case include, among others, of the Life of Socrates, A. Tovar, often reprinted and translated, and if you want more concise (Bear offer it because are books ago exhausted years and will have to search a library), Article Socrates, who fabricated about 15 years ago to the Universitas encyclopedia of the Editorial Salvat, Volume II, and the Socratic works of Xenophon I took a couple of years before collection pocket Alianza Editorial.)

The mess with the figure of Socrates has been a common occupation in this world since he alive and present, Aristophanes (in policy was conservative and friend of peace with the Spartans) put in Clouds ridiculous, charging it with physical speculations rhetorical tricks and bad they did not have much to do with Socrates, but gave occasion to a splendid comic game, and after his death, the most notorious of the antisocráticas far diatribes Nietzsche was attacking him mainly because, compared to pure and simple principle of the "strongest" (against which Plato's Socrates launches in Book I of the Republic), it seemed to him that Socrates came to uphold the law of the weak and common, that is, the same principle of any democracy. Now this Mr. Stone's taking that figure almost exactly the opposite: because Socrates, friend this time of oligarchs and even Spartan regimes, was a danger or risk for Democracy, and in the background, so he was sentenced , which Mr. Stone, as a Democrat that is, make you better understand, if not condone at all, the jury convicted him Athenian democracy.

Costs learn as crass nonsense without a little angry because I barely Avengo to recall a couple of notes on the figure of Socrates before returning to what matters.

Mr. Stone ago as if we had been clearly conveyed that the charges for which tried and convicted Socrates were corrupting the young and the meter gods who were not officers or seems very normal and democratic than one is to mount a trial with some apparent objections while, so low, go another true position, which is that even the most democratic Athenians Socrates liked him fat and were fed, but that they do not was a good Democrat and rather would liked aristocratic regimes, cargo, by the way, it was easy to make and in various Athenian democracies had often employed. Why would you go accusing Socrates of perverting young and bring other gods rather unusual and little decent to democratic ideals charges if that was not what he was charged?

Then Mr. Stone apparently ignores Socrates who, having ceased to live 70 years had passed various color schemes in Athens, including some distinctly oligarchic, as the 30 tyrants, during which Socrates as in such regimes often, we know that the Thirty wanted to implicate them, ordering a police management to catch one of the blacklist, to which he replied, not having been informed of the order, so in a trice he must be which consequently would have charged him, so things ahead a few years and making history for perish under an oligarchy, rather than under a Restoration of Democracy.

How to ignore the blatant disregard of Socrates by regime changes and political news from Athens: he devoted himself to ask, among other things, what is this "rule a state," and that's a question that no rate Government will feel Taen; Socrates just that most of his life he had to do it under a Democracy.

So where did these stories come from Mr. Stone on the political ideas of Socrates and his sympathy for the Spartan regime? There must be as uncouth stew: the Socratic almost alone testimonies we have left, the writings of Plato and Xenophon, just yes a thousand punches and discussion of contradictions, philologists have been able to tease out some thread to discern what in them could be Socratic, separating what the authors were attributing their own ideas and tastes to their respective character "Socrates". But instead of Plato and Xenophon are well informed: Xenophon rather limited witted and dialectical power (the more admirable than the memory of the Socratic conversations heard in his youth he did write in defense of his memory), it was a man with ideals of right and avowedly filoespartano; Plato marvel of lucidity and grace in writing, that we owe for their early dialogues most of what might have been handed to the voice of Socrates, we know that with age he developed political ideals and working even with dictators in trials to perform them. Well, it happened that Mr. Stone will now load Socrates calmly everything comes to its purpose well of moral and political gibberish Jenofante especially once he puts his character rather "Socrates", and I suppose also of the political ideals of Plato, he was also becoming more blatantly putting in your mouth "Socrates" (although I must say that in the past and thicker political treaties, laws, had the decency to remove the so the name of Socrates of the frame), and this has been due to ride Mr. Stone Socrates he needed for the trial.

Finally, the height of the thing must be when, as Socrates shows contempt for Democracy, accuses Mr. Stone does not have in its defense appealed to the principle of freedom of expression, brilliant invention that if Socrates had used it I have apologized to corrupt young people and get new gods. As if Socrates had not the Democratic Principle of Freedom of Expression and the most direct tribute that could be fine, namely the use, releasing the day of judgment, like any of his life, which left him by the mouth, without caring much about the consequences.

And I still think Mr. Stone suspects that Socrates could have easily saved from condemnation (and could, yes, what they say our sources, was to counter penalty condemned to a very large fine, taking the money their wealthy friends offered him, which the jury probably would have accepted it, but he, who thought that Athens owed ​​was gratitude for having operated on her like the gadfly that keeps awake a lazy horse, he stubbornly refused to budge on that, and still reluctantly condemned to pay all the money he had, about 20,000 or 30.00 pesetas for now, which the jury, of course, was not going to seem respectable), as suspected Mr. Stone, I think, which was allowed to run purposely chinchar Democracy and leave forever loaded with poor shadow of death.

I can no more go around the figure of Socrates with this nonsense. Mr. Stone's book I have not even read: when entering or leaving dinner I browsed a couple of nights in the stacks of news from any drugstore, and have not given me wanting more. I have not dealt with such a book if it not be that a friend brought to my attention a couple of articles that have drawn G. Jackson in The Independent, February 24, and F. Savater in COUNTRY 26 to purpose of the book, treating it with praise, approving his wit and historical integrity, and even Savater, in distant years walked me reading remains of pre-Socratic (Socrates and is nothing but the last of the pre-Socratic), estimating forceful arguments of Mr. Stone and declaring the delight of iconoclasm that with this book has tickled him.

What can you think of these men? The most pious would think one is that they are old or are getting old, or adults, at least. Because it is the voice of Socrates is a perpetual delight to the ears of the boys. The "Socrates" at the end of the day, go figure there, with his trial and death, democratic Athens of 339, and Administration at the White House 1989 post, the string of historical trifles that entertain transit to death sefloras executives and executives, gossiping in front of the TV or your computer screen: who will lose sleep Socrates and the figurehead of the political mechanisms of its implementation? But the voice of Socrates, that, thanks once aya despite Plato and Xenophon, rises from the writings and sounds over and over, that the boys and less formed the love again and again and makes them open to them eyes and a throbbing passion alive reasoning.

Why is it that, in the trance that the world has to accept the reality principle, to submit their own future good ideas that inculcate maybres sounds a voice to each of the dominating thoughts question "what is it? "kindly reasoning and discover contradictions and lies that are formed, and that's like a breath of release flapping, even a short while, their hearts, and so happens, as Alcibiades of Plato (215 Symp. account d-216 b), which brings in the end Love treat half drunk, saying that for every time I heard socrates, socrates or reasons reported by mouth someone, else, he danced his heart and he burst into tears, and he felt he could not continue living a moment as he lived.

Then the boys usually get older, and start to believe in things turn in his national-syndicalist or Democracy ideal, for example, and take their places and locations, and then that hinders them from Socrates, as to that Alcibiades , which shows Plato in a trance of his life when he is occupying senior positions in the Democratic Administration of Athens, and continues in his speech declaring that now you have to do is walk socrates escape and, like Odysseus with the Sirens , covering his ears to his reasons, he knows that if the hearing is going to happen again, as a boy, and it will stay there until old age hearing them.

Only men are not usually so clear confession that necessary flight and deafness socrates to adult stage requires them; it is normal to turn off soon contradictions, firmly believe in certain ideals or principles (if the memory of Socrates follow me aguijando much, can, like Plato and Xenophon attribute to Socrates the ideas on which they will with age believing) or rather not even remember again what sounded Socrates, at least until one of the boys or girls who have kept for heaven perchance come to hear him and remind him bitterly.

It's a shame that listeners socrates have mostly always be so inexperienced and youngsters and, of course, this succession of generations and, while voice is still always ringing, these youngsters will have to be at every step other and others, is not a satisfactory or anything to stay as consistent procedure, but the condition shed so; and not as something happens to disrupt it and destroy those conditions, we do agree that we notice is that the main trick to override or deafen the reasons is to confuse the voice of Socrates with the historical figure of Socrates, and not hear, talk a lot of anecdotes of his trial and his conviction and death under the black stones of the democratic majority vote of a jury of old Athens.

Recall that this reduction of the reasons for the historical Socrates mask and Socrates and their staff messes with the political regime of his people that his lot, that's the actual process to judge and condemn him, again and again, to death .

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