Socrates vs. Socrates and The Meditations

Last Thoughts on Socrates ~ February 25-March 3rd

My time this week I spent thinking about Socrates through Plato’s Apology and Socrates through Xenophon’s Apology of Socrates. My past studies of Classics have included studying the Gospels and their origins and what interests me the most about studying Socrates and his followers is the similarity between Socrates and Jesus. Both men were teachers of ordinary people who believed in simple words and learning. Each was born in important cities in Antiquity (Athens, cultural and Jerusalem, religious), neither wrote, but their followers wrote, and their words and ideas continued to influence even after their deaths, and finally, both were put on trial by their peers for similar reasons.

What is also interesting about Socrates and Jesus is the concept of the martyr, particularly Xenophon’s Socrates and Jesus of Luke. While Plato’s Socrates seemed to know that his death was imminent, he comes off has condescended to the crowd of Athenians. In his speech he explains his actions, but he knows that no one will truly understand why he acted the way he did during his life, or even during his years of inquiry for the wisest of men. Socrates knows nothing, but he realizes that those that surround him claim to know all or more, and they are the ones that know nothing because while they believe they know it all, they are not closer to divinity, self-clarification, or wisdom. While Socrates, knowing that a person should always seek knowledge and improvement, actually believes he is wiser than others.

The Socrates of Xenophon’s Apology, however, is resolved to die he refuses to accept the charges against him like Plato’s, explains his actions as well, but offers no alternate solutions. Xenophon’s Socrates honors the wishes of his people even if their choice is death. Similarly, the Jesus of Luke accepts the role of a martyr as a divine plan he explains to his disciples the reasons for his death, and they do not understand his reasons nor how he will lead Jews to freedom if he dies how will he lead past death. Jesus is not the leader that his peers are looking for, but he is still an influence and eventually becomes a leader similar to the Socrates of Xenophon. Naturally, both the historical Jesus is a spiritual and intellectual leader, but Socrates is as well. The writings left of them their concerns are for focused on truths, be they divine or involving man to bring men and the divine closer Jesus as the Son of God is charged with such, but Socrates believes it is his heroic duty charged to him by the gods.

The Meditations ~ February 29-March 3rd

From his grandfather, Marcus Aurelius learned the value of morals or proper decision making and impression management, primarily how to control his temper. He admired his father’s reputation for being humble and following the ancient expectations of being a man. His great-grandfather taught him to pursue a top education not being afraid to spend for it. While his mother showed him disciple and piety not only from evil or unclean thoughts and activities but temperance and balance to free his mind. Marcus Aurelius learned from the governor to not solely associate with any one particular political side, while at Gladiator fights or things of that nature. The goal being to stay out of other’s problem’s and not peddle gossip. Temperance and simplicity were the keys to success and life; one should not be too passionate about any one subject nor give in to such things as fancy or materialistic concepts, letters and words should be simple, no flowery speech or poetry the lack of this stuff in life led to reason, which gave clarity.

I believe he is concerned with how to rule, or how to govern properly. He lists a bunch of noble traits that he says he has inherited or learned from a variety of different people, but despite his list he is not stating “I deserve to rule” he is merely recording a series of good or positive traits and attitudes he has and why they are positive.