LITERATURE: Great Dialogues of Plato – Timeliness

It seems a plan of sorts, that as I delve into further study and love of philosophical works they appear to be so perfectly attuned to what is happening in my personal life just as I read them.  But of course, philosophy is exactly that; the relationship of thinking to current reality and then beyond.  So not coincidence, nor some spiritual intervention knowing my reading time is limited in coming to this late, nor even fate of any sort that could exist as foreknowledge by the Divine, has much to do with it I suppose.

I am continuing on with Plato after Symposium and Phaedrus mainly because I happened upon  this beaten paperback shoved sideways atop the other crammed in books upon the shelves.  In facing death again of a family member, I seek the words of Socrates in facing his own, and just before I get to Phaedo I decided to read the very short Crito that precedes it.  In just a few pages I find something that relates not to what I seek, but to other pressing matters even more.  Here, Criton visits his good friend Socrates in prison to warn him and attempt to change his mind about committing suicide.  Socrates approaches the question of decisions logically:

Socrates:  Think then:  Don’t you believe it was right enough to say that we must not respect all the opinions of men, but only some?  And not the opinions of all men, but only of some?  What do you say?  Was this not rightly said?

Criton:  Quite rightly. 

(Note:  From here on I will fore-go Criton’s acquiescence, as is normally Plato’s method of teaching through discourse.)

Socrates:  To respect the good opinions and not the bad? 

The good ones are those of the wise, the bad ones those of the foolish?

Very well, how did it go on?  A man practising athletics and making that his business–ought he to pay attention to everyone’s praise and blame and opinion, or only those of one, who happens to be a physician or a trainer?

Then he ought to fear the blame and welcome the praise of that one, and not of the others.

Then he must act and exercise and eat and drink following the opinion of that one, the overseer and expert, rather than all the others put together. (Great Dialogues of Plato, Crito, p. 451)

Socrates goes on to inform that the truth holds forth despite the circumstances, and that to stray or bend to beliefs that are not of expertise or value except in numbers, is to harm justice and right.

Indecision then should look for answers from what is truth and is respected as wisdom.  The opinions of the masses may indeed point out new ideas or ways in which something is perceived, but reason can and should prevail.

Neat, huh?

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