The Greek philosopher, Plato’s Phaedo is one of the most knowledgeable philosophers of all times. Plato’s narrates the accounts of the happenings of the conversations and events as they occurred at day of execution of Socrates, which took place in Athens. Socrates had initially been prosecuted and charged on the counts of impiety and corrupting the youths. In the apology, Socrates narrates about the defense. His execution involved the drinking of hemlock (poison), he had also been charged with a count of introducing the worship of strange gods in the city of Athens. He had gone against the law by offering sacrifices on the days that were prohibited.
Socrates was against the Sophists. He was of the point that, there exists a trans-cultural level of wrong and right, or evil and good. In the passage, he says:
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“ I regard this as a proof that what has happened to me is good, and that those of us who think that death is an evil are in error”.
Socrates does not see suffering as a terrible thing but rather is ready to face his tribulations in an open arm. He believes that, the person who should be afraid of dying is the person who is evil or does not do what is right. He embraces death with courage; he even goes further in advising against the people who view death as an evil thing. His reason for not fearing death is that he views the death itself as sleep where the sleeping person cannot feel any pain. He says that death is a state of utter unconsciousness. His other view on death is quite surprising since he views death as a form of migration from this world to the next. His viewing death as migration is quite funny since, as we well know, most people love migrating from the simple reason that, there is expectations of new experiences among other exciting things.
Again, in describing why he does not fear death, he argues that there should be no any worry if at all, death is likened to a sound dreamless sleep. He put it that if death is just like a sleep where there is not existence of even the slightest disturbance of dreams, then should be viewed as a loss but rather as a gain. In the dialogue, Socrates longs to experience the alleged sleep the one that is said to have no disturbances or dreams but rather it is a heavy sleep. The magnitude of this sleep has been said to be so high that eternity would be an equivalent to a single night.
By likening death with a deep sleep and the eternity to a single night of a good sleep, he makes death seem as a good thing that people should love and embrace just like the same way that everyone love to sleep and by doing so he succeeds in eliminating people’s fear on issues concerning death.
As he views death as a journey, he becomes extremely excited in his quest for exploration, as he searches for new answers and enhancing one’s knowledge. His passionate love in research and exploration even in the point of his death is evident. His love for exploration is so much that it supersedes his life, in the dialogue he shows his willingness to die so that he can move to the next world and meet some of the great men in history. Socrates advocates for a life of openness and respectful intensions. From the very onset, he says that there is always an existing trans-culture of good and evil. He goes further in explaining that the moment one is of cognizant with what is truly good or right, there is always an automatic way with one’s actions; that is, in accordance with what is knowledgeable. His advocacy for doing right and never lying is seen as he tells Crito of the manner through which Socrates should be buried. He advocates for good virtue, which he say that if one has good virtues in him, this would automatically be manifested in his/her deeds. That is the reason he advices his friend Crito in his bid to instill good virtues in him.
Socrates in this story is showing that one should face his/her deaths with courage. If one's time is due, there is no turning back but honorably accepting one's fate. Again, he shows us that in case of the executions by the Authority like his; we should never be bitter or use insults to the person assigned to finish the job, but rather be calm and depart peacefully. His lack of fear is evidenced by receiving the poison in a gentle manner, he even has time to ask for the laid down instructions that he should follow once he has taken the poison. He congratulates the person responsible for his execution. Once he takes the poison, he is keen to follow in the instruction given even though he knows he has less time before he dies. His good virtues are evident in his calmness to the person in charge of executing as opposed other people who would have hauled insults.
Socrates emphasizes on the importance of upholding one’s virtues. He argues that virtues should not entirely be viewed as simply as the willingness to do good since, human beings is extremely unequal when it comes to the issue of virtues. The only thing that human being is universal equal is the issue of one’s willingness to be good. This is from the fact that no human being longs for what is hurtful. Therefore, it would be worth noting that, what makes the conduct of different individuals vary is the outcome of differences in their comprehension. He stresses that once one can differentiate the right thing from bad, this directly results into doing that what one considers wise.
Socrates convinces on the point that, when one knows what is right then he/she is bound to do it. He emphasizes by using an example where Socrates guides uneducated boy through a complex geometric illustration with careful questions, indicating that the boy, in one way or another, knows the expected solution on his own. In one’s daily life, this is a common phenomenon where one realizes a fact of which he never knew before. One normally feels as though no new discoveries were made but rather remembering something we knew initially. This helps in understanding the true value of recollection as the source of one’s outlook on numerous principle factors of reality.
Plato further illustrated that once one dies, the body and soul separates. Therefore, it is extremely significant to the soul the life that characterizes a philosophical life. He went further in explaining that, the numerous life crucial matter are clearer to the soul than to the body, as such, when these facts are attached to the mortal body which becomes a distraction from what is essential. For instance, one might be contemplating on eternal truth only to be distracted by hunger or sleep that is the way mortal body works as destruction to the soul. Phaedo believes that once an individual dies, the soul continues existing after its separation from the body. He tries to explain about the origin of death by employing the use of cycle of opposites. In his explanation, he bases his argument of the basis of cyclical interchange. Plato suggests that life must originate from death and the vice versa is also true. Phaedo observes that the dead people were alive at some point but underwent a transition, which is termed as dying. He continued that, for people who alive were once dead before undergoing a transition known as birth. The cycle of opposite indicates the there exists a perceptual cycle of human souls from the realm of dead back to that of the living.
He observed that the existing association between the body and soul. Simmias likens this relation with the strings of the lyre in producing musical harmony. It implies that though the body is particularly different from the soul, the soul cannot survive the physical destruction endured by the body. Plato argues that the soul is imperishable; he derives his example from the role of forms.
In conclusion, there is a mystery behind the issue of death. Sufficient information regarding the form of life after death is lacking. For instance, Socrates imagines the life after death being a journey, or undisturbed dreamless heavy sleep. The issue on the relationship between the soul and the body is of much significance. In employing the role of forms, one can is convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the soul is imperishable. Phaedo observes that the dead people were alive at some point then underwent a transition, which is termed as dying. He continued that, for people who alive were once dead before undergoing a transition known as birth. The cycle of opposite indicates the there exists a perceptual cycle of human souls from the realm of dead back to that of the living.