Socrates is considered one of the major philosophers whose work and contributions has produced significant work down to us. He has remained an icon of wisdom in the western philosophical history and a philosophical life. Socrates is regarded to have given us a philosophical definition of the good life. It is for this reason why His contributions to the society are considered very beneficial at one point and destructive at other times.
According to my opinion, Socrates was beneficial to the society. Socrates meetings outside the city walls that attracted residents and passerby had very important contributions to the society. The meeting provided intelligent discussion on questions such as "What is justice, beauty, knowledge, friendship, and virtue”, although people could not provide correct answers for each question, Socrates admitted that most of the people cannot correctly define such words but from their different answers he was able to provided new and improved definitions accepted by all.
In so doing, Socrates contributions became very beneficial to the people’s because they could not show ignorance on areas they had discussed with Socrates. Through such discussions, Socrates ensured that the society was well informed although he was finally to pay the price for challenging people's assumptions and pretenses which elders believed corruption of the minds of the young (May, 5-25)
It is in the same discussions where Socrates was able to nature and define the true essentials of life, and at the same time discover his own true self. He also natured other philosophers who wanted to learn what it is to live a truly good life. Philosophy helped them to define their existence, and for that reason Socrates was their teacher and mentor. He provided them with a philosophical model of honest inquiry and impeccable conduct in whatever they do.
Another major contribution was that through discussions Socrates was able to introduce a thinking culture among the people. His main concept was not to teach of any specific concept but to allow the people think widely according to what he directed them and stop them from proclaiming their ignorance.
Socrates habits of being critical and thoughtful on everything ensured that the society did not get blind to their own unfounded convictions and presuppositions. He advocated thoughtfulness and critical self-awareness as a way of life. He challenged the society to “Know itself” and that unexamined life is not worth living and people should not follow blindly and headlong primal instincts, popular convictions, or time-honored customs. To Socrates good life questions and thinks about things, it is full of contemplation, self-examination, and wonders openly. His challenge to the society was to keep inquiring and ever expanding mind.
One of the major Socrates destructive attempts was that he openly described the total investments of a man's in commerce as unworthy and a failure to love wisdom.
Socrates advocated a simple life, which involved minimal production and consumption. To him life ought to be of voluntary poverty, without struggling in any form of business. In respect to this ideology he advised against taking up family's business, but to devote one’s life to philosophical studies. Such advice would cost those who accepted his advise dearly in future.
In my own opinion I believe this should not be the case, people should be encouraged to be economically able so as to provide for themselves and other in the society who are not able to meet their basic needs. If the entire society is poor as Socrates advocates for then life would be miserable and with no meaning.
According to Socrates a wealthy state is not a healthy because it finally ends up in war as citizen fight for the limited resources and a large military force must be deployed to preserve order and security, in Socrates’ eyes, this is a betrayal of the city’s better nature, but
his teaching encourages poverty and cannot qualify to be beneficial.
Socrates’ teachings shaped the Western culture by inspiring his students such as Plato to divide all of reality into two separate worlds, the world of senses and that of ideas. The world of ideas was declared the only important one. Plato brought about the metaphysics of Christian theology and that declared eternal life to be a matter of a non-physical transcendence (Vlastos, 33-54)
Several years after philosopher Socrates had passed on several theologians critically smashed and mutilated the sculptures of classical Greece that was being regarded as sinful and dangerous expressions of the body in relation to the physical world, this was a product of what Socrates had began and it was not good for the Christian community.
The purpose of philosophy is to bring happiness and understandings was Socrates went wrong in his teachings. There is no point to follow Socrates achievements were they seem hostile. Every individual has the freedom to say and think as they like which is limited to what is true. Philosophy brings with it the idea of the unity in truth and failure to have the truth leads to subjection to some form of tradition.
Socrates teachings and were made to erode the actual erosion of traditional values through the growing internationalization of the more conservative citizens. He encouraged the society to be open-mindedness and tolerance resulting to some of his people being sent away by the hostile community who were against the sophists and were out to protect their non-traditional teachings. Most of the answers Socrates were not primary to teach any specific doctrines, but to make people think.
Philosophy brings the idea of the unity of truth, Socrates’ aggressive impulse. The alternative is a non-aggressive vision that apparently involves subjection culture that was replaced by the Socratic revolution. If we projected ourselves into Socrates’ time, we are able to see the problems he faced and remain content with philosophy in its present practice although traditionally philosophy proceeded by collapsing distinctions. Most of philosophical problems can hardly be final because alternatives keep springing up.
In conclusion, philosophy should form the basics of a healthy and good life only depending on how well we argue our live and society to be. Bad philosophical interpretations of life situations will automatically lead to a life of poverty and miserably which should not be the case because we are supposed to think logically and make desirable decisions.