Socrates & Sons

The following excerpt is from Socrates’ final words at his trial. The epic Greek philosopher was on trial for atheism and for corrupting the youth of Athens. In reality, Socrates argued that he believed in “The God” as opposed to the many gods of Greek culture. And he was intent on teaching young people to think critically about the nature of reality, because, as he once famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

There are a lot of fascinating things in Socrates’ Apology. But I think one of the most touching is the plea he gives for his friends to help guide his three sons in their pursuit of truth and virtue:

Still I have a favor to ask of them. When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing,—then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, both I and my sons will have received justice at your hands. The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways—I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.