Confucius and Socrates: The Courage to Stand on the Side of Truth (Part 2)

Confucius and Socrates: The Courage to Stand on the Side of Truth (Part 2)
Let’s take a look at the Ancient Greek Sage Socrates.
In 594 BC, the Athenian statesman Solon created republican politics in the form of civic elections and jury proceedings. However, ethics, morality, and faith were of decreasing importance at that time. Many prosecutors and judges, elected among farmers and businessmen, only recognized the law and the sciences. They prided themselves on their knowledge and wisdom, yet they did not have a humble heart that believed in God.
Socrates maintained that the purpose of philosophy was not to understand nature, but, rather, to "know oneself." He promoted awareness of the truth in life and a moral life. He believed that everything in the world was arranged by God. He opposed the study of nature since knowledge came from the one most knowledgeable – God.
He emphasized ethics and believed "virtue is knowledge." He spent his entire life in dialogue with people, trying to rectify their conceptual and verbal mistakes. He wanted Athenians to curtail the arrogance gained through understanding philosophy and science to be law-abiding citizens that respected the divine. He tirelessly imparted his knowledge. Both rich and poor families sought his education.
In 404 BC, the “Thirty Tyrants” rule replaced the democracy. The leader of the “Thirty Tyrants,” Critias, was a student of Socrates’. He once ordered Socrates to arrest a rich man so he could confiscate his property. Socrates refused. He not only dared to resist the unjust order, but also publicly condemned it.
Regardless of the other side’s power or strength, Socrates insisted on living by his principles and justice. He did not yield to any unjust social forces, so he offended many people.
Someone accused Socrates of having close relations with Critias, opposing a democracy and corrupting the youth. Thus, Socrates was thrown into prison. Facing an Athenian jury, Socrates was fearless and refuted each absurd claim in this famous speech (as rendered by Plato):
“And so I go my way, obedient to god, and make inquisition into the wisdom of anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise ... I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue come money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, my influence is ruinous indeed. But if anyone says that this is not my teaching, he is speaking an untruth. Wherefore, O men of Athens, I say to you, do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids, and either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.”
Those with great wisdom from the past exert enormous influence on us still today. Real courage is not belligerence, but rather to stand on the side of truth. As long as one sticks to the truth, even when facing power and violence, or opposition from the masses, one will never be discouraged or give in.
When Confucius and Socrates were alive, it appeared that morality was not the norm, but these two didn’t give up. They remained true to their beliefs in the ways imparted by the Gods. Their thoughts were ultimately of great importance for thousands of years to come. It is their courage that built their personalities and created a culture that has sustained morality for generation upon generation.
道之所在,虽千万人吾往矣 ()
他重视伦理学,认为“美德就是知识” ,把一生的智慧、精力和时间用于与人对话,辩证对方思想语言中的逻辑错误,目的是教人收敛哲学和科学的知识带给自己的狂傲,做一个有知识、守法律、敬神灵的雅典公民。他孜孜不倦的传授知识,许多有钱人家和穷人家的子弟常常聚集在他周围,向他学习请教。
“公民们!我尊敬你们,我爱你们,但是我宁愿听从神,而不听从你们; ……我不做别的事情,只是劝说大家,敦促大家,不管老少,都不要只顾个人和财产,首先要关心改善自己的灵魂,这是更重要的事情。我告诉你们,金钱并不能带来美德,美德却可以给人带来金钱,以及个人和国家的其他一切好事。这就是我的教义。……我是决不会改变我的行径的,虽万死而不变!”
    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

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