What he said at his trial probably didn't help:
"I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes 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, I am a mischievous person."Socrates wasn't a Christian, or a Jew. Our Lord was born about four centuries after the Greek philosopher drank hemlock.
"When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you to 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, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands."
(Socrates, from "Apology," Plato's account of the trial of Socrates (Translated by Benjamin Jowett))
Nobody forced poison down Socrates' throat: but I'm not sure whether his death was quite "suicide." He'd been told to kill himself, after a trial which apparently followed Athenian judicial standards.
About suicide: I think it's a bad idea. I've had the impulse occasionally, but decided that there's no future in it. Depression, and an autism spectrum disorder, made — makes — my life interesting. (December 14, 2014)
It's also treatable, and there's help available for those of us with suicidal thoughts: like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255) / 800-273-8255 — a free, 24/7 service that can provide suicidal persons or those around them with support, information and local resources. (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline / www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
Where was I? Socrates, hemlock, bad ideas. Right.
My first suicidal impulse came in my teens. At the time, I decided that I could last longer than the pain: and it turns out, I was right. It's no great virtue on my part. I'm very stubborn, and could apply what I'd learned about enduring physical pain to the psychological version.
When I became a Catholic, I learned more about why suicide is a bad idea. Briefly, I'm responsible for my life; it's a gift from God, and I don't have the authority to end it. Besides, it's not just about me. Other folks might be affected, too. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2280-2282)
However, if someone tells you that your child/spouse/relative/friend is in Hell because he or she committed suicide: that's not what the Church says:
"We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives."Now, something Socrates didn't say.
I'm getting to the age when I could complain about 'kids these days,' and how wonderful. the 'good old days' were.
I won't, and Socrates probably didn't either. That famous Socrates quote about the younger generations dates from the mid-1960s:
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."It's actually a bowdlerized version of lines 961–985 of "The Clouds," Aristophanes' comedy: spoken by a satiric version of Socrates. Amsterdam's mayor, Gijsbert van Hall, apparently quoted the lines from "The Clouds" following a street demonstration in 1966.
(Socrates didn't say this)
The New York Times ran a story quoting the mayor's quote of "Socrates" April 3, 1966, on page 16: and the quote-of-a-paraphrased-satire entered American culture. (Wikipedia, Bartleby.com)
I'll be back tomorrow morning, with another topic: more or less.
Posts about depression and dealing with life's rough days; weeks; months; decades - - -
- " 'Months of Misery' and Job's Friends"
(February 8, 2015)
- "Suicide, Sin, and Dealing with Depression"
(December 14, 2014)
- "Joy and Standing Orders"
(October 5, 2014)
- "Robin Williams, Suicide, and Hope"
(August 17, 2014)