I have no desire to write this communication. Socrates, my teacher and friend, asked that I write for both of us."You know me as well as I know myself, dear friend," he informed me. "When you write of me, remember my one axiom was to know thyself.
".I, Plato, am amused that he would say thus. Great were his oratories, his lectures, and most of all, his interrogation of the Sophists. He rallied wherever there was an ear. Only in the presence of his wife did he remain in a 'dumb' state.
Many times she pulled him from a public lecture or debate to accost him for being idle."It is not true, what you speak, Plato. I was not idle. My work was to teach, thus I did so. Did I not teach you? You, who became the writer with books read through all these many generations. I have no books, only the statues I sculpted as a young man.
I have no written work."."Yes, Socrates, but you have given more than the written word. You produced the ideas, you taught great men who were to inscribe the words for posterity.".I am amused.
He directs me to relate the information, which I do not wish to do, then he interrupts me with his comments. It is as it was. When we were together in the great halls of Athens, he would bid me to begin the oratory, and then proceed to question me until he was conducting the speech.
"I questioned to learn my own thoughts, Plato. The mind is stimulated by debate. Did my questions not stir you to greater thoughts?"."True, Socrates, in the ten years we were together you assaulted my mind. You were always the leader, I the follower. Even at your death I would have followed you, drunk the hemlock with you, but you persuaded me to carry on, to write your philosophies.
"."Yes Plato, but you left Athens, the center of learning and went to Syracuse, cursed city of neglected intelligence."."I could not remain in Athens after you were forced to take your life, dear Socrates. I went to Syracuse after leisure travel through Italy to Egypt, only after repeated requests from Dionysius, the ruler.".
"What did he do? He sold you as a debtor."."I was given my freedom by a faithful benefactor and returned to Athens to continue my work."."Ahh, do I have silence for a brief moment? Have you no retort, Socrates? Good,then I shall continue the text, as I was asked to do.
".After my return to Athens I was given the opportunity to start an Academy where I taught young students among the gardens and trees. Always I attempted to teach them the importance of classifying one's thoughts in order to think logically. My greatest pupil was Aristotle, who became my trusted companion for many years. To him I handed down the teachings of Socrates and my own thoughts about life.
It was my firm belief that the sate should be governed by an authority that would grant equality to all.I felt that people would work well if they were assigned to a labor they had a talent for and enjoyed doing.I believed in equality. I had been fortunate to be born into a family of wealth, which my friend Socrates was not, still, I felt not superior to him or to any human.
I might have been gifted by the design of the Creator to learn, write and teach, but others too were gifted, to carve, build, harvest and create.Even a blind many can learn to play a lute and give music to his neighbors. A crippled one can learn to weave and make fine clothes for others.I believed that women were not inferior to men, except perhaps in strength. Socrates's mother was a nurse and midwife who supplemented his father's stone cutting income.
In my dialogue, "The Republic", I extolled the virtue of woman. I deplored that a woman should be forced into a marriage against her will. To have or not have a child was for her to decide, not a husband or ruling authority."May I intercede at this point, Plato?"."You will with or without my approval.".
"I owe you a debt of gratitude for preserving my teaching in Athens after I had been labeled a heretic and forced to drink Hemlock. Most of all though, I wish to commend you on your expanded consciousness. You took my humble beliefs and combined them with your own.
Frequently I have been given credit for philosophies that were yours."."It is of no consequence, my friend. Surely the seed of the idea was planted by you."."Just as you planted the seeds in Aristotle, who expanded on them.
"."There is one major seed of an idea that should be passed on to all generations,Socrates."."What might that be?"."To know thyself."..Mary Bradley McCauley is a writer in no particular genre. Her articles, short stories, essays, poems, travel bits, and 'thinking about' series have been published and well received. Her metaphysical novel, "The House of Annon" has been one of her writing highlights.After the nomadic life of the military with its countless moves, Ms. McCauley lived in FL for 27 years and recently retired in Franklin TN.
A former Army Brat, Army Wife and Group Tour Travel Advisor, she claims her first love is being with her grandchildren and second is communicating in any way, shape or form.
By: Mary McCauley