Learn From Man But Neither Worship Him Nor Allow Him To Enslave Your Mind – Part 1

Are we all too quick to worship and follow men who we have labeled as great?

Why is it such a big surprise to us when men, who are widely regarded as great, turn out to be a hypocrite, charlatan, or have so many skeletons in the closet you can hear them rattling a mile away? Why are we so shocked? Aren’t they human too despite the flattering opinions we wish to lavish on these godlike figures?

Admittedly, we can all sometimes become mesmerised and then attached to these shining examples of humanity, which can inadvertently make us forget about our own important role to play in life.

These legendary men, who in most cases take the moral high ground, can sometimes be found guilty of not practicing what they preach.

In a series of six posts, I will try to pull down the veil of perfection that protects 6 great thinkers in history, as I reveal their own, and perhaps unflattering, mortal afflictions.

To all Women looking for a Husband: Steer clear of any bald, pug-nosed men who go around speaking in riddles

Let’s now start this roster of knaves with ancient philosopher Socrates, as we take a humorous look at this wise but irresponsible of characters who has played such a pivotal role in encouraging us to embrace philosophy so that we can eventually know ourselves.

#1. Socrates

Who could blame Socrates's wife, Xanthippe, for being so fed up with her good for nothing husband that she poured water on his head? Well...I think it was water

The so-called father of philosophy was too lazy to write anything down and there isn’t too much in the way of information on Socrates’ life other than what we can garner from dodgy eyewitness accounts recorded in the writings of his star, and perhaps biased, disciples Plato and Xenophon.

Looking beneath the surface, however, revealed that old Socrates was somewhat negligent towards family duties.  Socrates wasn’t a man you would exactly call a model husband or father, as on most days he left his apparently unfortunate wife Xanthippe to look after family matters on her lonesome.

The reason for Socrates’ apparent Houdini act, was that he was too busy searching for “Truth” on the streets of Athens, whereby he would choose to spend his time interrogating any citizen he thought held false beliefs and attitudes.

Admittedly, it has also been said that Socrates had the most tempestuous of wives and the most ungrateful of sons that would be enough to drive a saint to murder, or even into a gorgeous man’s strong arms (you will no doubt see the relation to Socrates later). So who could blame Socrates for wanting to bolt out of the house every morning to stay out until the late hours gossiping about life’s big questions with his half-naked pals down the local baths.

Socrates once said,

“Nothing can harm a good man, either in life or after death.”

Nothing may harm a good man, but I’m sure most women would cause serious harm to a bad husband by nagging him to death.  So maybe Socrates was not as wise as Plato made him out to be – because if he were so wise, I’m sure he would have chosen to avoid much agro at home by pulling his weight from time to time –  that’s what I’d have done to keep the missus sweet.

Another controversy that is never discussed was about Socrates’ sexuality – he use to surround himself with many attractive young men who admired and respected him for his wisdom and method of questioning.  There are many dialogues in the books of Plato which seem to intimate Socrates having more than a feeling of friendship toward a certain handsome lad called Alcibiades.

So there’s a distinct possibility that Socrates was also in the closet regarding his sexual orientation.  Personally, I don’t give a damn who the married Socrates was sleeping with, as long as the person he had eyes for (man or woman) was of consenting age – although, there isn’t any hard evidence (I know what you’re thinking, so get your mind out of the gutter) to suggest he ever acted upon his impulses and desires…yeah, right.

In the coming second post of a 6 part series, it will be the turn of another all-time great, Mahatma Gandhi, to step forward out of the lineup of featured felons.

4 Comments

  1. Socrates also took quite a beating at Aristophane’s hands who portrayed him less than flatteringly as an ineffectual pie-in-the-sky daydreamer, a navel-watcher

  2. Jason Cooper says:

    Who knows? Aristophane’s caricuture of Socrates could have been a true portrayal of the guy, as opposed to Plato’s (and perhaps biased) view.

    In any case, we will always get half-truths from those who write history. If I ever met Socrates, I may have found him to be rather annoying and pretentious…no wonder most of Athens wanted him locked up.

  3. fatima da says:

    Hi Jason, I wouldn’t want to call myself a fan of the ancient philosopher Socrates , ..but having read right through this post I have enjoyed your take to should I say Socrates ways of being during his life ..Great post

  4. Jason Cooper says:

    Hi Fatima, although you may not be a fan, there is much you can learn from the old boy regarding questioning everything you are led to believe is true.

    All I wanted to show in this post is that even great men are human. Watch out for 5 more so-called great men to be featured in the series.