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60 second interview with Socrates

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(Questions are Imaginary; answers are from Plato’s Dialogues and Xenophon’s writings)

Sir , Who are you?

“I am not an Athenian nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

Socrates, you were accused by the authorities in Athens that you spoiled the youths. The second accusation against you was that you denied the established gods and introduced strange divinities. What did you say in the court?

“Esteemed friend, citizen of Athens, the greatest city in the world, so outstanding in both intelligence and power, aren't you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige--while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry?”

Did you corrupt the youth by your teachings?
I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think. To find yourself, think for yourself.
The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.

You are one of the greatest philosophers. The Oracle of Delphi told that you were the wisest.
Did you agree?

I know one thing, that I know nothing.

Did you learn Hindu Upanishads? Your philosophy sounds similar to our philosophy.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. Know thyself.
All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine
An honest man is always a child.

We understand that your wife was very rude to you. One day she scolded you for lecturing. When you did not stop, she poured on you a bucket full of water. Shakespeare in his play “Taming of the Shrew” mentions your wife’s rudeness. What did you say to your friends then?

You heard thunder and now it is raining.

It looks like you wouldn’t advise any youth to get married. Is it correct?

By all means marry; if you get good wife, you will become happy; if you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher.

Socrates, you had a sense of humour. Out of the 501 juries in the court only 281 supported your conviction and death sentence. What did you say about it in your three speeches?

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?”

“I am surprised that only by a small majority I was convicted and sentenced to death. I knew the outcome already. My conviction was a foregone conclusion. I am old. I have to die soon. I am not scared of death.”

O, philosopher, you have not left us any book written by you. Whatever we know is through the writings of your friends Plato, Crito and Xenophon. What did you think about friendship?

Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.

Socrates, you said something about the youths of your time 2500 years ago. That is what we also say today. What did you say?

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannise their teachers.

Socrates, you must visit our university campus and see how my colleagues use the mobile phones. You are absolutely right. My teachers will give you a rousing welcome for this statement. What is your view on poverty and suffering?

“If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

What is your advice to our people?

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”

“Envy is the ulcer of the soul.”

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

“Thou should eat to live; not live to eat.”

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature”.

O, You sound like our Gandhi. He also advised us to live with minimum needs. What did you say to Crito before you died?

Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?

Dear Arunkumar
Thanks for your comments.
I have Adi Shankara, Swami Vivekananda ,Sathya Sai Baba and Sri Krishna (ONE MINUTE BAGAVAD GITA) in English.
In addition 20 interviews in Tamil including Kamban and Kannadasan.
Please read them.
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