The Idealistic Road
Jeremy Lu, Division 2, 7th grade #ws18e-s1d2

Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, used an analogy to describe a world in which a closed-minded person barely sees through as a hollow, shadowy cave blocked off from the sunlight; the humans in this cave ignorantly live out their bland, inevitably eternal lives until one out of the bunch gets curious and saunters out of the cave to see all sorts of scintillating hues, the emerald trees, and the azure sky. Furthermore, the individual spreads the word of his expedition to all his blinded cave people.

Throughout my life, I was constantly searching for something that can stimulate my curiosity and understanding of the world. After stumbling upon and developing an interest for philosophy, I started researching and discovering a world of enlightened knowledge unburned by ignorance and prejudice. What I noticed was that most of the philosophers themselves were deeply despised and not believed by others because the masses to which they preached their philosophy were unwilling to give up their prejudices and fictions for the truth. As I dug deeper, I became more cognizant of the fact that although most of them accepted death from those who detested them and were open-minded to where they were going next after death, in actuality they did not “die”. Their ideas lived on, and many people today get to understand and analyze what they meant and what their intentions were.

Socrates, the Greek philosopher who focused on morals and ethical reasoning, was and always will be a substantial character of ancient history. His ultimate goal was for the people of his time to realize the corruption in themselves as well as the corruption in their government. He gazed down a road that no one else could at the time, and woke others up during this era as a gadfly. When a gadfly wakes up the horse, the horse refuses to accept the change and swats at the fly until it meets its demise; thus ending it all, before it goes back to its apathetic sleep. Similarly in Socrates’s execution in 399 B.C.E, Socrates was put on trial for impiety and corrupting the youth as the adults of this era disapproved of his logical, just approach in proving them wrong; this was to wake them up from their ignorance that was mistaken for “wisdom”. This ignorance that people possessed was - for Socrates- their desire for having more materialistic interests and manipulating others; as opposed to living in moderation and discovering the truth of our existence. Many believed themselves to be of important roles of society - when in reality they did not even know what it meant to truly execute and understand their roles. He demonstrated this by having intellectual debates with political figures by asking questions that were over simplistic. However, these questions still proved these political figures to be totally absent-minded about the outside world around them. This process of inquiry is called the Socratic Method. From personal experiences, I have learned from Socrates and his methods that an impetuous claim has many imperfections to it that can lead to many misunderstandings, so I frequently say the truth in order to have more compelling statements that I truly believe in.

Socrates is not only admirable, his words are truthful; as they bring out corruption and help others examine that corruption - just like a dissection of a frog, in which the true insides are brought out and are inspected thoroughly. In “The Apology” by Plato, Plato is a witness to Socrates’s defense when he is put on trial for execution. As Socrates was a prideful man, he decided to stay in Athens and prove the reasons why executing him would hurt the people of Athens more than himself. He was completely open to the idea of death because no one actually knew the consequences or the opportunities death provided for them beyond their eyes. The wise, 71 year old man stated that he would not use any fancy, pleasant sounding words to anyone in the jury or beg for forgiveness and lie that he was of wrongdoing; he declared to the Greek assembly that he would just speak the truth about his insight on the people of the world at the time. As an average human being, I respect the fact that he had the impossible courage and devotion to put his life on the line for his beliefs. I respect how he entertains thoughts and portrays them with his straightforward and absolute words. I respect that he is more wise than the rest because of the fact that he is not wise. As the man paradoxically stated, “I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”

In the end, the majority of the cave people in the imaginative world were averse to the reality of the outside world; in fact, some may have refused to believe in the idea. Correspondingly, they did not see a better life than to glare at the looming shadows of the cave. The adventurers that went outside of the cave were considered philosophers, because they aimed for an idealistic road - the path in which Socrates walked down. This road eventually lead to the reality, the dream you end up in when you wake up. I hope to strive down this path, in order to explore our existence, the rights and the wrongs, and the truth about our reality. I strive to be someone in the future - even if he is hated - that wakes others up from their everlasting slumber. That way they can also join me on this idealistic road to the absolute truth, reality.
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