The great conversation

As Marcus stood upon the Stoa Poikile, he would have gazed across the Agora where Socrates once discussed philosophy, and where he was later put on trial, imprisoned, and executed. Beyond the Agora, Marcus would have seen the Temple of Athena known as the Parthenon. At that time a colossal statue of the goddess of wisdom looked down on Athens, from atop the Acropolis. Most of the drama of Socrates’ life had unfolded within the bounds of the Agora, under the gaze of Athena.

~ Donald Robertson from, https://donaldrobertson.name/2022/06/27/marcus-aurelius-on-socrates-2/

My title is a reference to, The Great Conversation, a book I’ve recently started reading. I’m not particularly interested in learning all of Philosophy, but I am interested in how those threads in which I am interested weave together. I’ve always found interesting the little bits of Socrates and his ideas which I’ve come across. I’m clearly interested in Stoicism (and a few historical figures who were its ancient proponents.) Robertson’s article is a fun exploration of Aurelieus’s interest in Socrates—he just missed Epictetus, and Socrates was already a historical figure. All of history, and so also Philosophy, is a conversation woven together, layered, erased and re-woven, re-relayered, and erased.

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Happiness

Pleasure, luxury—these things you call happiness, but I think that to wish nothing is the happiness of god, and when you wish to have only small things, then you make yourself closer to this divine and high happiness.

~ Socrates

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But if you ask them

You know, Phaedrus, that is the strange thing about writing, which makes it truly correspond to painting. The painter’s products stand before us as though they were alive. But if you question them, they maintain a majestic silence. It is the same with written words. They seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say from a desire to be instructed they go on telling just the same thing forever.

~ Socrates

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Avoiding unrighteousness

The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; For that runs faster than death. I am old and move slowly, and the slower runner has overtaken me, and my accusers are keen and quick, and the faster runner, who is unrighteousness, has overtaken them. And now I depart hence condemned by you to suffer the penalty of death, and they too go their ways condemned by the truth to suffer the penalty of villainy and wrong; And I must abide by my award—let them abide by theirs.

~ Socrates

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One tongue

Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue – to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.

~ Socrates

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