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I subscribe to this and came across something for you here who seem to be well read and learned people,thought maybe it would fit somehow.

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Go to the profile of Berny Belvedere

Berny BelvedereFollow
Editor-in-Chief of Arc Digital | Contributor to @WashingtonPost and others | Professor of Philosophy

May 11·8 min read


Death of a Philosopher

What did Socrates, in his final days, reveal to us about the Great Unknown?

Coming some four hundred years before the man who taught his followers to drink a cup in order to live, Socrates drank a cup in order to die.

But before he received this anti-Eucharist, the infused hemlock, Socrates publicly ruminated on the nature of death to his fellow Athenians.

Plato, Socrates’ most famous pupil, captured these speeches in his work The Apology, which in this case means legal and philosophical defense rather than a petition for forgiveness.

The Internet Classics Archive | Apology by Plato

Apology by Plato, part of the Internet Classics Archive
In the Apology, Plato records Socrates defending himself against the charges of impiety and corruption, which stemmed from Socrates allegedly encouraging the Athenian youth “not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges, but some other new divinities.”

In the course of his apologia, Socrates offers two arguments about death. But before we can get to those we need to reacquaint ourselves with Socrates’ self-conception, which is the key to understanding his philosophy.

The Wisest Of Them All

When the Oracle of Delphi proclaimed him the wisest man of all, Socrates did not take this to suggest he had greater expertise or more advanced knowledge than the others. Quite the opposite — he was proclaimed the wisest because, unlike the so-called experts, Socrates knew that he didn’t know.

Athens, pretty much like all societies before it and all societies since, boasted its own set of experts in every conceivable field — morality, politics, religion, beauty, etc. Yet Socrates understood something about these experts. He noticed that when pressed, although they would be able to rattle off an example or two about their subject of expertise (“What is beauty, you ask? Well, the Parthenon.”), they would find themselves utterly unable to articulate the essence of the subject itself.

In other words, Socrates found that when their expertise came under scrutiny, it was clear they didn’t really know what they claimed to know. Socrates, on the other hand, claimed not to know, and in that very way knew more than they!

In fact, Plato’s dialogues, which feature Socrates as the voice of reason, are structurally arranged to draw out this discrepancy. In order to do so, they typically follow this pattern:

1. Socrates meets with a so-called expert.

2. Socrates questions the so-called expert.

3. The so-called expert finds himself unable to respond to Socrates in a philosophically adequate manner.

4. The so-called expert is shown to not actually know what he is claimed to know.

Though the Apology’s structure is importantly different than the majority of the other Platonic dialogues, in one sense it’s the same: the central conflict is between Socrates and a pretender to knowledge. His main accuser is Meletus, whom Socrates addresses, and embarrasses, early on.

Socrates’ First Argument Concerning Death

In the course of refuting the charges brought against him, Socrates offers the first of his two arguments regarding death.

1. Death should be feared if and only if it is known to be bad.

2. Neither he nor anyone else knows that death is bad.

3. Death shouldn’t be feared.

Socrates calls fear of death “the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being the appearance of knowing the unknown,” adding that “no one knows whether death, which they in their fear apprehends to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.”

What are we to make of this argument?

It seems Socrates has a general principle in mind that is undergirding his first premise. Something like this: You should only fear that which you know is bad.

The idea is not that a person should fear everything he or she knows to be bad. Fear is just not a relevant emotion when it comes to certain experiences we would construe as bad ones. Having a headache is bad but not an occasion for fear.

The idea, rather, is that it is only legitimate to fear something when one has knowledge that it is bad. Since we don’t know that death is bad, we shouldn’t fear it. Fear should be reserved only for that class of experiences one is sure are bad ones.

Recall that for Socrates it is very important to not claim we know, or act as if we know, when we don’t really know.

This provokes us to ask a highly important question: What does it mean to know something? What separates knowledge from mere belief? Within Plato’s own writing we get the formula that has been dominant within philosophy for ages: knowledge is justified, true belief.

In other words, an item of knowledge is a belief that is true and that you are justified in having.

But notice that death is unlike other experiences in that it strips you of the very life you need to go on and evaluate it further. Miracles aside, there’s no coming back from it.

So using Plato’s own recipe for what constitutes knowledge, it seems we lack justification for being sure that death is either good or bad. When it comes to other experiences, the justification tends to come from someone — ourselves or others — undergoing the experience and then informing others about it. The reason that books such as Heaven Is For Real don’t satisfy the justification requirement is that they are not seen as trustworthy accounts.

This requirement is an important one. Consider two scenarios involving you at a game show. In both scenarios, you have to choose which door the treasure is behind: the first, second, or third door. In both scenarios, you choose door number two. In the first scenario, you choose that door because two is your lucky number. In the second scenario, you choose that door because your friend, who has always been trustworthy, works for the show and gives you insider information so that you’ll split the money with him later. The treasure is indeed behind door number two. Here’s the thing: in the first scenario, we wouldn’t call your belief that it’s behind door number two an instance of knowledge; but in the second scenario, we would.

What’s the difference? Justification.

So let’s give Socrates premise 2 — the real problematic principle is the one we said is bolstering premise 1: You should only fear that which you know is bad.

This principle seems obviously wrong.

Imagine you go on a roller coaster only to find out moments into its launch that the ride has killed 20 people in the past year — does Socrates think we have no grounds for fear in such a circumstance? Were folks wrong to fear a nuclear apocalypse during the height of the Cold War? We can think of innumerable scenarios that we don’t, strictly speaking, know are bad, yet we see fear as a perfectly legitimate response to them — and not just legitimate, but potentially helpful, too.

Socrates’ Second Argument Concerning Death

What about Socrates’ second argument?

Two things have happened since Socrates gave his first argument. He has been found guilty, and he has been sentenced to death.

Here’s his second argument:

1. Death is either like peaceful sleep, which is a good thing.

2. Or it involves joining a permanent community of heroes and philosophers, which is also a good thing.

3. Whichever of these it is, death is good.

It is interesting to note Socrates’ optimistic turn. In the first argument, our lack of knowledge about what happens after death was given as a check on our emotions; in this argument, Socrates explicitly finds room for a different sort of emotion: hope. He actually says “there is great reason to hope” that the conclusion, above, is true.

Earlier, reason did not supply us with grounds for fear; but now, reason apparently can supply us with grounds for hope.

Is Socrates simply engaged in wishful thinking here?

It appears so. How else should we interpret his decision to narrow the range of possibilities to just these two? Consider the inversion of premise 2: What if death involves joining a permanent community of cowards and simpletons? Why didn’t Socrates consider this as a possibility? This would certainly be a bad thing for him, one would think.

Or maybe not. Here’s Socrates just moments after producing his second argument concerning death: “no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”

Is it possible that Socrates is of the belief that even if our inverted version of premise 2 were to occur, he would still consider it a good? He might come to see it as an opportunity to teach the simpletons how to reason and the cowards how to become brave — he is, after all, a teacher.

Still, it’s hard to believe we wouldn’t be able to conceive of a scenario which even Socrates would view as bad. Imagine a neverending, Dante-inspired torture chamber. Good luck trying to find the silver lining in that scenario.

Even if we see Socrates as engaged in a bit of motivated reasoning — theorizing that death is either like dreamless sleep or like endlessly interesting conversations, both of which would be good things — there may be another issue with his reasoning.

Upon closer inspection, premise 1 appears to be highly problematic.

In the Apology, he writes that if death is “a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness,” then death is like “the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams.” That’s fine. So far, so good.

But then he says this would make death “an unspeakable gain.” How is he able to construe eternal sleep as good? He reasons that if you were to ask a person to evaluate which nights have been the most restful, that person would point to those undisturbed, peaceful, dreamless instances of sleep.

Here’s the critical problem with this reasoning: the very element that makes an instance of peaceful sleep a good thing is the resulting experience of feeling refreshed, feeling well-rested, feeling reenergized. Apart from this, there is nothing about peaceful sleep that one can legitimately characterize as good, unless you think unconsciousness or lack of existence is good, which Socrates did not, and Plato certainly did not.

So, even granting Socrates’ naive narrowing of death to those two possibilities, the first of those should not be characterized as good since it is missing the very feature that would generate its goodness.

In a way, these arguments work in the exact opposite way than they were intended. That Socrates produced two of his worst arguments while facing the prospect of death should not be lost on us.

The first argument concludes that we shouldn’t fear death — yet if the possibility of death could get Socrates to reason this poorly, maybe we should fear it greatly! The second argument concludes that death is a good thing — yet if his own imminent death could get Socrates to rule out equiprobable, though far less desirable, possibilities, maybe we should rage, after all, against the dying of the light!





Go to the profile of Berny Belvedere

Berny Belvedere

Medium member since Mar 2017

Editor-in-Chief of Arc Digital | Contributor to @WashingtonPost and others | Professor of Philosophy


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Two things:

1 — Socrates’ Contradiction

Socrates says we shouldn’t make assumptions about things we don’t know, and then proceeds to make an assumption about something he doesn’t know. He announces we shouldn’t fear death because no one has any idea what happens after, and then he declares it must be…

Read more…


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Health / Re: Cayce’s Home Remedies
« Last post by Eagle on June 23, 2017, 07:43:55 AM »

Potatoes and Eyesight

    A.R.E. members call us often with a variety of problems.  One such woman, a 57-year-old diabetic, was losing her sight due to retinal hemorrhages that were resistant to therapy.  Her vision had become so bad that she had to quit work.  She confided to me (as she probably had not to her doctor) that she had not followed her diet, and felt quite discouraged.  I emphasized that a constructive diet needs to be followed persistently and consistently, and told her how to use a potato poultice.  She was to take a raw potato (like one uses for baking) and after washing, scrape - not peel - the potato onto a piece of cloth until there is a little mound of mushy material large enough to separate into two parts.  Lifting the cloth with both hands, the mounds of potato peel were to be placed on the closed lids of both eyes.  This is left in place for fifteen to thirty minutes, and then the dried material is washed off with boric acid water.  She was to do this once a day, while paying strict attention to her diet.

    Three months later she wrote me that she had followed the suggestions exactly, and had been on the prayer list at Virginia Beach for the three months.  She had just returned to work, and was very happy.  One eye was much improved, and she said (with a twinkle in her eye?) that the other eye "needs a little more potatoes."

[Note: The preceding case report was written by William McGarey, M. D. and is excerpted from The A.R.E. Journal, March, 1975, Volume 10, No. 2, page 84,
Think on These Things / Re: Think on These Things
« Last post by Eagle on June 23, 2017, 07:43:04 AM »
Think on This

If the experiences are ever used for self-indulgence, self-aggrandizement... each entity does so to its own undoing…

Dreams and Visions / Re: dreams
« Last post by windfeather on June 23, 2017, 06:16:27 AM »
And another strange dream last night,
I was walking around on a winter's morning in what appeared to be a rather poor neighbourhood, when i noticed a fish floating through the air.
It was a nice looking fish, with glittering silver scales, shaped like a trout, 3-4 feet in length, but it seemed to be struggling to stay air born, it would come down and land, and as i approached it would wiggle and become air born again.
Eventually i was able to walk up and grab it by the tail, it wiggled a bit but seemed exhausted, and i threw it over my shoulder.
I walked a couple of blocks and gave the fish to some people that were happy to take it.  The people had fallen on hard times and said they were being evicted because they couldn't pay the rent.
Next i find myself in a different neighbourhood in a large store and i am confronting the landlord. The landlord snapped at me as i calmly made an appeal regarding the people being evicted.
I don't know what was the end result, the dream ended there.
« Last post by littlebet on June 23, 2017, 12:57:33 AM »
I prefer messages from the Lord.
You can't believe everything the news media says about Trump. Most of the things they say are lies. I believe God is watching over our country now.So many are praying for it.
Chit-Chat / Re: Has Anyone Else Noticed
« Last post by Mairin on June 22, 2017, 07:51:11 PM »
When I started this thread a year ago and put it in the chit chat forum, I did that mainly because I had a hard time deciding where it should go, and I thought it was an interesting subject and sign of the times.

Now, to just abandon it is anxiety inducing, so this is an attempt to steer the thread back in its original direction so it can have a more dignified descent into obscurity. 

This past weekend, I was watching The Last Man on Earth … an episode from season 3 that shows life before and during the fictional virus for one wealthy lady and her surroundings. News coverage of the first president (followed by many others) to succumb to the virus, was Pence.

Just found it kind of interesting.

Anyway, back to the sun…

And the arc light

bow and the arc of the rain

I was viewing a video on this general subject this morning and reading the comments, which gave my heart a little lift

…many people questioning or commenting on the position of the sun rise …here in June…and its more northerly bend.

One dream that has been in the back of my mind for the past couple of weeks.

It was of a lion, which is a dream symbol that has shown up for me over the years.

This time, a large, male lion frolicking along the shoreline of a large body of water.

Does it mean anything?

When I look back on many dreams I've had over the years…some point to this mystery tugging on the poles.

…the earth stands as a monument to mercy

that lion


 … the line of liberty, which we crossed years ago, passing through a spiral arm of the galaxy takes 10 million years

and as we pass

Increased cosmic rays, increased likelihood of nearby supernova, asteroids, comets, planets and stars, all participants in the metamorphosis.

Damn exciting   :)

Dreams and Visions / Re: dreams
« Last post by windfeather on June 22, 2017, 08:53:56 AM »
you brighten my morning!
last night's dream
without going into too much detail
something has recently happened at work
i was suddenly let go after many years
and there is a bit of litigation pending
anyway i really wanted to know
who has taken my place
and last night i had a dream
in which i saw the new people at work in action
i won't know if my dream was accurate
not yet, but i can't wait to find out!
fortunately i have another source of income
and faith that rippples in life are for a reason
Health / Re: Cayce’s Home Remedies
« Last post by Eagle on June 22, 2017, 08:17:26 AM »
Healing Arthritis - Peanut Oil and Castor Oil

    Biochemical bases of understanding the functioning of the human body may have been adequate for the mind of the physician for many years here in the western part of the world, but it can no longer stand the test of experience, reason, and pure logic.  For instance, how can oil achieve a healing effect?  Witness these two stories, both of which deal with arthritis:

    From Pittsburgh, Pa., I quote this: "In reading Jess Stearn's Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet, I noted with much interest his references to arthritis and the use of pure peanut oil.  As a rheumatoid arthritic I have found it to be of great benefit to my condition.  After using peanut oil as a massaging oil for several years, I have to agree with Cayce's belief that it not only lubricates but heals as well.  I am sure that had I known about the oil in this use I would have been spared much misery.  Why isn't the use of peanut oil to reduce joint inflammation and pain in arthritis better known?  Does the medical profession spurn it as a home remedy?"

    From California: "Mother had arthritis so bad she was committed to the hospital.  She was there for two weeks and released with no apparent help.  The arthritis was centered in her fingers which were doubled back in her palms - she didn't think she would be able to open up her fingers again.  Father brought her home and started a treatment of hot castor oil - rubbing her hands, arms, and shoulders and legs three times a day.  Within a period of three to four months her condition improved to the extent she could walk, use her arms, and her hands straightened out and today she is completely cured.  She was 76 years old when she was at her worst and is now 81."

[Note: The preceding report was provided by William McGarey, M. D. and is excerpted from The A.R.E. Journal, May, 1972, Volume 7, No. 3, page 109, Copyright © 1972 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]

Think on These Things / Re: Think on These Things
« Last post by Eagle on June 22, 2017, 08:15:40 AM »
Think on This

For your smile can make the whole day glad for many.

#EdgarCayce reading 1206-13
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