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苏格拉底的申辩

2011-10-25  昵称79887...

苏格拉底的申辩
柏拉图
啊,雅典人,你们听到我的原告们讲话时感觉怎样,我不知道,但是我知道我自己,我是几乎被他们那富有说服力的语言给搞得简直都忘了自己姓什么了——他们是真厉害,几乎没说一句实话就能取得的这样的效果。虽然他们说了很多假话,让我为之倾倒的却只有一句——我是说他们居然警告你们, 听我说话的时候要小心,不要被我的雄辩所蒙蔽!他们真应该为这话感到惭愧,因为我在这方面的缺陷一开口说话就可以看出来。如果他们说雄辩的力量,说的是真理令人信服的力量,那么我承认我是雄辩的;而如果不是,我只能说这些人很无耻。但是我这样的雄辩和他们的雄辩是多么不一样啊!你看,就像我刚才说的,他们几乎没有说一句真话,或者不会多过一两句真话,但是你从我这儿得到的,将是完全的事实,我不会像他们那样玩弄一些美丽的辞藻, 其实那没有一点趣味。我决对不会的, 我想到什么就说什么。因为我确信这是对的, 我也觉得像我这把年龄了,不应该在你们眼里看起来象个年轻的演说家似的,大家别指望我那么无聊!而且我对你们大家有一个请求,是这样子:如果你们听到我在我的辩护中间用我平时习惯用的那些说法, 就像你们在市场上, 在造币场或者其他什么地方会听到的那样, 我希望你们不要觉得吃惊, 更不要因此打断我。因为我也七十多了, 还是第一次到法庭上来, 我对这儿说话做事的方式完全都不了解,所以我希望你们把我当成一个外乡人, 如果这个外乡人说话带着他的乡音,你们会原谅他。我觉得这不是一个过分的要求。永远不要太在乎说话的方式,说话的方式有的好, 有的不好。你们应该注意的是我的话是否合乎正义,对这个一定要留心!让讲话的人真实地讲话,让裁决者公正地做出裁决。
首先,我需要回答的是很早以前针对我的指控和那些指控我的人,然后我会回答后来才出现的那些。其实一直有很多人指责我,那些原来指责我的人,他们虚假的控诉已经持续了很多年了,跟现在的阿内图斯还有他的伙伴们比起来,我更怕原来那些人。 阿内图斯的指控也很危险,但是更危险的是另位一些人,从你们还是小孩子的时候, 就开始用他们的谎言占据你们的理智,他们说有一个叫苏格拉底的家伙,一个智者,这个人沉思冥想天上地下种种稀奇古怪的东西,专门用来颠倒黑白。这些是我所害怕的指控者。因为他们散布这种谣言,而听到这些谣言的人又会很容易相信他们说的人是不信神的。其实散步这些谣言的人挺多的,时间也特别久远了,他们对你们说这些话的时候很容易形成一些成见,因为那时候你们只是孩子,或者是年轻人, 再加上这些话都是背后说的, 没有人会提出什么反对意见。最难办的事,我也不知道这些人是谁,也说不上他们的名字,好像我能记得的就只有一个喜剧诗人。这些误导你们的诽谤者,当然其中一些人自己也是相信他们给你们说的话的, 反正他们所有人吧, 是特别难对付的, 因为我不能把他们揪出来,面对面的讲个清楚。我在给自己辩护的时候也象跟一些影子打架一样,只能在没有人回应的情况下进行。我希望大家能确定一点:指控我的人有两种:一种是当前的,一种是从前的,我希望先回答从前的那些指责, 因为你们听到那些话比其他的早得多,次数也多得多。
好了,现在我将开始为自己辩护,我将在被允许的时间范围内尽力消除你们对我的不良印象,你们有这些坏印象已经很久了。如果消除这些误解对你我大家都有好处的话,我会尽力做的,希望我所的话会被你们接受。但是这好像也不是那么容易——我很清楚我想做的是什么。愿神意决定一切偶然,按照法律的意志我将给出我的辩护。
我将从头开始,回答最早的指责是怎样积聚成现在的诽谤,并且怎样导致麦利图斯提出对我的诉讼的。那些诽谤者说的是什么呢?他们是原告,我可以总结一下他们的起诉书里面写的:"苏格拉底是一个邪恶的人, 他有着不安分的好奇心,擅自研究天上和地底的事物,颠倒黑白并肆意传播他的邪说。"这就是他们诉讼的内容,也是你们从阿里斯托芬喜剧里可以看到的,那里面有一个叫苏格拉底的人,四处游逛并且说自己会腾云驾雾,而且不停地说一些荒唐事, 那些话涉及的东西根本就毫无所知, 我这么说也不是瞧不起自然哲学家, 麦利图斯把这种事情载在我身上, 我只能说很遗憾。事实其实很简单,雅典人啊, 我跟这些研究根本就没有任何关系, 在座的好多人都可以作证,我希望他们可以为我说句话,你们有谁听过我说过有关这一类研究的话,不管多少都算,请你站起来说!… 你们听到他们的回答了! 通过他们说的话, 你们可以自己判断其他的指控是不是真实的!
同样说我是一个老师并且通过传授别人赚钱的说法也是没有根据的,并不比上面那个指控更真实. 虽然我也认为, 如果一个人能当老师,我会因为他赚钱的本事而佩服他.这些人包括莱昂提乌姆的高尔吉亚, 塞俄斯的普洛蒂库斯, 埃里斯的西庇阿斯, 他们周游各个城邦, 说服年轻人离开同胞(也许从同胞那里什么也学不到)来到他们身边, 这些年轻人不止付给他们钱, 而且会觉得很感激他们会允许自己付钱. 在我们雅典定居的也确实有一个帕立安城来的哲学家我听说过的. 是这么听说的——我碰到了一个人,他在智者们身上花了数不清的钱, 这个人就是西伯尼库斯的儿子塞利阿斯. 我听说他有几个儿子, 就问他:"塞利阿斯啊" 当时我说"如果你的两个儿子是小马或者小牛的话, 你很容易就可以找到人可以教育他们, 比如说一个驯马师傅或者一个农民, 这个人可以教会小马小牛他们应该具有的美德和本领; 但现在他们是人, 你觉得什么人才适合来教育他们呢? 有没有人懂得人群中的和政治上的美德呢? 你肯定想过这个问题因为你有儿子, 到底有没有?" "有!"他回答说."那是谁呢?" 我问, "这个人来自哪里? 他收多少钱? " "帕立安城来的艾佛讷斯"他回答说"我说的人就是他, 他收的学费是五个米纳." "艾佛讷斯真幸福, "我心里说, "如果他真的有智慧,并且用这么低廉的价格传授给别人, 如果我也有同样的智慧, 我会为此而感到骄傲和自满, 但可惜的是我就是没这本事."
我敢肯定, 你们中间肯定有人会问,"苏格拉底呀, 这到底是怎么回事, 有那么多针对你的指责都是怎么来的? 你一定做过一些比较古怪的事吧? 如果你跟任何其他人都一样的话,你根本就不会有这么大的名声,别人也不会整天议论你的. 那么, 告诉我们事实的真相吧! 我们不想冤枉了你." 我会认为这是一个合理的要求, 我会尽力给你们解释这个所谓"智者"的名誉是怎么来的, 以及我如何得到了现在的恶名. 那就请注意听吧, 你们中间可能有人会认为我在开玩笑, 但我告诉你们: 我说的完全是事实. 雅典人, 我的名声来自于我所具有的某种智慧, 如果你问我这是怎样的一种智慧, 我会回答, 这种智慧是人能达到的那种, 在这个限度上我倾向于承认我是有智慧的, 但是我会刚才提及的那些人有一种超人的智慧, 这种智慧是我描述不出来的, 因为我没有那种智慧, 谁要是说我有的话, 谁就在说谎, 在歪曲我本来的样子. 啊, 雅典人, 现在我必须请求你们不要打断我, 即使我说的话, 看上去有一些夸张. 因为我将要说的话并不是我的意志, 我会告诉你一些有关我的智慧的事, 我是不是有什么智慧, 那是怎样一种智慧, 我会给你们一个值得信赖的证人, 这个证人就是德尔菲的神. 你们一定知道凯若冯, 他很早的时候是我的朋友, 也是你们大家的朋友, 因为他曾经因为我们国民的利益而被流放, 并且最终回到了你们中间. 好了, 就是这个凯若冯, 像你们知道的, 他做事一向是冒冒失失的, 就是这个冒失鬼跑到了德尔菲, 大胆的请求神告诉他--诸位, 我刚才说了你们大家不要打断我的--他请求神告诉他有没有人比我更有智慧, 神喻所的女巫告诉他说没有人比我更有智慧。 凯若冯已经去世了, 但是他的兄弟现在就在法庭上,可以证明这故事是真的。
我为什么提到这件事呢? 因为我想给你们解释我今天的坏名声是怎么来的。当时我听到这个回答的时候, 我对自己说:"神到底什么意思呢?"这个谜到底应该怎样解释。因为我知道我绝对不聪明, 大聪明小聪明全没有。 为什么他会说我是所有人中间最有智慧的呢?但他是神所以不会说谎,说谎会违背他的本性。 考虑了很久以后, 我最终想到一个检验这一问题的办法。我想我只要找到一个人比我自己更有智慧, 我就可以到神那儿拿出一个反例出来。我可以对他说:"你说我是最有智慧的, 但是这儿有一个人比我更有智慧" 于是我就找到一个传闻很有智慧的人, 名字我就不说了, 反正他是一位政治家, 我选他作为检验的对象, 结果是这样子:当我跟他谈话的时候,我自然而然的就觉得这个人并没有什么智慧, 虽然很多人都认为他很聪明而他自己尤其如此。于是我就开始试图向他说明虽然他自以为聪明, 但他并不是真的聪明, 结果就是他非常痛恨我, 当时在场听到我说话的几个人也同样对我产生了反感。于是我只好走开,对自己说:"虽然我和他我们两个都不真正懂得什么美丽的正义的东西, 我还是比他强一点, 因为他虽然一无所知, 却以为自己知道, 我同样一无所知, 却也没有认为自己知道什么。 从后面这点来讲, 我还是比他强一点点的。"于是我去找另外一个人, 这个人在哲学上的自负比前一个人更有过之, 但是我得出的结论却是完全一样的。我的敌人中间又多了这个人,以及他身边的一些人。
此后我去找过一个又一个的人, 我对自己引发的敌意也不是完全没有感觉的, 对此我也是心怀恐惧, 叫苦不迭, 但是我又必须担负这个责任, 因为这是神的旨意,神意总是要方在最高的位置考虑的。我对自己说:
一定要去找每一个认为自己知道些什么的人,找到神喻的真正含义.
我向你们发誓, 雅典人,以神圣的名义, 因为我必须告诉你们事实。我这个使命的结果是这样子:我发现人世间名声叫得最响的人恰恰是最无知的人, 其实有些看上去比他们差的人其实比他们好一些, 也更理智。我可以告诉你们说我的精神流浪也是一种"赫库勒斯的考验"式的东西, 我苦苦挣扎最后结果只是发现神、意是无可置疑的!当我离开政治家们之后, 我去找诗人, 悲剧诗人, 激情诗人, 各种各样的诗人。 本来我想, 在他们那儿你就会被驳倒了, 你会发现你比他们更无知。 于是我选了一些他们自己作品中间最精细的段落, 请教其中的含义, 以为他们会教我一些东西。 你们会相信我吗?我几乎都不好意思说这件事,不过还是说出来好一些, 恐怕在座的都很难找到一个人能把一部作品讲解得像他的作者讲得那么差的了, 这给了我一个例子让我想到诗人并不是靠智慧来写诗的, 他们要的是一种天才和灵感,他们就像神职人员和预言者一样,他们也说很多很好的话但是自己并不明白其中的含义。诗人的情况让我看来也是这样。 而且我发现因为他们诗歌的感染力他们认为自己是最明智的人, 即使在他们并不聪明的方面。 于是我又离开了他们, 因为我比他们高一点的地方而感到自满, 原因跟我比政治家高明一点一样。
最后我去找那些手工艺人,因为我意思到自己在哪些方面是完全一无所知的,而且我可以断定, 他们知道很多精细的手艺。这一点我也没有错, 他们确实知道一些我完全不懂的事, 在这点上他们绝对是比我聪明。 但是我也发现即使是最好的工匠也会犯和诗人同样的错误:因为他们是很好的手艺人他们就认为自己也了解很多更高级的事情,他们的这一缺陷是他们那点智慧相形见绌,所以我站在神喻的角度自问:"我是愿意象我原来那样, 既没有他们的智慧, 也没有他们的无知,或者在两方面都完全象他们一样。 我回答我自己, 还有神喻: 我宁愿象我原来一样,那样更好些。 "
这一调查导致我有很多最可怕最危险的敌人,也给造谣诽谤提供了很多的可乘之机,我被称为"有智慧"因为听我讲话的人总是以为我具有他们缺乏的那种智慧,但是事实是: 雅典人啊,只有神是智慧的, 在他的神喻中它实际上是说:"人的智慧是完全微不足道的, 他根本不是在说苏格拉底, 他只是用我的名字作为一个喻示, 就好像他对人们说:"那最有智慧的人, 就是象苏格拉底这样, 他知道自己什么都不知道。"于是我走我自己的路, 检验任何一个人的智慧,不管他是雅典公民还是外乡人, 只要他看上去有智慧。 如果他实际上不是, 我就通过告诉他他并不智慧来维护神喻。这件事占去了我太多的精力, 以至于我既不能从事公职也没有时间照管私事, 我因为我对神的虔诚过着极其贫穷的日子。
还有一件事:富贵人家的年轻人,平时也找不到什么事情做,自己就愿意到我身边来,他们喜欢听到那些暗藏虚假的人被揭穿, 而且他们也经常模仿我, 自己去检验一些其他的人,这个世界上有那么多的人, 他们总会很快找到自以为有几分头脑而实际上知道的很少乃至一无所知的人,被他们揭穿的人往往迁怒于我, "这个讨厌的苏格拉底,"他们会说,"这个阴险的毒害青年的家伙。"但是如果有人问起他们:"为什么?苏格拉底到底做了什么或者在给年轻人讲什么?"他们不知道, 当然说不出, 但是为了不表现的茫然不知所对, 他们就把现成的尘俗世界针对哲学家的误解全搬了出来, 比如说研究云中的和地底下的事物啦,或者宣扬无神论啦, 或者颠倒黑白啦, 如此云云, 他们不想承认自己的无知被我们揭穿了,而这正是事实。 因为他们人数众多, 野心勃勃, 又精力过剩, 加上团结一致组成战团,战团的每一成员又能言善辩, 他们就在你们耳边灌输他们喧嚣的重复的诽谤, 这也是我的三个原告,麦利图斯,阿内图斯和拉康为什么会起诉我的原因。麦利图斯曾站在诗人的一边与我争吵过,阿内图斯是为手工艺人说话的,拉康在修辞学家一边。就像我开始说的, 我不可能一下子就消除所有对我的诽谤,这些,雅典人啊, 就是事实, 全部的事实,我没有隐瞒任何东西, 没有掩饰任何东西, 我知道我说话坦诚直接让他们恨我, 但是他们的仇恨除了证明我所说的是事实之外还能说明什么?这是他们诽谤我的诱因和理由,你们从现在和以后的调查中都会发现这一点。
对我的第一种诽谤者我已经说的够多了,现在轮到第二种,当前以麦利图斯为首的这几个人。 麦利图斯自称是一个正直和爱国的人,现在我就开始试着在针对他们的控诉做出辩护。 这些现在原告还需要读一下他们的诉状。 看看里面讲了什么? 大致是这样子:苏格拉底为非作歹, 毒害青年, 不信城邦的神,他有自己对于神圣的信仰。这份控诉就是这样, 现在让我们看看具体到每一条:他说我为非作歹, 毒害青年, 但是要我说来, 雅典人啊, 麦利图斯才是在为非作歹, 因为他拿严肃的事情来开玩笑。 他轻易的就把别人送上法庭, 而动机仅仅是对于他自己毫不关心的事务做出的虚假的热诚, 我会证明我说的这些事情的真相。
到这里来, 麦利图斯, 让我问你几个问题。你很关心青年人的进步是吗?
是的!
那就请你告诉法官,谁可以促成青年人的进步, 你一定知道,因为你已经费了一些心力把毒害他们的人找到了, 并且你还在法官面前揭发和控诉我。 那就说吧!告诉法官谁可以促使他们进步。看那!麦利图斯, 你不说话, 你不知道该说什么, 但这不是很可耻吗?这恰恰证明了, 你对你拿来控诉别人的事务根本就毫不关心, 也不了解。开口说话!朋友, 告诉我们谁可以促成他们的进步。
法律。
但是, 尊敬的先生, 我问你的不是这个, 我问你是谁, 是哪些人, 是谁知道这些法律。
陪审团, 苏格拉底, 这个法庭的陪审团成员。
你要说的是, 麦利图斯, 他们可以教化青年和促成他们的进步?
他们当然可以。
什么? 你是说他们中的一些人, 还是所有人?
所有人。
以神的名义, 你真是带来了一个好消息, 有这么多可以促使我们青年人进步的人! 那你说所有这些听众呢?他们也会促近我们的青年人的健康成长吗?
是的, 他们会。
那元老院呢?
是的, 元老院也会。
那么也许公民大会成员会毒害我们的年轻人吗?或者你要告诉我他们也是能促使他们进步的?
他们也会促使青年人进步。
那你就是说任何一个雅典人都会提高他们,提拔他们, 只有我一个人例外, 只有我一个人在毒害青年, 这就是你的断言吗?
这是我坚决同意的!
如果这是真的我就太不幸了。 但是假设我问你一个问题, 你认为对一匹马来讲会是这样的吗?是不是全世界只有一个人会对一匹马有害而所有其它的人都会对他有利?或者是不是相反的情形才是事实。也许不是只有一个人可以对他有利,但至少不是很多人能做到,我说的是驯马师傅可以做对一匹马的发展有利的事情,而其他不懂得的人去驯马只能伤害他们。难道对于任何动物不都是这样子吗?当然是的! 不管你跟阿内图斯说"是"还是说"不是", 这根本都不重要。 如果全世界只有一个人会毒害青年而其他所有的人都会促进他们的成长我们的年轻人就太幸福了。事实不是这样的。 麦利图斯, 你已经充分展示了你对这一问题的无知, 你对自己起诉别人的事情根本就没有任何了解。
现在, 麦利图斯, 我必须再问你一个问题,是生活在好的公民中间好,还是生活在坏的公民中间好? 回答我,朋友, 这个问题很容易回答, 难道不是好的公民会给他周围的人带来好处, 坏的公民会损害别人吗?
当然是的。
有没有什么人希望周围的人都去伤害他而不愿意别人都对他很好的? 回答, 我的朋友, 法律要求你的回答——世界上有人喜欢被伤害吗?
当然没有。
但你控告我毒害青年促使他们堕落的时候, 你是说我有意还是无意的毒害他们。
我是说有意。
但是你刚刚才承认了好人会对周围的人有利, 坏人会有害。以您高超的智慧你都看到了这样的事实。 难道我都这么大把年纪了, 我就蠢到笨到不会想到我毒害的人也许有一天会反过来害到我自己?知道是这样, 我还会去毒害他?还是故意的?这就是你说的话, 这种话你永远没办法让我信服, 也没办法让任何人信服。所以要么我根本没有毒害他们, 要么我毒害了也是无意的, 不管怎样反正你是在撒谎。 如果我的恶行不是有意的,就不是法律所应该干涉的问题, 你应该私下找到我, 警告并且劝诫我, 因为我如果被好好教导的话,是不会再做我无意中做过的错事的。我肯定不会, 但是你不愿意跟我好好说话也不愿意好好教导我,你把我送上了法庭, 在这里我不会得到劝诫, 而只有惩罚。
雅典人,我已经证明了,麦利图斯根本对这件事情就毫不关心, 但是我还是想知道, 麦利图斯,凭什么你可以说我在毒害青年?从你的起诉书来看,我认为你的意思是说,我叫他们不去信仰城邦的神,而去相信另外一些神, 或者什么精神介质。这些是你所谓毒害青年的教义。
是, 我还要再次强调这一点。
那么, 麦利图斯, 以神的名义告诉我和法庭,用易懂一点的词说说我们在说的那些东西,你到底指得是什么?连我现在都没有搞得太清楚,你到底是说我教别人相信一些神,而这些神并不是我们的城邦承认的, 那样的话我还是信神的, 所以还不是无神论者——你诉状上也没有说我是无神论者, 只是说跟城邦的神不同, 所以我的罪名是相信另外的神。 或者,其实你的意思是我就是个无神论者, 就是在传授无神论?
我的意思是后面那种, 你完全是个无神论者。
这个结论真的是太棒了!麦利图斯, 你怎么想到这么说的? 你是说我不相信太阳和月亮的神圣地位, 向所有人都相信的那样吗?
法官先生们,请你们相信我, 他确实是不相信这些的, 因为他说过, 太阳是块石头, 而月亮是土块。
麦利图斯, 我的朋友, 你是不是以为你在控告阿纳克萨格拉呀?我觉得您一定是太瞧不起我们今天的法官了, 你以为法官先生们不会知道你这些话是卡拉佐门尼城的阿纳克萨格拉书里写的?那本书里全是这些话,然后就有人说这些东西是年轻人从苏格拉底那里学来的, 其实这些话在戏院演出的时间都不在少数(好像买张票最多也就一个德拉克马);年轻人可以很容易就卖到这类得知识, 如果苏格拉底试图冒充是这些理论的创立者的话会被笑死的。话说回来, 麦利图斯, 你真以为我不相信任何神吗?
我以宙斯的名义发誓, 你完全不相信!
你是个骗子, 麦利图斯, 连你自己都不相信你自己。 我都忍不住会认为, 雅典人啊,这个麦利图斯真是个厚颜无耻而又肆无忌惮的家伙, 他写这份诉状根本就是不负责任,虚张声势地胡乱卖弄。他这不是搞了一个哑谜, 让我猜着玩吗?我要试试这个据说聪明绝顶的苏格拉底,看他们能不能看出我精心掩盖的自相矛盾, 还是我能骗过他还有法庭上的其他人。因为你看看他这份讼词,他实际上等于在控告苏格拉底,因为他不相信神, 并且因为他相信神, 这不是开玩笑吗?
我希望你们, 雅典人, 跟我一起询问我认为他自己跟自己就不一致的这些部分,而你, 麦利图斯, 回答就行了。 如果你满看到我又用我惯常的方式说话, 不要打断我。
麦利图斯, 一个人可以相信人的存在, 而同时又不相信人的存在吗?…雅典人, 我希望他回答, 而不是等着不该他开口的时候打断我说话。可不可能有任何人相信马术的存在而不相信世界上有马?或者相信吹笛子的技术, 却不相信吹笛子的人存在。不会的, 我的朋友, 我会回答你和整个法庭, 因为你拒绝自己回答, 不会有人是这样子的。但是下一个问题你必须回答了:一个人可不可以相信精神介质和神圣因素的存在, 而不相信任何半神人和精灵呢?
他不能。
我很高兴终于挤出来了一个答案,这要归功于法庭的协助。至少在讼词中你宣誓说我传授并且自己相信神圣的和精神性的存在物, 但是如果我相信精神的存在, 我就一定会相信半神人和精灵的存在--不正是这样吗?是这样的, 如果我认为你的沉默就是默许的话。 现在告诉我精灵和半神人是什么?他们不就是神和神之子吗?不是这样吗?

是这样的。

但这正是我说过的你那个故弄玄虚的地方:半神人和精灵是神, 你先说我不相信神, 然后又说我相信神, 因为我相信半神人的存在。因为如果半神人是神的私生子, 他们跟水妖或者其他的的什么母亲生下的后代的话, 我们当然就可以断定他们的父亲母亲是存在的。 如果不是, 你就可以肯定骡子的存在, 而否认马和驴的存在了。这样的胡说八道, 麦利图斯阿, 只能当作你是在跟我闹着玩,你把这种东西写进诉状因为你根本就没有什么可控告我的理由, 但是只要稍有理智的人就不可能相信, 一个人可以相信精神的和超人的东西而不相信有神和半神和英雄。
对麦利图斯的控诉我也已经说得够多了,任何更多的辩解都是没有必要的, 但是像我最早说过的, 我当然有很多敌人, 如果我被毁掉的话, 他们肯定是我被毁掉的原因, 对此我非常确信。 不是麦利图斯和阿内图斯,而是整个世界的嫉妒和贬斥,无数正直的人因此而死去,也许以后还会有很多,我不会是最后的一个。
也许有人会问:苏格拉底呀, 你不觉得羞耻吗?过着这样一种很可能会不得善终的生活。对这些人我可以坚定地说:你错了, 任何一个有一点价值的人不应该总是计较生死, 他做一件事的时候应该考虑的是他自己做得对还是错, 是作为一个正直的人还是邪恶的人。因为照这些质疑我的人的说法,死特洛伊城的那些先辈就完全没什么了不起了, 尤其是忒提斯的儿子,他完全不顾危险而宁愿逃避耻辱,当他的女神母亲告诉他他如果杀死了赫克托尔,为同伴佩特克洛斯报仇的话, 自己也会惨死——"命运"像她当时说的"会在赫克托尔之后等待着你"。 而他听到这些话的时候,完全不顾及危险和死亡, 宁愿害怕放弃报仇的责任活下去的耻辱也不愿害怕他们。"那就让我在他之后死去吧!"他回答"让敌人杀了我报仇, 总胜过停留在有撞角的船只旁边, 作为世界的一个伤疤, 一个负担"阿基利斯有任何对死亡和危险的考虑吗?因为不管一个人的岗位在哪里, 他选择了什么, 或者神圣的命令把他放在了什么地方, 他都应该在任何危险来临的时候留在那里, 他只应该惧怕屈辱, 而不应该是死亡或者其他任何东西。 这些, 雅典人阿,才是至理名言。
雅典人阿, 你们应该记得以前在泼特迪埃, 在安菲波利和德利乌姆, 我在你们大家选出的将军指挥下作战的时候,那时我坚守自己的位置, 和别人一起面对死亡。而如果现在,当我有这种确切的感觉, 神要我去完成哲学家的使命,去考问我自己和其他的每一个人, 而我却因为害怕死亡,或者其他任何东西而逃避自己的责任, 我的作为就太不合情理了,我就应该因为否认神的存在在法庭上上被当场抓住。 如果我因为害怕死亡而违背神喻,那我就是错误的以为自己知道自己不知道的东西。 因为对于死亡的恐惧只是虚假的智慧, 而不是真正的智慧, 就是那种以为自己知道不知道的东西的感觉, 因为没有人知道到底被人认为最大痛苦的死亡, 会不会是最大的幸福。 这其中包含的伪装出的智慧, 不正是最可耻的无知吗?但这一点正是我觉得自己比大部分其他人高明一点点的地方, 我可以因此而觉得自己是有点聪明的。 虽然我对人世间的事物所知不多,但是我也没有错误地以为自己知道什么。我可以确信的一点是:对比自己更高的智慧不忠实不服从是邪恶可耻的, 不管那是神或者人。无论如何我不会为了躲避一件可能很好的事情而做一件肯定是错误的事情。如果你们不理会阿内图斯的那些话, 说什么你们如果不处死我这次控诉就没有意义了, 如果我得以逃生, 您们的儿孙很快就会被我的言辞所败坏, 如果你们不理会他这些话, 打算放我走, 如果你们这时候对我说:"苏格拉底, 这次我们就放过你, 不管阿内图斯说的那些话了。 不过以后你不能再那样的思考和质询其他人, 如果你再这么做你就就去死吧!"如果这是你们放过我的条件, 我会回答说:雅典人, 我爱你们, 我尊重你们, 但我宁愿遵循神意而不是你们的意见, 只要我还有生命和力量, 我永远不会停止哲学思考和哲学教育, 我会用我的方式劝诫任何一个我见到的人,让他得到信仰, 我会对他说:"啊我的朋友, 你是伟大的强盛的富有智慧的雅典城邦的公民,你怎么能够让自己那么在意积累金钱、荣誉、名声这种东西呢?而对于智慧, 对于真理, 对于你自己灵魂的完善好像你都很少想到过。 你不会因此觉得惭愧吗?"如果这个人回答说:"不, 我也很在意你说的那些事!"我不会那么容易就放过他的, 我会询问他,检验他,看透他, 如果我认为他没有什么美德, 而只是自称他有,我会责怪他贬低了生命中伟大的部分,而高估了无价值的东西。我会这样对待任何一个我见到的人, 不管是年老还是年轻,同胞还是异乡人, 但首先是我们的雅典市民, 因为他们是我的兄弟。 因为这是神的旨意呀, 我要告诉你们, 而且我确信在这个城邦再也没有过比我对于神的效劳更有意义的事了。因为我其他什么都不做, 就一天到晚告诉你们老老少少的所有人, 不要那么在意自己和财产,首先并且主要的要关注自己的灵魂。我告诉你们,并不是金钱带来美德, 而是美德带来金钱, 以及其他任何对人类有益的东西, 不管公事私事都是如此。这就是我的教义,如果这样的教义会毁坏年轻人的话, 那么我的影响确实是破坏性的。但是如果有人说我别人的不是这些的话, 那么他是在说谎。所以, 雅典人, 你们可以象阿内图斯说的或者不像他说的那样做, 但不管你们怎样做, 你们要清楚我不会改变我的生活, 就算为此而死很多次。
雅典人, 你们不要打断我!听我说, 我们又一个约定就是你们不要打断我, 给我时间, 让我把话说完。 我认为我说的话是对你们有利的。因为我还要说一些话, 这些话可能会让你们想要叫出声来, 但是我请求你们大家不要这么做。 我想让你们知道, 如果你们杀死一个象我这样的人, 你门对自己造成的伤害将比对我造成的伤害更多。麦利图斯和阿内图斯这些人是不能够伤害我的, 因为一个人能伤害一个比他正直的人是不可能的!我并不否认他们也许能杀死一个人,或者把他放逐, 或者剥夺他的公民权, 于是他自己, 当然也包括许多其他人, 会认为他已经伤害了这个人。但是我不会那么认为,象阿内图斯这样不公正的夺去一个人的生命的人,做这种事比受伤害更可怕。 雅典人, 现在我不是像你们可能会认为的,在为了自己辩护, 我是为了你们的利益才尽力保护我自己。 我不希望你们对神犯罪, 或者轻易的拒绝他赐予的恩惠, 杀了我你们就再也不会有第二个象我这样的人了。 我这样的人, 打一个滑稽的比方来讲, 就是一只牛虻, 由神来赐予城邦的牛虻。我们的城邦就像一个高贵伟大的战马, 因为身躯庞大而行动有些迟缓, 你要经常刺激他一下他才会有活力。 我就是上天赐予我们城邦的牛虻, 一天到晚我都烦在你们大家身边, 鼓励你们, 说服你们, 责怪你们。 因为想我这样的人是不容易找到第二个的, 所以我希望你们放过我。我敢肯定如果在你打盹的时候突然被惊醒你会觉得很不高兴, 你也许会觉得阿内图斯的建议很好,杀死我, 这很容易, 然后你们的余生中间就可以一直沉睡下去, 除非上天出于仁慈又给你们派来一只象我一样的牛虻。 我说我是上天赐予你们的, 根据是一些事实: 如果我只是一个平常的人, 我不会完全忘掉我自己的利益,更不会这么多年来一直如此; 一直我在意的都是你们的事情, 总是一个个找到你们, 像一个兄长或者父亲,劝说你们尊崇美德, 这不是正常人的本性。 我为此没有得到什么,如果我跟你们说这些话有任何报酬的话还好说一些, 但是现在, 像你们看到的,即使我的诽谤者们那么大胆的颠倒是非他们也不敢说我从任何人那里讹取了钱财, 他们对此找不到任何证据, 对此我有一个最好的证人,那就我的贫穷。
也许有人会奇怪为什么我总是以私人身份到处游说,为了别人的事情给出各种建议把自己搞得很忙,但是从来没有站出来参与城邦的公共事务。我会给你们解释原因的。 你们听过我提到的一个神奇的喻示或者感觉吧, 在麦力图斯那里就给丑化得不成样子了。就是从我还是个小孩子的时候, 我就经常有这种奇怪的感觉,那是一个声音, 他总是在我要做一些事的时候告诉我不要去做, 但是这个奇怪的声音不会告诉我应该去做什么。我不从事政治就是因为这个禁止我去做。 我相信这也是对的,雅典人。 因为我可以确信, 如果我真的去从事政治的话,我老早就死掉了, 这样对我自己和任何别人都没什么好处。你们不要因为我说实话就生气, 事实就是: 不管是在你们中间, 还是在其他任何群体中间, 一个诚实的反对国家政治中间的邪恶和不公的人, 肯定都是不得好死的。 从事政治的人要是真的想为正义而战斗, 他如果想多活一会儿,就只能活在他私有的国家里面,在共和国是不可能活下去的。
我会给你们证据, 不是空口白话, 而是事实, 你们对事实总是更信赖一些。 让我跟你们讲一讲我自己的一段经历,我自己是怎样不屈从于不公,而当时我的坚定可以随时断送了自己的性命。 我会给你们讲讲这个故事,也许没什么趣味,很平常,但是至少是真实的。我仅仅担任过一次公职, 那是一个参议员的位置。当时我的宗族,安提而契,在一次审判中充当主席,那次被审判的是在阿格努赛战争后放弃了死难者尸体的将军。 当时你们的意志是把他们一起审判,这是不合法的, 后来你们自己也发现了。但是当时, 我是整个安提而契部族里唯一一个反对这件事的人, 当时我投了反对票,当时那些演说者威胁说要起诉我逮捕我, 说要把我带走, 你们当时也大吵大闹。我下定决心会冒所有这些风险,因为正义和法律站在我这一边, 我不会愿意站在安全的一边默认你们不公, 因为我害怕作恶胜过害怕死亡,这是民主时期的事情。后来三十僭主当政的时候, 他们把我和另外四个人召到市政厅, 要求我们把萨拉米安的列昂从萨拉米带回来, 因为他们要处死他。 列昂是指挥作战方面的专家, 三十僭主在他们的恶行中间最喜欢残害的就是这样的人。 当时我表现出的立场,不只通过言论, 而且通过行动表现出的就是:如果事态需要, 我绝对不会有一点顾忌死亡,我所惧怕的唯一一点就是做出什么不正确或者不虔诚的事, 压迫者的强权不能威胁我跟他们一起作恶,当我们离开市政厅之后另外四个人去萨拉米逮捕列昂, 我什么也没说就回家了。 这么做实际上本来我会没命的, 后来幸好三十僭主很快被推翻了我才幸免于难。这件事有很多人可以作证。
你们真的以为我如果从事政治的话能活到现在吗? 假设作为一个正直的人我一直为正义而斗争,并且总是把公平放在第一位来考虑。不会的, 真的不会, 雅典人, 不管是我还是其他任何人都不会。我在我所有的行为中间一直都是这样子的, 不管是公开场合还是私人交往,我都从来没有屈从那些诽谤我弟子们的人,或者其他任何人。其实我也没有什么固定的弟子,在我追求我作为一个哲学家的指责的时候, 任何一个愿意来听我说话的人都可以来, 不管他是老是少。 我也不会仅仅就跟那些付给我钱的人谈话, 而不理会不付钱的人。 任何人, 不管他的贫富都可以向我提问或者回答我的问题, 听我讲话。 至于说听我说话的人是好人还是坏人, 这不能说是我的责任, 因为我从没有教他们任何东西。 如果有什么人说他从我这儿听到过什么话我私下里跟他说而整个世界其他人都不知道的, 你可以肯定他说的不是事实。
也许有人会问, 为什么人们喜欢跟我说话? 不过这个问题我已经解释过了, 雅典人, 他们喜欢听到伪装博学的人被揭穿, 这本身就很有趣的。这是神赋予我的职责, 神喻, 幻象,各种各样的方式都明显的昭示一切以至于任何人都可以看出来。 这是真实的, 雅典人, 如果不是真的, 早就被揭穿了。因为如果我真的是在毒害青年并且已经毒害了他们中间一些人的话,他们长大成人后就会想起在自己年轻的我曾经给他们提过恶意的意见, 他们就会来报复我的,如果他们自己不想来, 他们的亲戚朋友也会来, 父亲,兄长, 或者其他的家人都来报复自己的亲人从我这里所受到的伤害。现在应该是他们报复的时候了, 我看到有很多人在法庭上, 你看克里托, 他年龄和地位都跟我相似,克里托布勒斯,他的儿子, 我也看到了。 那个是斯菲图斯的吕萨尼阿斯, 他是阿斯尼阿斯的父亲, 阿斯尼阿斯也在这儿; 好像还有赛菲苏斯的安提丰,他儿子叫挨匹格尼, 好像也有一些跟我有来往的人, 他们的兄弟在场的, 提奥斯刀提德斯的儿子尼考斯特拉图斯,他是提奥多图斯的兄弟, (现在提奥多图斯自己已经去世了, 所以他不会阻止自己的兄弟起诉我的);德莫克托斯的儿子帕拉路斯, 他有一个一个兄弟提阿格尼斯也追随过我。阿德曼图斯的儿子阿利斯通和他的兄弟柏拉图也在这里。埃安托多洛斯,他是阿泼洛多洛斯的兄弟。还有很多其他人, 我也看到了。 其实他们所有人本来都可以作为麦力图斯控告我的证人, 如果他忘记了的话, 现在还可以叫他们来作证, 我会给他这个方便的。 让他看看他有没有这样的证据可以拿出来。 没有! 雅典人, 事实正相反,因为他们所有人都会站在我这个据说在败坏他们的人这一边说话,为我这个"残害"他们亲人的人说话。 据麦利图斯和阿内图斯说我是在这么做的。而且不只是这些被“残害”的人, 而且他们那些没有被我“残害”的亲友也是如此。 他们为什么会用他们的证词替我开脱呢?到底为什么呢?除了出于正义和公正, 除了因为他们知道我说的是事实, 而麦力图斯在撒谎之外, 还能有什么原因呢?
好了, 雅典人, 这些差不多也就是我愿意给出的所有辩护了。但是还有一点要说的,因为可能有些人会对我很不满, 因为他们想到自己面临类似的或者没有现在这么严峻的情况时,简直是哭哭啼啼极尽哀求乞怜之能事, 当时他也许把自己的小孩都带到法庭上来, 看上去惨兮兮的让人感动, 另外还会带一个声援的亲友团。而我呢, 现在好像是面临比他们严峻得多的情况, 甚至有可能会为此送命, 却不会做任何一件此类的事情。也许有些人会出于这样的考虑而反对我,投下愤怒的一票因为他不喜欢我这样做。假设你们中间有这样的人的话——当然我也不敢确定真的有——我会坦然的告诉他:我的朋友, 我也是一个人, 象任何人一样, 是血肉之躯, 而不是木头或者石头做的, 象荷马诗句里写的。 我也有家人,是的,我有家,也有小孩子, 三个, 一个刚刚接近成年, 另外两个现在还小。 但是我不会带他们带他们到这里来博取你们的同情争取可以被释放。我为什么不这么做呢? 不是出于自高自大或者对你们大家不够重视,我们先不讨论我怕不怕死这类的问题, 我只是觉得不管对我, 对你们大家, 还是对我们城邦来讲,这么做都很不合适。 一个像我这样大把年纪的人, 而且有一个号称智者的名声,不管我是不是配得上这个称谓吧, 我都觉得我不应该做贬低我自己的事。不管怎么样,这个世界上人们相信, 苏格拉底多少比其他人高一点点。如果你们中间那些因为智慧或者勇气或者其他美德,被认为是优秀人物的人,用这种方式辱没他自己,这种行为也是可耻的!我看到过一些久负盛名的人, 当他们被判刑的时候表现得简直难以让人理解: 好像他们觉得自己死了是很了不得一件事似的,好像别人不判他刑他就会长生不老。我想说这些人是我们城邦的耻辱。 假设有外人来我们城市, 看到这些人, 他们会怎么想呢? 可能应该会说:看看吧, 这些就是雅典人的精英, 他们自己给于这些人荣誉和职位, 可是这些人的还不如一个婆娘!我想说这种事情不应该是名人做的, 如果他们这么做的话,你们也不应该允许他们。 在判刑的时候, 不要更喜欢判那些沉默的人, 而是那些重复无聊表演的人, 他们使我们的城市蒙羞!
而且, 即使我们把这件事的不光彩抛在一边,向一个法官乞怜好像还有不对的地方, 因为这样实际上是在骗取一个释放的结果而不是提供令人信服的证据。法官的职责不是做作样子凑凑数, 而是做出判断, 他向法律宣誓依法律判决, 而不是遵循自己的喜好, 我们每个人都不应该有伪证的恶习——那太不虔诚了。不要要求我做那些我知道是不光彩的事,不敬神的事, 错误的事,尤其是现在,当我被麦力图斯控告不敬神的时候。雅典人,因为如果我用说服和恳求的办法, 最后压倒你们对自己誓言的忠诚,实际上我就是在教你们相信世界上没有神, 我这样为自己辩护最后恰恰是证明了自己有罪, 因为这样做我没有尊重神意。 但事实不是这样子, 我确实相信神,我的信仰远远超过我的控告者们能理解的, 我对你们和所有的神给出我的辩护, 让你们决定什么是对你们大家, 和对我,最好的裁决。
[法院判定苏格拉底有罪]
苏格拉底对处罚的建议
判我有罪的决定并没有让我很难过,雅典人,这是有很多原因的。其实我料到了,我没想到的反而是票数会这么接近,因为我本来觉得反对我的票数还会多得多的,但是现在,好像如果有三十张票投到另外一方,我就会被释放了。我可以说那样我就摆脱了麦力图斯, 而且我还可以说, 如果没有阿内图斯和吕亢的话,他恐怕连五分之一的赞成票都拿不到。 按照法律的规定, 那样他就会被罚款一千德拉克马, 这是很明显的。
他提议处我死刑, 我会做出什么提议呢, 雅典人? 当然我有义务提出建议,我应该付出或者得到的又应该是什么呢?这个人一生都没有学会偷懒, 但是他也不在意别人都在追求的东西,什么金钱,家庭财产,军事头衔,或者各种公众场合的讲演, 他全都不曾在意, 这个人的结果应该怎样呢?意识到我这个人太老实,不可能过那种日子, 我不去追求那些我不会让任何人得益的方向, 我选择了我对每一个人最有益处的生活方式, 我走这条路直到今天, 我试图说服你们所有人让关注自己的生存,追求美德和智慧优先于追求其他任何东西,并且在看到城邦的利益之前先想到城邦, 并且在你们做任何事情的时候遵循这些原则。对我这样一个人应该怎样判决呢?肯定是要给一些优待了, 雅典人, 如果你给他应得的报酬的话,而且这种好处应该是正好合适的。那么对于贫穷而又对大众做出了贡献的人应该怎样对待呢?他们需要闲暇来给你们以教化, 这么说来没有比把我送进Prytaneum(古雅典的一个类似于养老机构的地方,公费赡养为国家做出过突出贡献的人)更好的办法了。雅典人阿, 这个报酬给我比给那些取得过奥运会赛马或者战车冠军的人们来讲合适多了, 不管他们的战车是两匹马拉的还是很多, 因为我需要, 而他们不需要,他们只是给你们幸福的假象, 而我给你们的是真正的幸福, 如果让我公正的权衡我应得的惩罚, 我觉得把我送到Prytaneum是最好的。
也许你们会认为我这么说话是耍你们,就象我刚才提到那些哀求和哭泣一样, 但实际上不是。我这么说是因为我确实没有有意伤害过任何人,只是我没有办法让你们相信我,因为我们只能这么简短的说几句话。如果我们象一些其他国家一样规定说一个案子不能当天就结案的话, 我估计就能让你们相信我了, 现在我们实在是没时间。我也不可能一下子澄清那么多诽谤, 不过因为我也没有伤害过其他人,当然也会不愿意伤害我自己。 我不会说我应该受到惩罚,或者提议一个处罚办法, 我为什么要这么做呢?因为我害怕麦力图斯提议的死刑吗?我不知道死是好事还是坏事, 我为什么一定要提议一个另外的肯定是坏事的处罚呢?我应该提议监禁吗? 可是我为什么要住在监狱里面? 要做当值法官的奴隶, 他们十一个人的奴隶?或者处罚应该是罚款吗?在罚款交清之前监禁。反对的理由是一样的, 因为我会永远待在监狱里面, 我没有钱, 也付不了罚款。如果我建议流放, 很可能你们会同意的, 不过如果我这么想的话恐怕是因为怕死而变得不清醒了。当你们, 我的同胞们, 都受不了我的事业和我的言论,认为那些都阴险讨厌到你们宁愿没有那些, 我怎么可能指望别人会受得了我?不会的, 雅典人, 那看上去不像是那么回事。我这么大年纪, 从一个城邦到另一个城邦,到处都被驱逐,整天被流放, 那活着有什么意思?我知道不管我走到哪儿, 这儿或者是其他地方都一样, 年轻人总会来找我,如果我赶他们走, 他们会说服长辈也赶我走, 如果我不赶他们走, 他们的长辈为他们考虑自己也会赶我走。
也许有人说, 苏格拉底你就不能闭上你那张嘴,老老实实找个国家住着不就得了,你不说话就不会有人找你麻烦了。我确实觉得我对这个问题的回答会很难让你们理解, 因为如果我说那是违背天意的, 因而我不能什么都不说的话, 你们不会相信我这么说是认真的。 如果我再告诉你们对一个人来讲最好的事情就是每天探讨美德的问题,每天仔细的考察别人和我们自己的内心世界, 如果我说没有反思的生活是不值得生活的, 你们更是不大可能相信。但我说的确实是真的,只是我很难让你们相信。而且, 我也不习惯去考虑我自己是应该受惩罚的, 如果我有钱我会很愿意都给你们,我也不会觉得失去了什么, 但是你们也都知道我没钱,只能说你们罚款的时候也要考虑到我付得起多少钱。不过我想一个米那的钱我是付得起的, 这就当我提议的惩罚吧;柏拉图, 克里唐, 还有克里托布勒斯,我在这儿的朋友们, 让我提议三十米那,说他们愿意担保, 那好吧, 就是三十米那,惩罚就这样吧, 你们可以放心能得到这些钱。

[法庭判苏格拉底死刑 ]

苏格拉底对自己死刑判决的评论

雅典人那,你们会因为现在的作为从贬低我们城邦的人那里得到恶名,但是也不会因此而赢得很多时间作为补偿。 因为你们杀死了苏格拉底,一个有智慧的人。虽然我没什么智慧,他们也会把我称作有智慧的人,为了指责你们。如果你们再耐心一点等一下的话,老天就会自己满足你们想摆脱我的愿望。我年龄已经很大, 不会再活得太久了。 这些话我是对判我死刑的人说的, 要对他们说的还有一句就是:你们以为我是因为说错了话才被判刑的,我是说, 如果我按照你们认为合适的方式做所有该做的, 说所有该说的话, 我也许会被释放。 实际上不是的。导致我自己被叛有罪的并不是语言的错, 当然不是。只是我没有那么无耻去做你们已经习惯了的那些丑事, 哭啊,叫啊,抱怨阿,哀求啊, 所有这些事情, 像我说过的, 都配不上苏格拉底这个名字。我认为面临任何危险的时候我都不应该做什么庸俗的,卑劣的事情,我现在也不会对我申辩的方式有所后悔。我宁愿按我自己的方式说话而被处死, 也不想用你们的方式说话而继续活着。不管是在战场上还是法庭上,一个人都不应该为了逃生而不择手段。当然如果在战场上扔掉武器, 跪倒在追上来的敌人面前,那么他被放过的机会是很大的,其他任何场合都是这样, 如果一个人为了活命不惜做任何事情, 他总会有一些办法可以尝试。但是苦难的并不是逃避死亡, 而是逃避邪恶,邪恶比死亡跑得更快。我老了,跑不快,所以死亡追上了我;我的原告们年轻, 他们可以跑得快一点, 所以邪恶追上了他们。 现在我将走向自己的路途,承受你们判给我的死刑, 而他们也会被真理判决,承受他们犯下的罪恶和不义。我必须接受对我的惩罚, 也让他们接受他们的惩罚吧。我认为这一切好像是命中注定的,而且安排得很不错!
现在, 判我死刑的人们, 我想给你们一个预言,因为我快死了,这是一个人会得到预言的能力的时候。我对所有谋杀我的人说,在我死后,马上, 比你们对我的惩罚严重得多的惩罚, 就会降临到你们身上。你们杀死我因为不希望有人指责你们,揭穿你们的生活,但是结果不会是你们想要的样子,完全不一样,因为很快就会有更多人对指责你们, 他们会涉及那些我一直不愿提到的事情, 因为他们年轻,对你们也更严厉, 你们会发现你们更受不了这些人,如果你们以为杀死我就再也不会有人检验你们的生活的话,你们就完全错了。这种逃避的方式即可耻, 又不管用,最简单和最高贵的对付指责的办法不是毁掉指责你的人,而是完善你们自己。这就是我走之前给你们的预言, 谋害我的人们!
朋友们, 你们原打算释放我的人,我也想跟你们聊聊发生过的事情, 趁现在法官们都很忙,我还要待一会才到我死去的地方。待会再走吧,我们有机会的时候跟别人多聊聊天也挺好的。你们是我的朋友, 所以我想跟你们说说在我身上发生的这件事的寓意。阿,我的裁决者们,对你们我可以真心得称作裁决者,我想跟你们讲讲一件绝好的事情。一直以来我所熟悉的那个神秘声音总是会在我做任何错事的时候阻止我,不管是怎样的小事情。 现在今天这件事对我来讲好像应该是最后的和最大的坏事情了,但是他没有一点阻止我的迹象,不管是我早上离开家的时候, 还是我来到法庭, 或者在我讲话的时候, 任何跟这件事有关的事情都没有被神意阻止, 这能是什么意思呢? 我告诉你们吧!我认为这意味着今天发生的事对我来讲是很好的。那些认为死去是一件惨事的人都搞错了。这对我说过的话一个很好的证明, 因为如果我真的是在走向一个很坏的结果, 那声音不会不提醒我。
或者我们换个角度考虑这个问题, 我们会看到有很多很好的理由让我们相信死亡是很好的事情, 因为死亡无非是两种可能情况之一:或者他就是空空的一无所有也一无所知, 或者, 他就是象人们说的, 是灵魂的一种迁移, 从这个世界, 到另外一个世界。现在你想象一下有一种无知无觉的状态,就象一个人沉睡得连一个梦都没有的时候,那死亡真的是一种巨大的收获了, 如果一个人可以做一个选择,是愿意选那些无梦地沉睡, 还是他一生中其他的日日夜夜。我觉得任何一个人, 不只是我们这些平常人,包括那些国王们,都会觉得自己一生很少有什么时候比那样沉睡的时候更幸福。如果死亡就是那样的沉睡,我觉得那真是一种巨大的收获, 那时候永恒都只是一场沉睡。 但是如果死亡是一个去往另外一个世界的旅程的话, 据说那里有所有死去过的人, 欧,朋友们,裁决者们,那真是太爽了,还有比这更好玩的事吗?如果真的每一个去往那个世界的朝圣者来到地下的世界,他都会摆脱尘俗对他的判决而去面对一个真正的法官, 在那个世界跟他判决,这些裁决者将是米诺斯,拉大曼图斯,爱阿库斯,特里扑勒姆斯,以及其他的神之子。这些人自己一生正直,为了他们做一个这样的朝拜确实也是值得的。如果一个人可以跟奥付卢斯,穆萨乌斯, 赫西奥德,还有荷马谈话, 怎样的代价他会不愿意付出呢?不, 如果真是这样子, 还是让我多死几次吧!在那个地方我也会有很多有趣的谈话对象, 像帕拉米得斯, 特拉蒙得儿子阿亚克斯,还有其他好多古代英雄, 他们也是因为不公平的判决而死去的,如果可以跟他们交流一下被别人冤枉的经历,肯定很好玩。 最重要的是, 在那儿我可以继续我对真实和虚假知识的研究,就象在这个世界上一样, 在那个世界也可以这么玩,我会辨别谁是真正聪明的, 谁只是装作聪明而实际上是个笨球。想到可以去检验那些远征特洛伊的英雄们, 还有什么我不愿意放弃的呢?奥得修斯和西西服斯都在那里呀, 更不要说其他还有好多人了,男男女女, 数都数不过来, 跟他聊天和问他们问题会是多么让人愉快的一件事!而且我不用担心会因为做这些事而被处死了。 一方面那个世界的人似乎更幸福, 另一方面他们也都死过一次了, 就不会再死了。如果传闻都是真的, 那里就会是这样。
所以阿, 我的裁决者们。 高兴一点看待死亡吧, 并且记住一个真理:没有什么坏事会危及一个正直的人, 不管是生前还是死后, 他和他所有的一切都不会被神所抛弃,我将面临得死亡也不是偶然来到的。只是我看得很清楚, 死亡并且解脱对我来讲是更好的选择, 所以神意没有给出任何阻止我的信号,也因为这个原因,我并不责怪我的原告, 还有判我死刑的人们, 他们没有做伤害我的事, 当然他们所有人对我也本来就是不怀好意, 因此我会有一点不喜欢他们。
对他们我还有一个请求, 等我的儿子们长大以后, 我希望你们, 我的朋友们, 好好惩罚他们。 我希望你们象我以前烦你们一样烦他们, 如果他们看起来太过于关心财产, 或者在意其他的任何东西多过在意美德,如果他们一无是处还觉得自己很了不起, 责怪他们吧, 就象我现在责怪你们, 告诉他们他们不应该在意那些不值得在意的东西, 也不应该无视他们应该尊崇的东西。 如果你们这么做,那么你们对待我还有我的儿子们都是公正的。
分别的时刻来到了, 我们会各走各的路,我去死, 而你们继续活着, 哪一条路更好, 只有神才知道。

Apology
By Plato
Translated by Benjamin Jowett

[Socrates' Defense]
How you have felt, O men of Athens, at hearing the speeches of my accusers, I cannot tell; but I know that their persuasive words almost made me forget who I was - such was the effect of them; and yet they have hardly spoken a word of truth. But many as their falsehoods were, there was one of them which quite amazed me; - I mean when they told you to be upon your guard, and not to let yourselves be deceived by the force of my eloquence. They ought to have been ashamed of saying this, because they were sure to be detected as soon as I opened my lips and displayed my deficiency; they certainly did appear to be most shameless in saying this, unless by the force of eloquence they mean the force of truth; for then I do indeed admit that I am eloquent. But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was saying, they have hardly uttered a word, or not more than a word, of truth; but you shall hear from me the whole truth: not, however, delivered after their manner, in a set oration duly ornamented with words and phrases. No indeed! but I shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the moment; for I am certain that this is right, and that at my time of life I ought not to be appearing before you, O men of Athens, in the character of a juvenile orator - let no one expect this of me. And I must beg of you to grant me one favor, which is this - If you hear me using the same words in my defence which I have been in the habit of using, and which most of you may have heard in the agora, and at the tables of the money-changers, or anywhere else, I would ask you not to be surprised at this, and not to interrupt me. For I am more than seventy years of age, and this is the first time that I have ever appeared in a court of law, and I am quite a stranger to the ways of the place; and therefore I would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger, whom you would excuse if he spoke in his native tongue, and after the fashion of his country; - that I think is not an unfair request. Never mind the manner, which may or may not be good; but think only of the justice of my cause, and give heed to that: let the judge decide justly and the speaker speak truly.
And first, I have to reply to the older charges and to my first accusers, and then I will go to the later ones. For I have had many accusers, who accused me of old, and their false charges have continued during many years; and I am more afraid of them than of Anytus and his associates, who are dangerous, too, in their own way. But far more dangerous are these, who began when you were children, and took possession of your minds with their falsehoods, telling of one Socrates, a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause. These are the accusers whom I dread; for they are the circulators of this rumor, and their hearers are too apt to fancy that speculators of this sort do not believe in the gods. And they are many, and their charges against me are of ancient date, and they made them in days when you were impressible - in childhood, or perhaps in youth - and the cause when heard went by default, for there was none to answer. And, hardest of all, their names I do not know and cannot tell; unless in the chance of a comic poet. But the main body of these slanderers who from envy and malice have wrought upon you - and there are some of them who are convinced themselves, and impart their convictions to others - all these, I say, are most difficult to deal with; for I cannot have them up here, and examine them, and therefore I must simply fight with shadows in my own defence, and examine when there is no one who answers. I will ask you then to assume with me, as I was saying, that my opponents are of two kinds - one recent, the other ancient; and I hope that you will see the propriety of my answering the latter first, for these accusations you heard long before the others, and much oftener.
Well, then, I will make my defence, and I will endeavor in the short time which is allowed to do away with this evil opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and I hope I may succeed, if this be well for you and me, and that my words may find favor with you. But I know that to accomplish this is not easy - I quite see the nature of the task. Let the event be as God wills: in obedience to the law I make my defence.
I will begin at the beginning, and ask what the accusation is which has given rise to this slander of me, and which has encouraged Meletus to proceed against me. What do the slanderers say? They shall be my prosecutors, and I will sum up their words in an affidavit. "Socrates is an evil-doer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others." That is the nature of the accusation, and that is what you have seen yourselves in the comedy of Aristophanes; who has introduced a man whom he calls Socrates, going about and saying that he can walk in the air, and talking a deal of nonsense concerning matters of which I do not pretend to know either much or little - not that I mean to say anything disparaging of anyone who is a student of natural philosophy. I should be very sorry if Meletus could lay that to my charge. But the simple truth is, O Athenians, that I have nothing to do with these studies. Very many of those here present are witnesses to the truth of this, and to them I appeal. Speak then, you who have heard me, and tell your neighbors whether any of you have ever known me hold forth in few words or in many upon matters of this sort. ... You hear their answer. And from what they say of this you will be able to judge of the truth of the rest.
As little foundation is there for the report that I am a teacher, and take money; that is no more true than the other. Although, if a man is able to teach, I honor him for being paid. There is Gorgias of Leontium, and Prodicus of Ceos, and Hippias of Elis, who go the round of the cities, and are able to persuade the young men to leave their own citizens, by whom they might be taught for nothing, and come to them, whom they not only pay, but are thankful if they may be allowed to pay them. There is actually a Parian philosopher residing in Athens, of whom I have heard; and I came to hear of him in this way: - I met a man who has spent a world of money on the Sophists, Callias the son of Hipponicus, and knowing that he had sons, I asked him: "Callias," I said, "if your two sons were foals or calves, there would be no difficulty in finding someone to put over them; we should hire a trainer of horses or a farmer probably who would improve and perfect them in their own proper virtue and excellence; but as they are human beings, whom are you thinking of placing over them? Is there anyone who understands human and political virtue? You must have thought about this as you have sons; is there anyone?" "There is," he said. "Who is he?" said I, "and of what country? and what does he charge?" "Evenus the Parian," he replied; "he is the man, and his charge is five minae." Happy is Evenus, I said to myself, if he really has this wisdom, and teaches at such a modest charge. Had I the same, I should have been very proud and conceited; but the truth is that I have no knowledge of the kind.
I dare say, Athenians, that someone among you will reply, "Why is this, Socrates, and what is the origin of these accusations of you: for there must have been something strange which you have been doing? All this great fame and talk about you would never have arisen if you had been like other men: tell us, then, why this is, as we should be sorry to judge hastily of you." Now I regard this as a fair challenge, and I will endeavor to explain to you the origin of this name of "wise," and of this evil fame. Please to attend then. And although some of you may think I am joking, I declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of wisdom which I possess. If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, such wisdom as is attainable by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise; whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom, which I may fail to describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking away my character. And here, O men of Athens, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit, and will tell you about my wisdom - whether I have any, and of what sort - and that witness shall be the god of Delphi. You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the exile of the people, and returned with you. Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether - as I was saying, I must beg you not to interrupt - he asked the oracle to tell him whether there was anyone wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered that there was no man wiser. Chaerephon is dead himself, but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of this story.
Why do I mention this? Because I am going to explain to you why I have such an evil name. When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and what is the interpretation of this riddle? for I know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What can he mean when he says that I am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god and cannot lie; that would be against his nature. After a long consideration, I at last thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could only find a man wiser than myself, then I might go to the god with a refutation in my hand. I should say to him, "Here is a man who is wiser than I am; but you said that I was the wisest." Accordingly I went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed to him - his name I need not mention; he was a politician whom I selected for examination - and the result was as follows: When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and wiser still by himself; and I went and tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is - for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another, who had still higher philosophical pretensions, and my conclusion was exactly the same. I made another enemy of him, and of many others besides him.
After this I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me - the word of God, I thought, ought to be considered first. And I said to myself, Go I must to all who appear to know, and find out the meaning of the oracle. And I swear to you, Athenians, by the dog I swear! - for I must tell you the truth - the result of my mission was just this: I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish; and that some inferior men were really wiser and better. I will tell you the tale of my wanderings and of the "Herculean" labors, as I may call them, which I endured only to find at last the oracle irrefutable. When I left the politicians, I went to the poets; tragic, dithyrambic, and all sorts. And there, I said to myself, you will be detected; now you will find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them - thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to speak of this, but still I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their poetry than they did themselves. That showed me in an instant that not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them. And the poets appeared to me to be much in the same case; and I further observed that upon the strength of their poetry they believed themselves to be the wisest of men in other things in which they were not wise. So I departed, conceiving myself to be superior to them for the same reason that I was superior to the politicians.
At last I went to the artisans, for I was conscious that I knew nothing at all, as I may say, and I was sure that they knew many fine things; and in this I was not mistaken, for they did know many things of which I was ignorant, and in this they certainly were wiser than I was. But I observed that even the good artisans fell into the same error as the poets; because they were good workmen they thought that they also knew all sorts of high matters, and this defect in them overshadowed their wisdom - therefore I asked myself on behalf of the oracle, whether I would like to be as I was, neither having their knowledge nor their ignorance, or like them in both; and I made answer to myself and the oracle that I was better off as I was.
This investigation has led to my having many enemies of the worst and most dangerous kind, and has given occasion also to many calumnies, and I am called wise, for my hearers always imagine that I myself possess the wisdom which I find wanting in others: but the truth is, O men of Athens, that God only is wise; and in this oracle he means to say that the wisdom of men is little or nothing; he is not speaking of Socrates, he is only using my name as an illustration, as if he said, He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing. And so I go my way, obedient to the god, and make inquisition into the wisdom of anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise; and if he is not wise, then in vindication of the oracle I show him that he is not wise; and this occupation quite absorbs me, and I have no time to give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern of my own, but I am in utter poverty by reason of my devotion to the god.
There is another thing: - young men of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and examine others themselves; there are plenty of persons, as they soon enough discover, who think that they know something, but really know little or nothing: and then those who are examined by them instead of being angry with themselves are angry with me: This confounded Socrates, they say; this villainous misleader of youth! - and then if somebody asks them, Why, what evil does he practise or teach? they do not know, and cannot tell; but in order that they may not appear to be at a loss, they repeat the ready-made charges which are used against all philosophers about teaching things up in the clouds and under the earth, and having no gods, and making the worse appear the better cause; for they do not like to confess that their pretence of knowledge has been detected - which is the truth: and as they are numerous and ambitious and energetic, and are all in battle array and have persuasive tongues, they have filled your ears with their loud and inveterate calumnies. And this is the reason why my three accusers, Meletus and Anytus and Lycon, have set upon me; Meletus, who has a quarrel with me on behalf of the poets; Anytus, on behalf of the craftsmen; Lycon, on behalf of the rhetoricians: and as I said at the beginning, I cannot expect to get rid of this mass of calumny all in a moment. And this, O men of Athens, is the truth and the whole truth; I have concealed nothing, I have dissembled nothing. And yet I know that this plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth? - this is the occasion and reason of their slander of me, as you will find out either in this or in any future inquiry.
I have said enough in my defence against the first class of my accusers; I turn to the second class, who are headed by Meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he calls himself. And now I will try to defend myself against them: these new accusers must also have their affidavit read. What do they say? Something of this sort: - That Socrates is a doer of evil, and corrupter of the youth, and he does not believe in the gods of the state, and has other new divinities of his own. That is the sort of charge; and now let us examine the particular counts. He says that I am a doer of evil, who corrupt the youth; but I say, O men of Athens, that Meletus is a doer of evil, and the evil is that he makes a joke of a serious matter, and is too ready at bringing other men to trial from a pretended zeal and interest about matters in which he really never had the smallest interest. And the truth of this I will endeavor to prove.
Come hither, Meletus, and let me ask a question of you. You think a great deal about the improvement of youth?
Yes, I do.
Tell the judges, then, who is their improver; for you must know, as you have taken the pains to discover their corrupter, and are citing and accusing me before them. Speak, then, and tell the judges who their improver is. Observe, Meletus, that you are silent, and have nothing to say. But is not this rather disgraceful, and a very considerable proof of what I was saying, that you have no interest in the matter? Speak up, friend, and tell us who their improver is.
The laws.
But that, my good sir, is not my meaning. I want to know who the person is, who, in the first place, knows the laws.
The judges, Socrates, who are present in court.
What do you mean to say, Meletus, that they are able to instruct and improve youth?
Certainly they are.
What, all of them, or some only and not others?
All of them.
By the goddess Here, that is good news! There are plenty of improvers, then. And what do you say of the audience, - do they improve them?
Yes, they do.
And the senators?
Yes, the senators improve them.
But perhaps the members of the citizen assembly corrupt them? - or do they too improve them?
They improve them.
Then every Athenian improves and elevates them; all with the exception of myself; and I alone am their corrupter? Is that what you affirm?
That is what I stoutly affirm.
I am very unfortunate if that is true. But suppose I ask you a question: Would you say that this also holds true in the case of horses? Does one man do them harm and all the world good? Is not the exact opposite of this true? One man is able to do them good, or at least not many; - the trainer of horses, that is to say, does them good, and others who have to do with them rather injure them? Is not that true, Meletus, of horses, or any other animals? Yes, certainly. Whether you and Anytus say yes or no, that is no matter. Happy indeed would be the condition of youth if they had one corrupter only, and all the rest of the world were their improvers. And you, Meletus, have sufficiently shown that you never had a thought about the young: your carelessness is seen in your not caring about matters spoken of in this very indictment.
And now, Meletus, I must ask you another question: Which is better, to live among bad citizens, or among good ones? Answer, friend, I say; for that is a question which may be easily answered. Do not the good do their neighbors good, and the bad do them evil?
Certainly.
And is there anyone who would rather be injured than benefited by those who live with him? Answer, my good friend; the law requires you to answer - does anyone like to be injured?
Certainly not.
And when you accuse me of corrupting and deteriorating the youth, do you allege that I corrupt them intentionally or unintentionally?
Intentionally, I say.
But you have just admitted that the good do their neighbors good, and the evil do them evil. Now is that a truth which your superior wisdom has recognized thus early in life, and am I, at my age, in such darkness and ignorance as not to know that if a man with whom I have to live is corrupted by me, I am very likely to be harmed by him, and yet I corrupt him, and intentionally, too; - that is what you are saying, and of that you will never persuade me or any other human being. But either I do not corrupt them, or I corrupt them unintentionally, so that on either view of the case you lie. If my offence is unintentional, the law has no cognizance of unintentional offences: you ought to have taken me privately, and warned and admonished me; for if I had been better advised, I should have left off doing what I only did unintentionally - no doubt I should; whereas you hated to converse with me or teach me, but you indicted me in this court, which is a place not of instruction, but of punishment.
I have shown, Athenians, as I was saying, that Meletus has no care at all, great or small, about the matter. But still I should like to know, Meletus, in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young. I suppose you mean, as I infer from your indictment, that I teach them not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges, but some other new divinities or spiritual agencies in their stead. These are the lessons which corrupt the youth, as you say.
Yes, that I say emphatically.
Then, by the gods, Meletus, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the court, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some gods, and therefore do believe in gods and am not an entire atheist - this you do not lay to my charge; but only that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes - the charge is that they are different gods. Or, do you mean to say that I am an atheist simply, and a teacher of atheism?
I mean the latter - that you are a complete atheist.
That is an extraordinary statement, Meletus. Why do you say that? Do you mean that I do not believe in the godhead of the sun or moon, which is the common creed of all men?
I assure you, judges, that he does not believe in them; for he says that the sun is stone, and the moon earth.
Friend Meletus, you think that you are accusing Anaxagoras; and you have but a bad opinion of the judges, if you fancy them ignorant to such a degree as not to know that those doctrines are found in the books of Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, who is full of them. And these are the doctrines which the youth are said to learn of Socrates, when there are not unfrequently exhibitions of them at the theatre (price of admission one drachma at the most); and they might cheaply purchase them, and laugh at Socrates if he pretends to father such eccentricities. And so, Meletus, you really think that I do not believe in any god?
I swear by Zeus that you believe absolutely in none at all.
You are a liar, Meletus, not believed even by yourself. For I cannot help thinking, O men of Athens, that Meletus is reckless and impudent, and that he has written this indictment in a spirit of mere wantonness and youthful bravado. Has he not compounded a riddle, thinking to try me? He said to himself: - I shall see whether this wise Socrates will discover my ingenious contradiction, or whether I shall be able to deceive him and the rest of them. For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods, and yet of believing in them - but this surely is a piece of fun.
I should like you, O men of Athens, to join me in examining what I conceive to be his inconsistency; and do you, Meletus, answer. And I must remind you that you are not to interrupt me if I speak in my accustomed manner.
Did ever man, Meletus, believe in the existence of human things, and not of human beings? ... I wish, men of Athens, that he would answer, and not be always trying to get up an interruption. Did ever any man believe in horsemanship, and not in horses? or in flute-playing, and not in flute-players? No, my friend; I will answer to you and to the court, as you refuse to answer for yourself. There is no man who ever did. But now please to answer the next question: Can a man believe in spiritual and divine agencies, and not in spirits or demigods?
He cannot.
I am glad that I have extracted that answer, by the assistance of the court; nevertheless you swear in the indictment that I teach and believe in divine or spiritual agencies (new or old, no matter for that); at any rate, I believe in spiritual agencies, as you say and swear in the affidavit; but if I believe in divine beings, I must believe in spirits or demigods; - is not that true? Yes, that is true, for I may assume that your silence gives assent to that. Now what are spirits or demigods? are they not either gods or the sons of gods? Is that true?
Yes, that is true.
But this is just the ingenious riddle of which I was speaking: the demigods or spirits are gods, and you say first that I don't believe in gods, and then again that I do believe in gods; that is, if I believe in demigods. For if the demigods are the illegitimate sons of gods, whether by the Nymphs or by any other mothers, as is thought, that, as all men will allow, necessarily implies the existence of their parents. You might as well affirm the existence of mules, and deny that of horses and asses. Such nonsense, Meletus, could only have been intended by you as a trial of me. You have put this into the indictment because you had nothing real of which to accuse me. But no one who has a particle of understanding will ever be convinced by you that the same man can believe in divine and superhuman things, and yet not believe that there are gods and demigods and heroes.
I have said enough in answer to the charge of Meletus: any elaborate defence is unnecessary; but as I was saying before, I certainly have many enemies, and this is what will be my destruction if I am destroyed; of that I am certain; - not Meletus, nor yet Anytus, but the envy and detraction of the world, which has been the death of many good men, and will probably be the death of many more; there is no danger of my being the last of them.
Someone will say: And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong - acting the part of a good man or of a bad. Whereas, according to your view, the heroes who fell at Troy were not good for much, and the son of Thetis above all, who altogether despised danger in comparison with disgrace; and when his goddess mother said to him, in his eagerness to slay Hector, that if he avenged his companion Patroclus, and slew Hector, he would die himself - "Fate," as she said, "waits upon you next after Hector"; he, hearing this, utterly despised danger and death, and instead of fearing them, feared rather to live in dishonor, and not to avenge his friend. "Let me die next," he replies, "and be avenged of my enemy, rather than abide here by the beaked ships, a scorn and a burden of the earth." Had Achilles any thought of death and danger? For wherever a man's place is, whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander, there he ought to remain in the hour of danger; he should not think of death or of anything, but of disgrace. And this, O men of Athens, is a true saying.
Strange, indeed, would be my conduct, O men of Athens, if I who, when I was ordered by the generals whom you chose to command me at Potidaea and Amphipolis and Delium, remained where they placed me, like any other man, facing death; if, I say, now, when, as I conceive and imagine, God orders me to fulfil the philosopher's mission of searching into myself and other men, I were to desert my post through fear of death, or any other fear; that would indeed be strange, and I might justly be arraigned in court for denying the existence of the gods, if I disobeyed the oracle because I was afraid of death: then I should be fancying that I was wise when I was not wise. For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being the appearance of knowing the unknown; since no one knows whether death, which they in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is there not here conceit of knowledge, which is a disgraceful sort of ignorance? And this is the point in which, as I think, I am superior to men in general, and in which I might perhaps fancy myself wiser than other men, - that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know: but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better, whether God or man, is evil and dishonorable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil. And therefore if you let me go now, and reject the counsels of Anytus, who said that if I were not put to death I ought not to have been prosecuted, and that if I escape now, your sons will all be utterly ruined by listening to my words - if you say to me, Socrates, this time we will not mind Anytus, and will let you off, but upon one condition, that are to inquire and speculate in this way any more, and that if you are caught doing this again you shall die; - if this was the condition on which you let me go, I should reply: Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him, saying: O my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this? And if the person with whom I am arguing says: Yes, but I do care; I do not depart or let him go at once; I interrogate and examine and cross-examine him, and if I think that he has no virtue, but only says that he has, I reproach him with undervaluing the greater, and overvaluing the less. And this I should say to everyone whom I meet, young and old, citizen and alien, but especially to the citizens, inasmuch as they are my brethren. For this is the command of God, as I would have you know; and I believe that to this day no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the God. For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons and your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue come money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, my influence is ruinous indeed. But if anyone says that this is not my teaching, he is speaking an untruth. Wherefore, O men of Athens, I say to you, do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids, and either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.
Men of Athens, do not interrupt, but hear me; there was an agreement between us that you should hear me out. And I think that what I am going to say will do you good: for I have something more to say, at which you may be inclined to cry out; but I beg that you will not do this. I would have you know that, if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me. Meletus and Anytus will not injure me: they cannot; for it is not in the nature of things that a bad man should injure a better than himself. I do not deny that he may, perhaps, kill him, or drive him into exile, or deprive him of civil rights; and he may imagine, and others may imagine, that he is doing him a great injury: but in that I do not agree with him; for the evil of doing as Anytus is doing - of unjustly taking away another man's life - is greater far. And now, Athenians, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours, that you may not sin against the God, or lightly reject his boon by condemning me. For if you kill me you will not easily find another like me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by the God; and the state is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which God has given the state and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. And as you will not easily find another like me, I would advise you to spare me. I dare say that you may feel irritated at being suddenly awakened when you are caught napping; and you may think that if you were to strike me dead, as Anytus advises, which you easily might, then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless God in his care of you gives you another gadfly. And that I am given to you by God is proved by this: - that if I had been like other men, I should not have neglected all my own concerns, or patiently seen the neglect of them during all these years, and have been doing yours, coming to you individually, like a father or elder brother, exhorting you to regard virtue; this I say, would not be like human nature. And had I gained anything, or if my exhortations had been paid, there would have been some sense in that: but now, as you will perceive, not even the impudence of my accusers dares to say that I have ever exacted or sought pay of anyone; they have no witness of that. And I have a witness of the truth of what I say; my poverty is a sufficient witness.
Someone may wonder why I go about in private, giving advice and busying myself with the concerns of others, but do not venture to come forward in public and advise the state. I will tell you the reason of this. You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity which Meletus ridicules in the indictment. This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician. And rightly, as I think. For I am certain, O men of Athens, that if I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago and done no good either to you or to myself. And don't be offended at my telling you the truth: for the truth is that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteousness and wrong in the state, will save his life; he who will really fight for the right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one.
I can give you as proofs of this, not words only, but deeds, which you value more than words. Let me tell you a passage of my own life, which will prove to you that I should never have yielded to injustice from any fear of death, and that if I had not yielded I should have died at once. I will tell you a story - tasteless, perhaps, and commonplace, but nevertheless true. The only office of state which I ever held, O men of Athens, was that of senator; the tribe Antiochis, which is my tribe, had the presidency at the trial of the generals who had not taken up the bodies of the slain after the battle of Arginusae; and you proposed to try them all together, which was illegal, as you all thought afterwards; but at the time I was the only one of the Prytanes who was opposed to the illegality, and I gave my vote against you; and when the orators threatened to impeach and arrest me, and have me taken away, and you called and shouted, I made up my mind that I would run the risk, having law and justice with me, rather than take part in your injustice because I feared imprisonment and death. This happened in the days of the democracy. But when the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power, they sent for me and four others into the rotunda, and bade us bring Leon the Salaminian from Salamis, as they wanted to execute him. This was a specimen of the sort of commands which they were always giving with the view of implicating as many as possible in their crimes; and then I showed, not in words only, but in deed, that, if I may be allowed to use such an expression, I cared not a straw for death, and that my only fear was the fear of doing an unrighteous or unholy thing. For the strong arm of that oppressive power did not frighten me into doing wrong; and when we came out of the rotunda the other four went to Salamis and fetched Leon, but I went quietly home. For which I might have lost my life, had not the power of the Thirty shortly afterwards come to an end. And to this many will witness.
Now do you really imagine that I could have survived all these years, if I had led a public life, supposing that like a good man I had always supported the right and had made justice, as I ought, the first thing? No, indeed, men of Athens, neither I nor any other. But I have been always the same in all my actions, public as well as private, and never have I yielded any base compliance to those who are slanderously termed my disciples or to any other. For the truth is that I have no regular disciples: but if anyone likes to come and hear me while I am pursuing my mission, whether he be young or old, he may freely come. Nor do I converse with those who pay only, and not with those who do not pay; but anyone, whether he be rich or poor, may ask and answer me and listen to my words; and whether he turns out to be a bad man or a good one, that cannot be justly laid to my charge, as I never taught him anything. And if anyone says that he has ever learned or heard anything from me in private which all the world has not heard, I should like you to know that he is speaking an untruth.
But I shall be asked, Why do people delight in continually conversing with you? I have told you already, Athenians, the whole truth about this: they like to hear the cross-examination of the pretenders to wisdom; there is amusement in this. And this is a duty which the God has imposed upon me, as I am assured by oracles, visions, and in every sort of way in which the will of divine power was ever signified to anyone. This is true, O Athenians; or, if not true, would be soon refuted. For if I am really corrupting the youth, and have corrupted some of them already, those of them who have grown up and have become sensible that I gave them bad advice in the days of their youth should come forward as accusers and take their revenge; and if they do not like to come themselves, some of their relatives, fathers, brothers, or other kinsmen, should say what evil their families suffered at my hands. Now is their time. Many of them I see in the court. There is Crito, who is of the same age and of the same deme with myself; and there is Critobulus his son, whom I also see. Then again there is Lysanias of Sphettus, who is the father of Aeschines - he is present; and also there is Antiphon of Cephisus, who is the father of Epignes; and there are the brothers of several who have associated with me. There is Nicostratus the son of Theosdotides, and the brother of Theodotus (now Theodotus himself is dead, and therefore he, at any rate, will not seek to stop him); and there is Paralus the son of Demodocus, who had a brother Theages; and Adeimantus the son of Ariston, whose brother Plato is present; and Aeantodorus, who is the brother of Apollodorus, whom I also see. I might mention a great many others, any of whom Meletus should have produced as witnesses in the course of his speech; and let him still produce them, if he has forgotten - I will make way for him. And let him say, if he has any testimony of the sort which he can produce. Nay, Athenians, the very opposite is the truth. For all these are ready to witness on behalf of the corrupter, of the destroyer of their kindred, as Meletus and Anytus call me; not the corrupted youth only - there might have been a motive for that - but their uncorrupted elder relatives. Why should they too support me with their testimony? Why, indeed, except for the sake of truth and justice, and because they know that I am speaking the truth, and that Meletus is lying.
Well, Athenians, this and the like of this is nearly all the defence which I have to offer. Yet a word more. Perhaps there may be someone who is offended at me, when he calls to mind how he himself, on a similar or even a less serious occasion, had recourse to prayers and supplications with many tears, and how he produced his children in court, which was a moving spectacle, together with a posse of his relations and friends; whereas I, who am probably in danger of my life, will do none of these things. Perhaps this may come into his mind, and he may be set against me, and vote in anger because he is displeased at this. Now if there be such a person among you, which I am far from affirming, I may fairly reply to him: My friend, I am a man, and like other men, a creature of flesh and blood, and not of wood or stone, as Homer says; and I have a family, yes, and sons. O Athenians, three in number, one of whom is growing up, and the two others are still young; and yet I will not bring any of them hither in order to petition you for an acquittal. And why not? Not from any self-will or disregard of you. Whether I am or am not afraid of death is another question, of which I will not now speak. But my reason simply is that I feel such conduct to be discreditable to myself, and you, and the whole state. One who has reached my years, and who has a name for wisdom, whether deserved or not, ought not to debase himself. At any rate, the world has decided that Socrates is in some way superior to other men. And if those among you who are said to be superior in wisdom and courage, and any other virtue, demean themselves in this way, how shameful is their conduct! I have seen men of reputation, when they have been condemned, behaving in the strangest manner: they seemed to fancy that they were going to suffer something dreadful if they died, and that they could be immortal if you only allowed them to live; and I think that they were a dishonor to the state, and that any stranger coming in would say of them that the most eminent men of Athens, to whom the Athenians themselves give honor and command, are no better than women. And I say that these things ought not to be done by those of us who are of reputation; and if they are done, you ought not to permit them; you ought rather to show that you are more inclined to condemn, not the man who is quiet, but the man who gets up a doleful scene, and makes the city ridiculous.
But, setting aside the question of dishonor, there seems to be something wrong in petitioning a judge, and thus procuring an acquittal instead of informing and convincing him. For his duty is, not to make a present of justice, but to give judgment; and he has sworn that he will judge according to the laws, and not according to his own good pleasure; and neither he nor we should get into the habit of perjuring ourselves - there can be no piety in that. Do not then require me to do what I consider dishonorable and impious and wrong, especially now, when I am being tried for impiety on the indictment of Meletus. For if, O men of Athens, by force of persuasion and entreaty, I could overpower your oaths, then I should be teaching you to believe that there are no gods, and convict myself, in my own defence, of not believing in them. But that is not the case; for I do believe that there are gods, and in a far higher sense than that in which any of my accusers believe in them. And to you and to God I commit my cause, to be determined by you as is best for you and me.

The jury finds Socrates guilty.

Socrates' Proposal for his Sentence

There are many reasons why I am not grieved, O men of Athens, at the vote of condemnation. I expected it, and am only surprised that the votes are so nearly equal; for I had thought that the majority against me would have been far larger; but now, had thirty votes gone over to the other side, I should have been acquitted. And I may say that I have escaped Meletus. And I may say more; for without the assistance of Anytus and Lycon, he would not have had a fifth part of the votes, as the law requires, in which case he would have incurred a fine of a thousand drachmae, as is evident.
And so he proposes death as the penalty. And what shall I propose on my part, O men of Athens? Clearly that which is my due. And what is that which I ought to pay or to receive? What shall be done to the man who has never had the wit to be idle during his whole life; but has been careless of what the many care about - wealth, and family interests, and military offices, and speaking in the assembly, and magistracies, and plots, and parties. Reflecting that I was really too honest a man to follow in this way and live, I did not go where I could do no good to you or to myself; but where I could do the greatest good privately to everyone of you, thither I went, and sought to persuade every man among you that he must look to himself, and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests, and look to the state before he looks to the interests of the state; and that this should be the order which he observes in all his actions. What shall be done to such a one? Doubtless some good thing, O men of Athens, if he has his reward; and the good should be of a kind suitable to him. What would be a reward suitable to a poor man who is your benefactor, who desires leisure that he may instruct you? There can be no more fitting reward than maintenance in the Prytaneum, O men of Athens, a reward which he deserves far more than the citizen who has won the prize at Olympia in the horse or chariot race, whether the chariots were drawn by two horses or by many. For I am in want, and he has enough; and he only gives you the appearance of happiness, and I give you the reality. And if I am to estimate the penalty justly, I say that maintenance in the Prytaneum is the just return.
Perhaps you may think that I am braving you in saying this, as in what I said before about the tears and prayers. But that is not the case. I speak rather because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged anyone, although I cannot convince you of that - for we have had a short conversation only; but if there were a law at Athens, such as there is in other cities, that a capital cause should not be decided in one day, then I believe that I should have convinced you; but now the time is too short. I cannot in a moment refute great slanders; and, as I am convinced that I never wronged another, I will assuredly not wrong myself. I will not say of myself that I deserve any evil, or propose any penalty. Why should I? Because I am afraid of the penalty of death which Meletus proposes? When I do not know whether death is a good or an evil, why should I propose a penalty which would certainly be an evil? Shall I say imprisonment? And why should I live in prison, and be the slave of the magistrates of the year - of the Eleven? Or shall the penalty be a fine, and imprisonment until the fine is paid? There is the same objection. I should have to lie in prison, for money I have none, and I cannot pay. And if I say exile (and this may possibly be the penalty which you will affix), I must indeed be blinded by the love of life if I were to consider that when you, who are my own citizens, cannot endure my discourses and words, and have found them so grievous and odious that you would fain have done with them, others are likely to endure me. No, indeed, men of Athens, that is not very likely. And what a life should I lead, at my age, wandering from city to city, living in ever-changing exile, and always being driven out! For I am quite sure that into whatever place I go, as here so also there, the young men will come to me; and if I drive them away, their elders will drive me out at their desire: and if I let them come, their fathers and friends will drive me out for their sakes.
Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say again that the greatest good of man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living - that you are still less likely to believe. And yet what I say is true, although a thing of which it is hard for me to persuade you. Moreover, I am not accustomed to think that I deserve any punishment. Had I money I might have proposed to give you what I had, and have been none the worse. But you see that I have none, and can only ask you to proportion the fine to my means. However, I think that I could afford a minae, and therefore I propose that penalty; Plato, Crito, Critobulus, and Apollodorus, my friends here, bid me say thirty minae, and they will be the sureties. Well then, say thirty minae, let that be the penalty; for that they will be ample security to you.

[The jury condemns Socrates to death. ]

[Socrates' Comments on his Sentence ]

Not much time will be gained, O Athenians, in return for the evil name which you will get from the detractors of the city, who will say that you killed Socrates, a wise man; for they will call me wise even although I am not wise when they want to reproach you. If you had waited a little while, your desire would have been fulfilled in the course of nature. For I am far advanced in years, as you may perceive, and not far from death. I am speaking now only to those of you who have condemned me to death. And I have another thing to say to them: You think that I was convicted through deficiency of words - I mean, that if I had thought fit to leave nothing undone, nothing unsaid, I might have gained an acquittal. Not so; the deficiency which led to my conviction was not of words - certainly not. But I had not the boldness or impudence or inclination to address you as you would have liked me to address you, weeping and wailing and lamenting, and saying and doing many things which you have been accustomed to hear from others, and which, as I say, are unworthy of me. But I thought that I ought not to do anything common or mean in the hour of danger: nor do I now repent of the manner of my defence, and I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death; and in other dangers there are other ways of escaping death, if a man is willing to say and do anything. 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. I suppose that these things may be regarded as fated, - and I think that they are well.
And now, O men who have condemned me, I would fain prophesy to you; for I am about to die, and that is the hour in which men are gifted with prophetic power. And I prophesy to you who are my murderers, that immediately after my death punishment far heavier than you have inflicted on me will surely await you. Me you have killed because you wanted to escape the accuser, and not to give an account of your lives. But that will not be as you suppose: far otherwise. For I say that there will be more accusers of you than there are now; accusers whom hitherto I have restrained: and as they are younger they will be more severe with you, and you will be more offended at them. For if you think that by killing men you can avoid the accuser censuring your lives, you are mistaken; that is not a way of escape which is either possible or honorable; the easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves. This is the prophecy which I utter before my departure, to the judges who have condemned me.
Friends, who would have acquitted me, I would like also to talk with you about this thing which has happened, while the magistrates are busy, and before I go to the place at which I must die. Stay then awhile, for we may as well talk with one another while there is time. You are my friends, and I should like to show you the meaning of this event which has happened to me. O my judges - for you I may truly call judges - I should like to tell you of a wonderful circumstance. Hitherto the familiar oracle within me has constantly been in the habit of opposing me even about trifles, if I was going to make a slip or error about anything; and now as you see there has come upon me that which may be thought, and is generally believed to be, the last and worst evil. But the oracle made no sign of opposition, either as I was leaving my house and going out in the morning, or when I was going up into this court, or while I was speaking, at anything which I was going to say; and yet I have often been stopped in the middle of a speech; but now in nothing I either said or did touching this matter has the oracle opposed me. What do I take to be the explanation of this? I will tell you. I regard this as a proof that what has happened to me is a good, and that those of us who think that death is an evil are in error. This is a great proof to me of what I am saying, for the customary sign would surely have opposed me had I been going to evil and not to good.
Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good, for one of two things: - either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private man, but even the great king, will not find many such days or nights, when compared with the others. Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night. But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead are, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this? If indeed when the pilgrim arrives in the world below, he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world, and finds the true judges who are said to give judgment there, Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus and Triptolemus, and other sons of God who were righteous in their own life, that pilgrimage will be worth making. What would not a man give if he might converse with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? Nay, if this be true, let me die again and again. I, too, shall have a wonderful interest in a place where I can converse with Palamedes, and Ajax the son of Telamon, and other heroes of old, who have suffered death through an unjust judgment; and there will be no small pleasure, as I think, in comparing my own sufferings with theirs. Above all, I shall be able to continue my search into true and false knowledge; as in this world, so also in that; I shall find out who is wise, and who pretends to be wise, and is not. What would not a man give, O judges, to be able to examine the leader of the great Trojan expedition; or Odysseus or Sisyphus, or numberless others, men and women too! What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking them questions! For in that world they do not put a man to death for this; certainly not. For besides being happier in that world than in this, they will be immortal, if what is said is true.
Wherefore, O judges, be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth - that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods; nor has my own approaching end happened by mere chance. But I see clearly that to die and be released was better for me; and therefore the oracle gave no sign. For which reason also, I am not angry with my accusers, or my condemners; they have done me no harm, although neither of them meant to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them.
Still I have a favor to ask of them. When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing, - then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands.
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.

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