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Numbers 270/84: Socrates drinks hemlock .... but is it Spring?

I know that I know nothing. One of Socrates most remembered expressions of his philosophy, which demanded we continually ask questions to search for truth …. He was tried in Athens in 399 BC and on even date was held guilty of two charges: impiety against the pantheon of Athens, and corruption of the youth of the city-state. His accusers had cited two impious acts by Socrates: "failing to acknowledge the Gods that the City acknowledged" and "Introducing new deities". The death sentence of Socrates was the legal consequence of asking politico-philosophic questions of his students. At trial the majority of the male-citizen jurors chosen by lot voted to convict him then agreed to a sentence of death to be executed by Socrates’s drinking poisonous hemlock. En passant, it's worth noting that he did not believe in democracy as practised in Athens; he believed that the best educated should run the show! Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore was perhaps the greatest contemporary disciple of his creating and leading the extraordinary transformation of his City State through its meritocracy. To take one quotation: “When people say, ‘Oh, ask the people!’, it’s childish rubbish … They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequences of his choice when he answers a question viscerally on language, culture and religion? … we would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate.”

The sun broke through this morning … …. and Avril couldn't resist a spot of tidying up for the green bin. After all it's due for collection tomorrow and it's stood unused for the past month. We've known the snowdrops were looking grand for three weeks now and the heather's been out since December, but the first sight of this wee iris beneath the leaves as she cleared the decks was unexpected.

Published Date: February 15th 2021

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