Despite his contributions to the foundations of philosophy as we have known today, it is a cruel irony that at 70 years old, Socrates was convicted to death for allegedly corrupting the youth’s minds. He was also convicted for not believing in the gods of the state and for speaking with contempt to the high ranking officials of his time (Ober “Gadfly on Trial” 2). The accounts of his trials were written by his avid and equally popular student Plato in Apology (Colaiaco 17). In Apology, he quoted:
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
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By becoming a gadfly, Socrates opened a trend to the philosophers of the new generations. More and more people are acting like gadflies themselves. People are nowadays asking more questions and finding ways on how the humanity can improve. The journalists and the mass media for example are one of the major societal gadflies of today’s politics. They expose the mistakes of those in power, ask questions, and critique the norms that we have already settled as “just”. Economic gadflies are also apparent nowadays. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs is an example of such. Without their innovation, we would never know what PCs or ipods are. In conclusion, I think the gadflies in our society, though not all the time appreciated, are the only ones who can make significant impact and who can revolutionize the world to what it is today. We have to be grateful to these people who were able to think “outside of the box” and did not restrict themselves to definitions provided by the society. Our world would always be in need of gadflies in order to progress and improve. Works Cited
Colaiaco, James A. Socrates Against Athens Philosophy on Trial. New York. pp 16-17.
Mcintyre, Suzanne and Burns, William. “Socrates The Trial Addresses.” Speeches in World History. pp 21-23.
Ober, Josiah. “Gadfly on Trial: Socrates as Citizen and Social Critic.” In A. Lanni, ed., Athenian Law in its Democratic Context. 2003.