Death before Dishonor: A Logical Choice

Socrates is faced with the choice of death before dishonor in his Apology. What would you choose? Why?

In Plato’s “The Apology of Socrates” he says, “For neither in war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.”

I read this in another post I wrote back in May of 2015, and it struck me once again how vitally important these words are to remember. There is no human on this planet that can escape death. It comes for us all. But, with effort, we do have a hope of escaping unrighteousness.

To force others into slavery so that you feel safer, to create laws and ordinances that trample the rights of others so that you may live another day, to encourage others to suffer with you as you struggle to survive, that is unrighteousness.

At the end of Apology, Socrates stands before those who will kill for teaching what he believes is right and he feels sorry for them. Death is an unavoidable event, but unrighteousness? He chooses to stay his course.

His choices were death or to live in exile the rest of his life knowing that he compromised his beliefs. There are two things that could happen to him after death: non-existence, a perfect sleep, forever without worry, or an afterlife with those that had died before him, chatting it up with the heroes and philosophers of old.

He chose death.

Death before dishonor is a logical choice and I hope that will choose the same.

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