We all know Socrates. One of the world’s earliest and well-known philosopher, Socrates, was also kind of a weird guy. This short excerpt from Alain de Botton’s documentary A Guide to Happiness makes a pretty good case for Socrates’ behavioral oddities, listing things like not bathing nor washing his garb, not wearing footwear and, worst of them all, creeping out Athenians of his time by randomly approaching them on the street and asking grand questions about life and the human experience. Beyond those quirks, He was also a man of extraordinary insight and insatiable curiosity. Couple that with his fearless non-conformist attitude, you not only have a man who will go on to define the maddening exercise called ‘philosophy‘, but also a serious offender of a few local laws of ancient Greece. Granted, those laws were the result of some ludicrously ignorant Athenians, but a majority of the citizens thought they were pretty good laws at that time. Socrates was democratically judged guilty – not of ignoring basic hygiene, which would have been totally fair, but of offending Greek Gods – and so he drank the state administered poison and went limp. He believed that logical reasoning was the truest way to arrive at truth and through his death, he gave the world what must be the simplest, and yet, the most powerful, manifesto for anyone aspiring to be a thinking person.
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