The quest for a good life and happiness has presumably always been central to human beings. Many have taken different approaches to reach this well-desired goal, and among these many is Socrates. Socrates believed that the key to living a good life is through the soul, and not through material objects or reputations. He also thoroughly believed in a daimon and insisted this voice was a higher source of inspiration that deterred him from certain acts and gave him advice. Many of his characteristics for living a good life are a product of his daimon and its guiding information.
Socrates takes a non-traditional approach to living a good life through his ethical and conscientious values. His tactics for living a good life are most definitely applicable to life today. In terms of a daimon, it is certain that if one were to repeatedly make the wrong decisions, the daimon would be silenced. Throughout the Apology, Socrates insisted that the way he was living his life was the true way to live. He focused that the maintenance of the soul was the key to achieving and maintaining a life worth living.
One of the main characteristics he stated can be simplified to just doing the right thing. Socrates further declared his point when he explained that one should do the right act regardless of the circumstances. During his trial, when asked if he was ashamed of valuing the right thing now that his life is at stake, he began to defend his beliefs. He responded, “if you supposed that a man who is even a little benefit should take into account the danger of living or dying, not rather consider this alone whenever he acts: whether his actions are just or unjust” (28b).
This is explaining that the consequences of an act are truly irrelevant when it is the right thing to do. Socrates ultimately believed that an expert in living well does not easily get confused in situations they encounter, they have a set mind on what they feel is right and should not let fear deter that in any way, which is a perfect example of his respect for conscientious values. During the trial, Socrates continually expressed his views on living a proper life that is full of wisdom and happiness.
He insisted on pursuing wisdom of the soul even though it got him into trouble and eventually cost him his life. A very dominant aspect of this wisdom does not come from pursuing such things as money, reputation and public honour or nobility, but from prudence, truth and the condition of their soul. “Are you not then ashamed to care for money and reputation, and public honor, while yet having no thought or concern for wisdom and truth and the greatest possible excellence of your soul? ” (29d). Socrates clearly stated here that the most important aspects of a life should not be materialized.
He believed that in order to be successful, one needs to have the proper intentions and be focused on prudence, truth, or wisdom and everything else will follow. For example, “Not from money does virtue come, but from virtue comes money” (30b). It is thought that if someone were to focus on what is important (according to Socrates) and think consciously about the problem, he might live a better life and be happier. Another very important aspect of one’s life that will improve their overall wisdom and happiness is honesty and being true to yourself.
Socrates gave a very good example of this when in the trial he did not want the assistance of women and children to sway the decision in his favour. He just wanted the facts to be focused on. It becomes important to note that although Socrates was found guilty of his wrong doings, he never once swayed away from his beliefs even when his life was in danger. This proves how deeply he believed in these characteristics of living a good life. A person’s daimon can be described as a higher source of information or enlightenment. It is a distant voice that Socrates claimed never urged him on and swayed him from making bad decisions.
Socrates and his fellow friends, at a point in time, never did anything without consulting it first. A daimon is a very delicate spirit that must be respected and obeyed. If an individual continually makes the wrong decision and ignores the voice of the daimon, it will ultimately be silenced. One needs to have the right intentions behind their actions and if a person repeatedly does wrong, despite the voice, it will no longer be of use. When the daimon is unfavourable to the questioner it will remain absolutely silent, even in times of need.
It must feel the person’s intentions to be true for it to speak; it needs to know that the person will use its knowledge to do good. A daimon speaks in moments of solitude where it will be best understood. It must know whether or not the person will listen to what it has to say because otherwise it won’t speak at all. Due to the delicate nature of the daimon, it needs to be properly approached when asked a question and the answers must be respected. Once the individual begins to ignore the daimon’s answers and take it for granted, the daimon will not speak.
The daimon is very perceptual and if the host continually makes wrong decisions despite what the daimon says, that person will have lost the one thing that may have kept them on the right path for so long. In conclusion, Socrates has outlined many characteristics for living a good life that are most definitely applicable by today’s societal standards. His focus on maintenance of the soul is most interesting because it is not something that many consider a concern today. Being an overall good person, regardless of the consequences, is a feat that people of today need to consider more when deciding their everyday actions.
Another important characteristic that Socrates outlines is the wisdom of the soul, and ultimately the wisdom of your life, and how this can be attained through non-material items. It is relevant to note how many people today do feel that money can bring you happiness, but in Socrates’ eyes, that should never be the case. Socrates’ words are wise and universal and many individuals today should strive to be a better person with a happier life through his advice. Referring to a daimon, this spirit will become silenced if a person’s actions are repeatedly contradictory to its advice.
It must be respected or otherwise it will not voice its opinion. I completely agree with this position of the daimon being silenced. Socrates always had the daimon by his side, and he trusted it with utmost respect. Socrates was a true hero at living well, and focused so greatly at maintaining his soul that he was at peace with the decision of his sentence. He believed so deeply in living a good life that when it was time for it to end he was not angry, he was happy and grateful for the life he did live, and it would be tremendous for people in the 21st century to have such a positive aspect on life just as Socrates did.