It is not a simple thing to study Socrates’ philosophical beliefs: since he has not left any works of his own, we can only explore them from Plato’s and Xenophon’s records. However, their records are often contradictory, so it has always been a controversial topic as to which records are closer to the truth. Some people think that Socrates does not have any specific beliefs, but only interrogates each belief. Plato’s lengthy theory published in the Republic is actually Plato’s own idea. It is quite difficult to distinguish the concepts of Plato and Socrates from the records, and it is even more difficult to explain their concepts. Therefore, it is not easy to find Socrates’ ideas from Plato and Xenophon’s records – it is important to note that these ideas are probably not put forward by Socrates himself, but may be closer to the views of the recorder himself.
The evidence from the dialogue shows that Socrates had only two tutors: the grammarian Prodicus and a priestess Diotima, who taught Socrates about love. Some dialogues also show that Socrates was influenced by thinkers at that time, such as parmenides and Anaxagoras, who are usually regarded as Socrates’ mentors in historical records. John Burnet, a classical historian, claimed that Socrates’ main mentor was Archelaus, a scholar of the Anaxagoras School. The record of Archelaus is actually Socrates’ own theory. Eric A. Havelock, on the other hand, thinks that the relationship between Socrates and Anaxagoras School proves the difference between his philosophy and Plato’s.
1. Law of Conservation of Suffering
There is a ” law of conservation of suffering” in this world: suffering is the basic feature of life. The total amount of suffering for a person’s whole life is constant. It will neither disappear nor arise without reason. It will only move from one stage to another or from one form to another.
Suffering is a basic attribute of life. The more you choose to run away from it now, the more you have to sacrifice more to deal with it in the future.
Life has always been a master at creating various grievances. The grievances it can offer are multifarious in items and styles: for example, efforts are denied, hard work is not recognized, patience is not exchanged for understanding, sincerity is not accepted, silent efforts are not fruitful … And life is not fully accountable for them.
Schopenhauer had a very incisive comment on socializing and solitude. He said: ” Living in a social crowd necessarily requires people to accommodate and tolerate each other. Therefore, the bigger the party, the more likely it is to become boring. Only when a person is alone can he become himself completely. If anyone does not love solitude, then he does not love freedom, because only when one is alone, he is free. Formality and constraint inevitably accompany social gatherings. ” He also said an interesting sentence: ” The upper class needs to become mediocre to attend social gatherings.”
In high school, I met a Chinese teacher, Mr. Li Tiecheng. After he returned to Zhengzhou in 1981, we had not met for 20 years. I had the opportunity to go to Zhengzhou on business. I asked Zhengzhou’s friends to help me find him and finally met him in Zhengzhou. Twenty years later, I saw a teacher with rich hair. In a very ordinary and simple study, he wrote the world-renowned masterpiece New Tao Te Ching, which is praised as the most incisive exposition of life issues since the May 4th Movement. With his painstaking efforts, he made masterpieces such as Sacrifice to Emperor Yan, Monument to Emperor Xuanyuan, Monument to Confucius, etc. As the teacher said: ” I am a lonely person, I am always lonely, but I am an independent thinker”. When I came back from Zhengzhou, I was immersed in the conversation with my teacher. I looked at the poems and poems sent by my teacher again. I recalled the teacher’s indifference to material life. I understood more and more that character and realm are enriched by inner thoughts.