"The unexamined life is not worth living."
It was the "apology" that started it all. Written around 360 B.C., Plato's famous essay (from the Greek word apologia, meaning "defense") recounts how Socrates defended himself against charges that he was corrupting Athen's youth and blaspheming local gods with his philosophical musings. As a witness to the trial's proceedings, Plato recalls how his mentor refused to express regret for his lifestyle, even going so far as to liken himself to a "gadfly" trying to arouse a "lazy horse" (read: Athenian society). But while Socrates' speech would go on to shape thousands of years of Western thought, a jury of his peers remained unconvinced; at the age of 70, he was found guilty of impiety and sentenced to death by hemlock poisoning a verdict that, according to Plato, did not surprise the sage in the least. "The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways," Plato quotes Socrates as saying at his sentencing. "I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows." So much for saying "I'm sorry."
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