Was Socrates Gay?

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Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 11:51 am
I hope I don't get banned for bringing up this topic. But, I really want to talk about his personal life with his fellow philosophers. It seems to me that he enjoyed their physical companionship as well as the mental stimulation of his male friends. When I brought it up in school, the teacher just bipassed the topic, saying that nobody knows wink wink, and that it doesn't matter. I think it does matter because the truths he came to recognize came from personal companionship with his consorts. Also, I think he was killed for corrupting the minds of the youth due to this main factor and not his philosophical beliefs. That is not something I strongly believe, but I would like to discuss it further.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 12:50 pm
@Magnus phil,
As a society, ancient Greece was bisexual. It was common for men to have sex with women and other men. Commonly, sex would be with wives and prostitutes, and with younger men whom one was mentoring. See:

History of human sexuality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As for Socrates, if we look at the writings about him, he was married and had children. Other than that, I don't think anything about his sex life is recorded (though if anyone has any references to the contrary, I hope they provide them). Probably, Socrates engaged in sex with both men and women, because that was normal for a man in that time and place, but I don't think there is any specific record of what he did.

Because of the general practice of the society in which he lived, he would not have been put to death for having sex with men. The corrupting of the youth had to do with their minds, not with having sex.

And I agree with your teacher: It does not matter for anything that Socrates is recorded as having said, because no argument he makes rests on whether or not he had sex with other men. That also explains why no one seems to have bothered recording what he did sexually, as it was not regarded as important at the time.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 03:02 pm
@Pyrrho,
Socrates was killed because he had the courage to ask difficult questions. Under Pericles, a man like Socrates could practice his method of discourse, his often times unsettling manner of investigation. After the plague, in which Pericles perished, Athens was in a state of shock and disorder - they had, not only the aftermath of the devastating Peloponnesian War, but also a plague that decimated the city's population.

People were terrified, Socrates could be unsettling. He refused to compromise his method to appease their fearful state, and so he was condemned to death.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 04:02 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;124185 wrote:

People were terrified, Socrates could be unsettling. He refused to compromise his method to appease their fearful state, and so he was condemned to death.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 04:31 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;124185 wrote:
Socrates was killed because he had the courage to ask difficult questions. Under Pericles, a man like Socrates could practice his method of discourse, his often times unsettling manner of investigation. After the plague, in which Pericles perished, Athens was in a state of shock and disorder - they had, not only the aftermath of the devastating Peloponnesian War, but also a plague that decimated the city's population.

People were terrified, Socrates could be unsettling. He refused to compromise his method to appease their fearful state, and so he was condemned to death.



Some of the so-called students of Socrates were involved in treasonous activities against Athens (e.g., Critias & Alcibiades). See:

Trial of Socrates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is quite possible that that is the real reason why they killed him, though it is difficult to say definitively without official records of what happened.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 04:49 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;124211 wrote:


It was arranged for him to "escape" to another city. He refused because he held that he had a duty to obey even an unjust law. See Plato's dialogue, Crito where this issue is discussed at length. What is interesting is that he was arrested, and condemned to death because he would not obey the law. This view is defended by Socrates in Plato's Apology. So in one dialogue, Socrates defends his breaking an unjust law which forbids him to teach his views. But, tnen, later, he defends obeying an unjust law which condemned him to death. And important part of understanding Socrates is how these contrary views can be reconciled.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 04:50 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Are you asking if brilliant minds are brilliant because of their sexuality?
It is only the trails that one goes through in their life that teaches and defines a person, Socrates sexulaity was never a trial so was never something to really gleen any knowledge from, it was not a question, so does not need solving.
Was Socrates gay? Who cares as long as you see the brilliance he gave without doubting it or confusing it with sexuality, his or yours.
Would his words teach you more if he were gay? Not unless you are trying to teach yourself something, frankly useless.
His wisdom was not sexualy based, why should we be biased one way or the other?
You must remember sexuality is not who we are, is not even our identity really, it is a small mind that concludes you as a matter of sex, your sex or by others sex. That includes yourself seeing yourself as more or less of a person because of your sexuality. These people do not matter and if you think it does you lose as well. No better, no worse.
Unless a trial and has taught you something you could not learn elsewhere, but this does not mean that all other peoples have not learned of by their own trails also, this includes straight people, includeds all people, just as confused as the each and the rest when it come to defining the self.
'I say more you say less'.
We are all caught inbetween something, else self.
We are not what we think we are! ?
We are who we think we are! ?
Gay pride or self pride, which is it better to be proud of? If either.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 04:58 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;124221 wrote:
Some of the so-called students of Socrates were involved in treasonous activities against Athens (e.g., Critias & Alcibiades). See:

Trial of Socrates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is quite possible that that is the real reason why they killed him, though it is difficult to say definitively without official records of what happened.


If so, they certainly did not seem very enthusiastic about killing Socrates. When he was found guilty he was offered the choice instead of suggesting a fine which he could pay, and then be freed. He offered an insultingly trivial sum of money, which they could not accept without losing face. Then, after Socrates was condemned to death, they let it be known to his friends that if he decided to escape and go to another city, the guards would look the other way. Of course, Socrates refused to do that too. For more on the significance of this, see my earlier post.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 05:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124228 wrote:
Pyrrho;124221 wrote:
Some of the so-called students of Socrates were involved in treasonous activities against Athens (e.g., Critias & Alcibiades). See:

Trial of Socrates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is quite possible that that is the real reason why they killed him, though it is difficult to say definitively without official records of what happened.

If so, they certainly did not seem very enthusiastic about killing Socrates. When he was found guilty he was offered the choice instead of suggesting a fine which he could pay, and then be freed. He offered an insultingly trivial sum of money, which they could not accept without losing face. Then, after Socrates was condemned to death, they let it be known to his friends that if he decided to escape and go to another city, the guards would look the other way. Of course, Socrates refused to do that too. For more on the significance of this, see my earlier post.


According to the view that Socrates was killed for influencing people into treason, Socrates himself was not accused of actually participating in the treason. According to both Xenophon and Plato, Socrates had some ideas that may be construed as antidemocratic and antagonistic to the laws of Athens (such as the idea that the opinion of the many did not matter) and therefore he may have been regarded as inciting treason. See Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.2.9; Plato, Crito 47c-d, Laches 184e.

If he left Athens, never to return, he would no longer be able to "corrupt" the youth in Athens, which evidently was thought to be good enough. Getting rid of the "bad influence" appears to have been the goal. Whether he was killed or exiled would accomplish this goal.

Again, I do not say that this is why he was killed; only that it is possibly why he was killed. We don't have any official court records of any of what happened or why it happened.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 05:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124225 wrote:
It was arranged for him to "escape" to another city. He refused because he held that he had a duty to obey even an unjust law. See Plato's dialogue, Crito where this issue is discussed at length. What is interesting is that he was arrested, and condemned to death because he would not obey the law. This view is defended by Socrates in Plato's Apology. So in one dialogue, Socrates defends his breaking an unjust law which forbids him to teach his views. But, tnen, later, he defends obeying an unjust law which condemned him to death. And important part of understanding Socrates is how these contrary views can be reconciled.


In the history around Oedipus Antigone refers to laws by humans versus:Glasses: laws by the gods
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 05:55 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;124238 wrote:
In the history around Oedipus Antigone refers to laws by humans versus:Glasses: laws by the gods


Yes, one view is that he distinguished between man-made laws, and higher laws. He said that he had been commanded to teach by God, and that the laws of God superseded those of man. It is the kind of distinction that later civil disobedients have made. For example, Martin Luther King in his, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 06:01 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124240 wrote:
Yes, one view is that he distinguished between man-made laws, and higher laws. He said that he had been commanded to teach by God, and that the laws of God superseded those of man. It is the kind of distinction that later civil disobedients have made. For example, Martin Luther King in his, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".


Searched f:shocked:or civil resistence but had no results on the forum, are US citizens aware of geo-politics?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 06:05 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Magnus;124131 wrote:
I hope I don't get banned for bringing up this topic. But, I really want to talk about his personal life with his fellow philosophers. It seems to me that he enjoyed their physical companionship as well as the mental stimulation of his male friends. When I brought it up in school, the teacher just bipassed the topic, saying that nobody knows wink wink, and that it doesn't matter. I think it does matter because the truths he came to recognize came from personal companionship with his consorts. Also, I think he was killed for corrupting the minds of the youth due to this main factor and not his philosophical beliefs. That is not something I strongly believe, but I would like to discuss it further.



Was Socrates gay? Read Plato's Phaedrus to get a good idea of at least Socrates' orientations.

A small note about Phaedrus PhaedrusPulp Fiction with Andy Dick half way through the movie. But Socrates says that his drastic change is attributed to a possession by the Gods. Phaedrus is extensive harmfulWas Socrates gay? Maybe we get an idea of that from a critic of Socrates named Aristophanes. Aristophanes in The Clouds made Socrates to be everything except sane. Strepsiades for instance found Socrates at the academy suspended in a basket in the middle of the grounds (along a length of rope) looking directly into the sun. When Strepsiades asked him what he was doing, Socrates replied he was "treading the air and contemplating the sun." In another part, Aristophanes makes Socrates out to be boy hungry (quite the opposite of what he really is) and enjoyed a boy's "dewy, downy, peach fuzz." So maybe we think Socrates was flaming gay from his critics who sought to smear him in the first place. Although the social norms were much different, Socrates, as far as The Phaedrus is concerned, is not interested in that kind of thing more than his own intellectual accomplishment. Also, I think many people may draw the wrong conclusions from the Apologia and Crito where Socrates must answer for corrupting the youth of Athens.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 06:43 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
There's a scene in the Symposium where Alcibiades tells about the time he tried to trade gay or pederastic sex for teaching with Socrates but Socrates refuses his advances. I guess that was the normal setup in those days for those who were into boys at least: pederasty and pedagogy were linked. It's too long to quote here. It starts around line 217. Doesn't necessarily mean that Socrates was not gay or a pederast but it is still very relevant to the OP. If he was gay, maybe it was Platonic gayness.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 06:44 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;124243 wrote:
Searched f:shocked:or civil resistence but had no results on the forum, are US citizens aware of geo-politics?


It is civil disobedience.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 07:09 pm
@Magnus phil,
Homosexuality was I believe almost the norm in Greek society (can anyone check me on this?), so it would be unlikely that simple homosexuality would be considered offensive in any way. Of course, I don't find anything very offensive about his philosophy either. My suspicion is that they were only trying to prove the syllogism...

All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man (a manly man,as they say in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood).
Socrates is mortal. (yep. check. roger-ten-four that.)

...another victory for the scientific method. :-)

Samm
 
Magnus phil
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 12:59 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;124244 wrote:
Was Socrates gay? Read Plato's Phaedrus to get a good idea of at least Socrates' orientations.

A small note about Phaedrus PhaedrusPulp Fiction with Andy Dick half way through the movie. But Socrates says that his drastic change is attributed to a possession by the Gods. Phaedrus is extensive harmfulWas Socrates gay? Maybe we get an idea of that from a critic of Socrates named Aristophanes. Aristophanes in The Clouds made Socrates to be everything except sane. Strepsiades for instance found Socrates at the academy suspended in a basket in the middle of the grounds (along a length of rope) looking directly into the sun. When Strepsiades asked him what he was doing, Socrates replied he was "treading the air and contemplating the sun." In another part, Aristophanes makes Socrates out to be boy hungry (quite the opposite of what he really is) and enjoyed a boy's "dewy, downy, peach fuzz." So maybe we think Socrates was flaming gay from his critics who sought to smear him in the first place. Although the social norms were much different, Socrates, as far as The Phaedrus is concerned, is not interested in that kind of thing more than his own intellectual accomplishment. Also, I think many people may draw the wrong conclusions from the Apologia and Crito where Socrates must answer for corrupting the youth of Athens.


Yes, I read that. I don't have any of the books handy now, but as I recall, there was one man who flew into a jealous rage over Socrates. Socrates explained to him why his sort of love leads to irrational beliefs. That is why I think his sexual and love relations shaped his philosophy. Even though Socrates was married, he often liked to stay out drinking and philosophizing. I'm sure the drinking shaped his philosophy more though. lol

I love Socrates. His life style makes me wonder if homosexual relations were seen as normal, how much more intellectualism would play into American culture. Drinking doesn't seem to help out people too much...
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 01:16 am
@Magnus phil,
Magnus;124286 wrote:
His life style makes me wonder if homosexual relations were seen as normal, how much more intellectualism would play into American culture.


Perhaps they need not be seen as normal, but at least acceptable and perfectly natural. A more open minded attitude toward homosexuality would certainly allow people to be more open and honest - and that openness and honesty would certainly help them to be more expressive in their art. Ginsberg and Whitman come to mind.

Magnus;124286 wrote:
Drinking doesn't seem to help out people too much...


There can always be too much, that's for sure, but drinking seemed to be rather important to the art of Kerouac and Thompson and Vonnegut to name a few. If nothing else, Kerouac managed to produce some of the most poignant images of the impact of heavy drinking since Zola - Big Sur was brilliant in this way.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 01:25 am
@Didymos Thomas,
What about Michel Foucault? Was he gay?
 
Magnus phil
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 01:48 am
@Didymos Thomas,
[/QUOTE]
There can always be too much, that's for sure, but drinking seemed to be rather important to the art of Kerouac and Thompson and Vonnegut to name a few. If nothing else, Kerouac managed to produce some of the most poignant images of the impact of heavy drinking since Zola - Big Sur was brilliant in this way.[/QUOTE]

Perhaps they were all suffering from depression too?

Depression is more prevalent in introspective individuals.

This is getting off topic... I think I had enough responses to understand why nobody seems to care about the lifestyle of Socrates.
 
 

 
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