A pHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION

2014, Oil on Italian Linen, 60 x 50cm

 

A social and moral critic, Socrates clashed with the prevailing Athenian politics. But his trouble really started when a friend asked the Oracle at Delphi if anyone were wiser than Socrates. When the reply came there were none wiser, Socrates found himself in the odd position of having to refute this apparent slur. 

He consulted the finest minds of the times. While each man thought they knew a great deal, in fact they knew very little and were not particularly wise either. Socrates however was aware of his own failings, which thus proved the accusation to be true. This paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to further accusations of wrongdoing. 

In short, he pissed off the wrong people. Found guilty of impiety and corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, he was sentenced to death by poison. 

Clearly the right bloke living in the wrong times, he was perhaps just a little too smart for his own good.