How King Shows Socrates’ Influence on Him
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Socrates was a prominent classical Greek philosopher, known as one of the founders of western philosophy. He pioneered a new era of Greek philosophy with a new understanding of philosophy. Alain de Botton is a famous English writer. In his essay, “Consolations of Unpopularity”, which is about Socrates, he tells what he has saw in a deserted gallery. Through the descriptions of the works of Socrates, Botton shows that philosophy’s principles of life: Not only obey the law, but also firmly pursue his own ideals. Martin Luther King was an American Baptist minister and the civil rights activist, and he became the leader in the Civil Rights Movement. In his article, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, King answers the criticism from Fellow Clergymen, and he explains the reason why he was in Birmingham Jail and why they took the nonviolent direct action. At the same time, MKL points the importance of fighting against injustice and apartheid. As a civil rights leader and the free follower, King was affected by Socrates. It might be very easy for Alain de Botton to interpret King’s letter through the Socratic method of thinking, becaus through Kings letter, there are many details to show Socratess influence on Martin. King really demonstrates that he is influenced by Socrates through his letter. First of all, what King has gone through is close to Socrates. Then, for the laws, King’s behavior tends to Socrates. Last but not least, King has the similar attitudes toward truth with Socrates.

What King has gone through is close to Socrates, because they both has been treated unfairly. When Alain de Botton talks about how Socrates is treated, he states, “three Athenian citizens had brought legal proceedings against the philosopher. They had accused him of failing to worship the citys gods, of introducing religious novelties and of corrupting the young men of Athens – and such was the severity of their charges, they had called for the death penalty.” This example points the unfair experience that Socrates has had. As a philosopher, it is normal for Socrates to express what he is thinking. However, for Socrates, too much influence is a mistake. When he was accused by those citizens, this philosopher, who was innocent at first, he was charged with various charges and even forced to accept the death penalty. In King’s letter, he also describes how he was treated unfairly. When King talks about his experience, he says, “I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.” This example shows the unfair experience that King has had. In the United States, there are few laws that limit the procession. The reason why King was arrested, is not because he broke the law, but because he undermined the interests of those in power. The government feared that Martin’s actions would threaten their dominance, so they took the unfair tactics to defend their own interests. Comparing those two people, it is easy to find that they both uses their rights normally, but is treated unfairly because of the threat to the interests of those in power. As the saying goes, the situation creates people, the similar experience will make it easy for King to be affected by Socrates.

For the laws, King’s behavior tends to Socrates, because even the laws are unfair to them, they both chooses to obey the laws. When Alain de Botton talks about the Andre’s suggestion to great the dramatic tension of Socrates, he states, “he was shown finishing a philosophical point while at the same time reaching serenely for the hemlock that would end his life, symbolizing both obedience to the laws of Athens and allegiance to his calling.” This example shows the way that Socrates uses to make people trust him more. Even though Socrates was not guilty of himself, he accepted the trial of him by law, with his unfinished cause. In the face of death, Socrates didn’t retreat, instead, he used his own action to teach the world his last philosophical theory — respect the law. King also faces the same question. When King discusses his attitudes toward laws, he says, “I would be the Brat to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just lawsOne who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. ” This example really points the method that King use to persuade those people who questioning his respect for the laws. He really respected the supremacy

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King Shows Socrates’ Influence And Alain De Botton. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from