2014 – 7th Grade National 2nd Place Winner

Jasmine Stephenson, Florida.

Truth or Beauty: Which has a greater impact on society?

*Socrates, and his life long friend, Crito, argue as to whether Socrates should live and give up philosophy or die for it
-Socrates, are you actually going to die? For philosophy?
-Why should I not? Convince me, and I will leave. Just, give me one true statement, and I will leave with you.
-Alright, fine. We should always listen to the majority. Follow them, and we will do just fine. They should influence what we say and do.
*Socrates takes this into consideration.
-Well, let’s see. The majority should influence us. This is your statement, is it not?
-That it is.
-Then, what about things they know little of?
-What do you mean?
-I mean, if you ask the majority about hat-making, would they know? Should you listen to that?
-Well, I- I guess not.
-I see. So you are saying that we should not listen to the majority about hat-making?
-We should not. But, we should listen to them on other things.
-Like what?
-Like…uh…like on how we should speak or present ourselves.
-Even if they think you should present yourself in a way you think is ugly?
-Yes. Because the many will think you look nice, even though you don’t.
-So, you have no say in the majority’s opinion? Is that what you mean?
-Yes, that is what I mean. Now, let’s go.
-But how can you be certain that this is true? We should first check the statement. If this is true, I will leave, with no more questions. But if not, I won’t go with you.
-Alright. My true statement is this: you should listen to the majority on how you should look, or on how you should speak.
-So, if you have no say in this opinion, how is it the majority?
-What do you mean, Socrates?
-I mean, that if you don’t decide that what you are wearing is ugly or beautiful, then there is one less opinion in the majority. And if this applies to all people in the majority, that you have no say, then doesn’t that mean that no one has a say?
-Well, if you put it that way.
-Your statement is false, I won’t go with you.
-But, Socrates, just come with me! Why would you die for philosophy? Are you so sure that it’s worth dying for?
-The unexamined life is not worth living Crito. I’m sorry, but I’m not going with you.
*Socrates, who was an ugly man that believed in finding the truth, died for his cause. Two thousand years later, we remember him as a great philosopher, the “patron-saint” of philosophy. Truth, then, makes the biggest impact, even if the temporary craze is beauty.


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