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Essay sample - The Phaedo
Pages 4 (1004 words)
Socrates gives a profound discourse regarding the philosopher's life being spent embracing - even preparing for - death. To Socrates, the intertwining of soul and body carries great meaning and a sense of purpose, which would be the pursuit of truth in all things…
Those enemies would be a life wasted on the pursuit of pleasure at the expense of pain (pleasure withdrawn). This very duality of life, according to Socrates, is the bane of existence for all of mankind.
If one spends much time caught in the illusion of earthly pleasures then faces a fear of death due to inattention to the betterment of the mind and soul, then that life is sorely wasted. Yet to Socrates, lightly embracing pleasure allows one to enhance pleasure and not fear its removal, for such a person knows that pleasure is merely ephemeral and not a constant. In succeeding to do this, one overcomes the fear of death, for the loss of pleasure is a death in itself. Fear of losing pleasure is fear of death.
This is not to say that the form death may take is pleasurable, but Socrates explains that the true philosopher from early on chases death in life, seeks endings and depth, the essence of pleasure and pain and finds within this duality a richness that is exhilarating rather than frightening. To live with death every day, or in other words, living each day preparing to die, is the very stuff of the true philosopher. A life well lived should not be grieved; Socrates wonders why people who face death fear liberation from worldly burdens when life could be lived free of worldly burdens by recognizing them as symbols rather than literal things.
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