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The Recollections of Sokrates

Table of Contents


Preface: Philosophical Notes .......................................1

Chapter One: Agora Theater........................................5

Chapter Two: Illuminations.......................................43

Chapter Three: The Road to Love.............................73

The Lineage of Sokrates ..................................81

Diotima's Beauty................................................91

Chapter Four: The Trial of the Master ...................101

The Morning Prosecution..............................108

The Afternoon Defense..................................116

The Verdict, Sentence, and Prophecy .........148

Chapter Five: The Prison of Knowledge...............163

Chapter Six: Krito's Escape Plan.............................187

Chapter Seven: The Gift of the Stork....................201

Chapter Eight: The Song of the Swan ...................211

Chapter Nine: Legacy ................................................231

Appreciations ..............................................................239

Bibliography................................................................243

Appendix A: Notes and Rationale..........................249

Appendix B: Personae ...............................................251

About the Author .......................................................257

Acknowledgements ...................................................259

Afterwords: Psyche and Sokrates...........................261

Also by Frank Marrero .............................................267



Preface: Philosophical Notes

Despite the fiction that embellishes the scenes set forth in this book, the evocative words and dramatic actions ascribed to Sokrates are taken from historical report. The rare instances where this representation departs from contemporaneous accounts are sampled in Appendix A. Except for the narrator, all of the characters—and much of what they say here—are likewise rooted in historical record. Brief descriptions of each individual can be found in Appendix B.

A brief note on spellings and translations: In the interest of faithfulness to the original Greek, I have replaced the more common Latinized “c” in “Socrates” and other names with their original Greek “k”. Brackets and italics are inserted in those rare places where a fuller translation of certain words is necessary for the greater understanding.

The accounts and dialogues found within are mostly from Plato, Xenophon, Plutarch, and Diogenes Laertius, since Sokrates wrote nothing. Of course, even this “record” is suspect, for it is difficult to separate Sokrates from the refracted reports of his younger students or the collection of idealized stories handed down across centuries. But by examining the whole corpus of historical account in a mood of openness, we get clear glimpses of the master who inspired these stories. These sightings are themselves inspirational and even transformative, beckoning each of us to grow into ever-greater openness, simplicity, and depth of well-being.

This vision of Sokrates is not cast in the confines of academic abstraction, but is freely reflected in the great tradition of spiritual and philosophical masters in concert with their initiates. The narrator of this story, the fictional devotee, Enelysios — like so many actual historical figures — became transported by the nonfictional presence, aphoristic words, and bold actions of the Sage of Athens.

The love Enelysios holds for Sokrates is “Platonic” — radiant in adoration and gratitude. This kind of devotion is not erotic projection nor starry-eyed hero- worship, but it conveys the deep feeling that comes from the discriminative understanding and demonstrative reality given by the teacher and gratefully appreciated by his/her students. Brimming with virtue and rested in uncommon maturity, Sokrates pointed to the primacy of one's own psyche, always assigning and assuming responsibility in one's core feeling as the foundation of real life.

As groundwork for this book, I began by re- presenting Plato's writings (starting with the Jowett translations and a smattering of other scholars). I freely amalgamated conversations from various dialogues, other sources, translations, and transliterations in the interest of dramatic rhythm and thematic coherence.

To best understand the words and person of this father of Western thought, it is certainly useful to imagine him speaking his words from his soul, his character. Therefore, this telling casts a theatrical enchantment rather than simply being a flat collection of outward events and supposed quotes expressed as a documentary of interesting facts and provocative ideas. Indeed, within this high-stakes Greek tragedy, the depth of Sokrates' words and actions vaults the drama beyond mere entertainment or conventional teaching. His profundity is distinctly different than the usual banter; it prompts us to pause and enter into contemplation of the deep meanings and mature possibility thus revealed. Recollections of Sokrates aspires to be a philosophical and spiritual evocation, masquerading lightly as a novel, built upon the actions and words of the man who proclaimed that he knew nothing at all.

It is said that Sokrates is reinterpreted in every age, colored by the conceit of each generation's unseen presumptions and overriding interests. Clarity emerges, I suggest, as we appreciate and aspire to Sokrates' honesty, openness, depth, and passion.