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HOW TO CONDEMN SOCRATES?

The death sentence is suggested and promoted by Socrates. He accuses his fellow citizens of incompetence and stupidity. He absolves himself of any and all error. Only the gods have the competence to judge a man as righteous as he. Socrates is now seventy years old; he deems himself ill-equipped to suffer the disapproval of his co-citizens or even a gilded exile.

In the discussions he has with his students while in prison awaiting the day of his execution, Socrates speaks to them of the grief and sorrow he feels having been condemned for a life that he totally claims as his own he had wanted it to be as close to his personal convictions as possible. For him and for those who admire him, this condemnation is also a condemnation of all attempts to develop and publicly display personal convictions. For this, Socrates is often held up as the martyr of free thinkers.

It is for his disdain of the court, and not for what he did, that his Athenian co-citizens condemned Socrates to death, obliging him to drink poisonous hemlock. We will find the same chain of events when we speak of Reich’s trial. He was condemned to prison for contempt of court, not because of his treatments based on his orgone theory, judged as quackery or a delusion.

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