Does the Soul Sleep?
by Darren Pettis
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“The simple things seem to puzzle me.”
“What things you talking about?”
“Too many people put more importance on things that mean nothing. What name brand clothes a person wears, what car a person drives, or the appearance of how one looks is placed far above things such as honesty, love of ones’ self and of others, and other virtues. People should live their lives not for particular goods, but for what is good.”
“Look at the world now, it’s the 21st century, and they are as confused as ever. Joshua are you listening to me?”
“You told me to look at the world.”
“Back in my day, people listened to me. Well, most people did, with the exception of those who thought of me as a menace to society, or as a child “brain-washer”, and that I denounced the Gods. They imprisoned me and challenged my existence.”
“Who challenged your existence? What'ch talkin' bout?”
“The very people who did not understand my language or my philosophy of life wanted to kill me. They accused me of youth corruption, and they made accusations of impiety, mind you, me being an atheist”.
“You’re an atheist?”
“No! I was nothing of such. The part they did not like was when I made the argument that the things I do are for my self, the populace, and for my God. They thought it was rather whimsical as to the voices I heard during my daily meditations.”
“Oh … You heard voices. This has to be good—keep going.”
“Yes, the daemon gave me warnings either to do or not to do something, which was always for goodness.”
“Wait a minute … So-crates, you telling me you talk to demons?”
“No, no! My dear lad, the daemon was a good spirit. It was one of my problems with the Athenian politicians. I did not buy into worshipping their Gods. I believed in one Supreme Being.”
“You a weird cat … you know that? I believe in God and everything, but I don’t talk to spirits. So, you telling me they wanted to get rid of you based on what you believe?”
“It was far more complicated than that. They offered me exile, which I immediately refused. I have demonstrated true patriotism, and nonetheless, a sacred ever-present duty for the people of Athens. Therefore, without contemplation, I refused their preposterous proposal. Consequently, the trial began, and if found guilty I was to be put to death. It did not cause great concern to me. I had been waiting for my death my whole life.”
“You weren’t afraid of dying? Man, doctors say I’ve been dying for years. I’m scared of dying. They say any day I could slip into the grave.”
“Actually, Joshua, I had prepared for death. No, I was not afraid. Death is not the end of everything it is the beginning. The physical is merely a prepping stage for the soul.”
“I thought birth was the beginning and death was the end. So, Mr. prepping for the soul … what did you do?”
“Crito gave me an opportunity for escape, and exhibited exhaustive measures on my behalf for freedom and life. I could not disobey the law. I am for law and justice. I merely spoke to him, stating that, “I cannot abandon the arguments I used to expound in the past simply because this accident has happened to me”. And all of this after losing a great friend, a great Archon of the city of Athens, The Athenian Empire crumbles after the Peloponnesian War, and in the face of political problems.”
“I ain’t never heard of no panesian war, but I can tell a lot about rice patties. You saying there were political problems. That sounds familiar.”
“Yes, indeed there were. I alluded from their political blindness. Their interests lie in self-welfare, and not for the well-being of the people of Athens. It was a complete form of injustice, an argument they did not like very well.”
“I betch ya they wanted to bring you to justice for refusing to go with the flow. One of my loan sharks showed me his justice right on the tip of my nose. He wasn’t playing either he meant what he said. ”
“Yes, the charges brought forth upon me were rather hastily and were absolutely mere fabrications of the truth. But was I to say I was wrong for my own convictions. No! I would rather face death with dignity. I would have let down the great people of Athens, and more importantly, I would have disappointed God. My argument is virtues. ‘Virtue is knowledge’. If one knows the good, one will always do the good. It follows, then, that anyone who does anything wrong does not really know what good is. Therefore, if they have wrong ideas about virtue, morality, love or any other ethical idea, they can’t be trusted to do the right thing.”
“Yeah, I have a cousin like that; broke, busted and disgusted, and can’t be trusted. It was wise of you to have escaped, or you would not be sharing this experience with me right now.”
“Oh, on the contrary my dear boy, I did die. At least they thought I died. My friend, an alchemist, the great, great, great grandfather to Archimedes had been sampling a special sleeping potion for years. Crito somehow switched a vial of hemlock for this potion. If I had known, I surely would have disapproved of such deception. Nonetheless, I appeared dead, but my soul existed.”
“Wait a minute, you are telling me that you died, but you are…”
“Yes, I know it seems very difficult to process this in only a short period of time. I have pondered this magnificent, but dreadful situation for centuries and centuries. The moment I appeared in limbo as a paganistic philosopher trapped in a circle with others who did not know of Jesus Christ.”
“Hmph … Now, I am confused. You did not know Jesus.”
“No, I never met him in the physical. I died before his time, although through my journey I have become quite fond of him and his principles for they are very similar to my own.”
“Man you have flipped your lid. You a crazy ole fool.”
“Oh, Yes, I am an old fool. ‘ The only thing I know is that I know nothing.’ Please forgive me, but I do not know what you speak. I have been adapting to my environment, however, certain vernacular gets the best of me. I have flipped my lid?”
“Im just saying that you are C-R-A-Z-Y! You heard voices. You never met Jesus; he died before your time. Old man, you escaped from the nut house. That’s exactly where you from. You off your meds?”
“There is validity to my confessions, I have you know. I lived in a time when there where many Gods: Apollo, Zeus, Aphrodite…”
“Man, I can't believe you ... Hmm ... Maybe you is taking your meds, which ones they got you on, the greens or the blues? I like them blues. So, fatty--cratty, you defied their Gods, washed a few brains of some kids, and you heard voices that kept from making bad decisions. The government forces a trial, find you guilty, and dropped you like a bad habit.”
“I guess that is one way of explaining it. You see, I woke from a very long, deep sleep in limbo across the river of Acheron, right below purgatory. Oh, that Italian poet … what is his name? He could explain this far better than I could. It is a place for us pagans, a place between the inferno and paradise. I shared company with the likes of Julius Caesar, Homer, Virgil, my dearest and favorite student Plato and his protégé Aristotle and many others. Luckily, after what seemed liked eternity, I was given to opportunity to leave for a while to save my soul.”
“What you telling me ... you have been to hell and back in search of the meaning of life to save your soul ..."
“Yes, in a manner of suggestion. I, in a bizarre sense to you, am immortal. The soul is where we can know perfection, and that the important things of this life lie in living for the development or realization of the soul, and that through proper development of the mind in its pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness that the goal and purpose of human life can be achieved.”
“Man, I gotta have what you takin'. Alright then, lets say I’ll go along with you story for now, old man. So, what is the meaning or purpose of life?”
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