Philosophy is a vast field. Many different fields have been examined and proved by it. Virtue, morality, immortality, death, and the difference between the psyche (soul) and the soma (body) are just a few of the many different topics which can be covered under the umbrella of philosophy. Philosophers are supposed to be experts on all these subjects. The have well thought out opinions, and they are very learned people. Among the most revered philosophers of all time was Socrates.
Living around the 5th century B.C., Socrates was among the first philosophers who wasn’t a sophist, meaning that he never felt that he was wise for he was always in the pursuit of knowledge.
Unfortunately, Socrates was put to death late in his life. One of his best students, Plato, however, recorded what had occurred on that last day of Socrates’ life. On that last day of his life, Socrates made a quite powerful claim.
He claimed that philosophy was merely practice for getting used to death and dying. At first, the connection between philosophy and death is not clear. However, as we unravel Socrates’ argument backing up his claim, the statement makes a lot of sense. In order for Philosophers to examine their world accurately and learn the truth accurately, they must remove themselves of all distractions. These not only include physical distractions, but they include mental distractions and bodily distractions as well. Philosophers must get used to viewing and examining the world without any senses.
Senses merely hinder and obscure the truth. Sight for example can be fooled easily with optical illusions which occur normally in nature. Sound can be very distracting as well when a philosopher is trying to concentrate. All of these cloud the judgement, and must therefore be detached from the soul.
Socrates argues that philosophers must view the world around them with their souls in order to accurately learn about it. However, by detaching their souls from all bodily functions, philosophers may as well be in an induced state of death. In mortem, the soul wanders free and there are no bodily hindrances.
Socrates also believed that philosophers look upon death with good cheer and hope. This I find hard to believe because if this were true, the philosopher would not be able to love life, and without the love of life, there is no life to examine and learn about.