“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” – Socrates

 

Socrates lived in Athens Greece his entire life (469-399 BC), cajoling his fellow citizens to think hard about questions of truth and justice, convinced as he was that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” While claiming that his wisdom consisted merely in “knowing that he knew nothing,” Socrates did have certain beliefs, chief among them that happiness is obtainable by human effort. Specifically, he recommended gaining rational control over your desires and harmonizing the different parts of your soul. Doing so would produce a divine-like state of inner tranquility that the external would could not effect. True to his word, he cheerfully faced his own death, discussing philosophy right up to the moments before he took the lethal hemlock. Through his influence on Plato and Aristotle, a new era of philosophy was inaugurated and the course of western civilization was decisively shaped.

Socrates was a mind-body dualist. This means he thought that the mind is composed of a different substance to the brain. The argument that the mind is made of a substance that does obey the laws of physics is known as physicalism or materialism.

Socrates believed that the mind has an irrational part, which is controlled by emotions, and this is drawn to the body. Once the mind and body merge, the mind is limited by what we are able to perceive with our senses. The rational part of our mind mostly remains beyond our conscious knowledge, however Socrates believed that it’s the job of philosophers to connect to the rational mind in order to become a whole person. Once this is achieved, a rational person will see things for what they really are.