ME: Welcome to tonight’s highly anticipated talk show. The issue we are due to parley upon is of immeasurable significance. We are to discuss and agree upon whether we should strive hard to preserve our culture or to allow room for critical thinking. On the floor we have extremely brilliant debaters including Antigone, Strepsiades and Crico. We shall please start from this side, please madam.
ANTIGONE: My name is Antigone. I consider myself a noble and a critical thinking person who believes in equality for all genders in the world.
STAPSIADES: My name is Stapsiades. I am one person who believes in thinking, because in life we are all faced by critical and challenging situations. It is is not until we open up our minds to allow influx of new ideas that we shall be able to solve them.
EUTHYPHRO: My name is Euthyphro. I am a believer of justice. I believe that justice should be served equally to all people whether in their good deeds or bad actions. I believe that in so doing, the gods and the divine spirits follow each and every virtue we stand for on earth and so there will be a reward at the end of it.
ME: So ladies and gentlemen, you have all heard tonight’s speakers and you might be able to speculate on which side they are standing in today’s argument. Let us start with the woman on the bench tonight. What do you think is right to follow being a staunch follower of traditional culture or promoting critical thinking among people?
ANTIGONE: I will start by appreciating our traditions and cultures since they have seen us through ages of human existence. They are accountable for most of these good values we portray amongst each other and therefore no one should write off culture and traditions completely. However, I feel like in certain instances, people of power and those bestowed with certain responsibilities enact some cultures or formulate decrees and laws which are meant to promote some section of the people’s well being. These laws and decrees at the same time seem to be suppressing the views and opinions of some other people which otherwise can be profitable to the society.
ME: Hold on Madam Antigone. Mr. Euthyphro, the former speaker, has talked about some decrees, laws and traditions not stepping up to their ultimate purpose of protecting everyone; therefore, favoring others. What is your opinion on this matter?
EUTHYPHRO: As I said earlier, I am a person who believes in justice and equality. During the arrest and trial of Socrates, he reasoned about fairness in the society. He noted that, instead of the jury being independent and free minded to decide his verdict honestly, there seemed to be some conspiracy among his accusers underway. A person, according to Socrates the prolific philosopher, should be judged not by what he or she is, but by who they are and what they have done. This, in a way hinted that instead of the jury relying on information from his biased accusers, they should engage in critical and free thinking to give a truthful and honest verdict.
ME: Thank you so much sir for that well elaborated discussion. We will get back to you. The gentleman on my right, Mr. Stapsiades, what do you have to say about today’s agenda?
STAPSIADES: All of us shall bear witness that we find ourselves in wanting and desperate situations that at times are caused by our ignorance and lack of enthusiasm to learn new ways to survive. This virtue of critical thinking should be instilled in us even at tender ages and therefore we should discourage laziness. However most of the youngsters, mine for example, don’t want to learn how to think critically and attend institutions giving these skills. Even though so, we old people should not give up on acquiring these skills. We should embrace this learning and allow ourselves to think outside the box. I had the privilege of attending Socrates’ thinkery in an aim to outwit my creditors. Not that I did not want to pay up the debts, but I also wanted to allow my creditors to hear and consider side about not being able to pay up my debt. Cleon’s influence was marred with corruption and changing; therefore, messing up with the Athenian calendar. This put the Athenians out of touch with the moon, and therefore the results were grave. However, due to critical thinking, the minorities, as Cleon referred to them beast him in reasoning and managed to defeat him. As my colleague in the session has said, some people in the authorities and vested with high responsibilities may want to use their power to disadvantage their juniors and less fortunate but with critical thinking, we can all evade this.
ME: I will take it from there my fellow gentleman, Mr. Stapsiades. Thank you so much for that contribution. I will get back to the lady in the on the bench. Is there anything you feel like you should add on to the contribution of your fellow debaters?
ANTIGONE: It is true that with critical thinking, one can achieve a lot out of less fortune or less success. Oedipus the king of Thebes proves to be one significant example of this. We will remember that his initial fate was to die due to his father curse which befell him after defiling Chrysippus, son of King Pelops of Eli. The servant, who was instructed by the queen, following instructions from King Laius, that the baby Oedipus should be killed defied tradition and culture of obeying each order of the monarchy. She otherwise decided to let her die of exposure, a milder way. In this event, young Oedipus was saved.
STAPSIADES: Allow me to add some information on that Miss Antigone. We will also note that due to his wit and critical thinking, Oedipus managed to answer the riddle of the sphinx, “What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?” The answer was man. In this way, he was able to free the kingdom of Thebes and consequently he was crowned king. He was also able to get Queen Dowaga Jocasta (his biological mother). In this way, on the other hand, he was able to fulfill the oracle without him even knowing.
EUTHYPHRO: Ladies and gentlemen, I could not resist from adding some little information about King Oedipus case. Normally, people wait for the oracle to be fulfilled since it is their destiny. Oedipus was curious about his real parents, after hearing rumors that King Polybus of Corinth and Merope, his wife were not her real parents. After grilling his father about it, he is told that they are his real parents. He then goes to the Delphic Oracle to inquire about the same issue. Even though the oracle plays not to notice the question, it reveals that Oedipus was destined to kill his father and mate with his mother (which he did by killing King Laius and marrying Queen Jocasta). I believe it was due to critical thinking and avoidance of following traditions that Oedipus exited Corinth. This was because in his heart, he still believed that King Polybus and Queen Merope were his biological parents.
ME: I am beginning to like the discussion and broad elaboration of issues and ideas. This one, I will direct to Miss Antigone. In these days, there are numerous discoveries and inventions being made. Some of these inventions seem to dispute with the old beliefs. Take for example the unequivocal discovery of neurophysiologist, philosopher and astrologer Fiona Creyfield that there are no gods. She has also produced a number of proofs. This include re-documentation of the theories of evolution, proving that the sun is the source of life and all these so called reward of good deeds are psychological processes which people have embraced for a long time such that they tend to see things in that direction. What do you have to say about that?
ANTIGONE: I for one believe in gods. That is why I try as best as possible to commit acts of honor to the gods. All these good things and rewards that happen as matter of showing kindness to people are because of the actions of the Gods. I would not say that I buried my brother Polyneices because of the rewards of the gods, but because we as human beings are placed in this world to do good. We should therefore not let the laws made by man for ill reasons to bar us from doing what is considered right. That is why I had to defy Creon’s orders. You might be tempted to believe that there are no gods and things are just happening naturally. However, stop and try to think of the origin of the natural way things are happening, right from their initial stages. Ok, we shall say man evolved from a primitive primate form, but who created that primate? It did not just pop out of nowhere into the world like that. It must have had an origin. In addition, even if that primitive primate form evolved to man, it must have had another more primitive origin or life form than him, which again brings us back to the gods. They might be controlling nature and life, but they sure have an origin, same to the planets, the moon, the stars and the entire universe. Now, you tell me, is there not a god? Therefore, it will be to the best of all people that she suppresses the information and refrain from publishing since it will brew countless controversies among the religious faiths.
ME: I wish I could bring the scientist hear to let us hear her side of the story and help us in answering that question. Yes, Mr. Euthyphro, what do you have to say about the matter?
EUTHYPHRO: Thank you so much for this opportunity, sir. I would like to note that these claims of there not being a God or gods might be due to the actions of the people who are meant to guard and interpret the laws of the gods. Most people are self-centered and therefore they through the congregations and the common people into confusion with their activities and behavior. If say for example one is supposed to interpret and tech the laws of the gods, and he ends up doing inhuman and evil things right after confessing about the gods presence, it leaves people wondering whether there is really that God or gods they are preaching about.
STAPSIADES: Just to add on what my colleague Mr. Euthphro has said, in the Apology of Socrates, he is being accused of a number of things pending trial. One of those things are being an atheist and believing in demigods. Socrates however notes this as ironical since one of his accusers, Meletus has stake in the accusations, which are not well intended. Mark you these are the same people who claim to be respecting the gods. It is so ironical that one will accuse their neighbor falsely and claim to be respecting the law. It is however true that Socrates does obey the gods, according to Plato. This is also evident in his trial. And I quote, “Gentlemen, I am your grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to God than to you; and as long as I draw breath and have my faculties I shall never stop practicing philosophy”
ME: Well done gentlemen. Now Miss Antigone, you noted earlier that we are supposed to follow and do what we generally feel is right. Suppose I feel like stealing is right for me just because I am broke, that am sure does not make it right according to the law, right? Do you mind clarifying on that point please?
ANTIGONE: Thank you so much for the question, sir, and of course, no, I do not mind. I am a supporter of Socrates’ philosophies, and during his trial, in the Apology of Socrates, he states that he believes that any lawful superior ought to be respected, whether they are human or spiritual. Then again, for them to earn the respect, they must not exploit their powers to disadvantage the ones they are leading. The virtue of caring for the common citizens is what differentiates a leader from another. The blessings of God in terms of wealth or victories in wars will depend on how well one does this. Therefore, failure of a leader to do this is what brings people into rebellion. That Creon decided that women should be treated as minority before men did not make that right before the gods. Where in the scripture is that elaborated? Moreover, please do not get me wrong ladies and gentlemen. I am not suggesting that women should not be submissive to their husbands. That is their role and it is God’s will that they play it considerably well. Nevertheless, that does not mean that men should treat them as if they were latent in times of decision-making. It was just proper that my brothers get as good burial, and the refusal of Creon to grant me that opportunity did not make it wrong at all. As we wish we should be done for, so we should be ready to do for others. Am sure Creon would wish for a good burial for himself when he dies.
ME: Mr. Euthyphro, am sure you know extremely well that a country or a state is governed by state laws which as supposed to be followed to the latter. In the events of wrong doings, it is required of a person that they should follow the law, or rather traditions. Will you link critical thinking with these situations or will you just let it rest an d follow the traditions even though it may take time?
EUTHYPHRO: That is an excellent question. Electra, the Princess of Argos, who was the daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra, feels that she should take the law into her own hands for the murder of her dad by her mother and her stepfather Aegisthus. One might b e tempted to call Electra unlawful but maybe she thought that following the law would yield to nothing since her mother was the queen and therefore one of the most influential people on the land. However, that does not mean that people should not follow the legal procedures in dealing with such matters. It is crucial to think critically and analyze both outcomes before acting.
ME: Mr. Stapsiades, you have been a strong advocate of critical thinking and therefore I will want to believe that one of your numerous dreams is to see the people nurturing critical thinking and employing it in their different life aspects. In what ways do you think this is possible?
STAPSIADES: I learnt from Socrates that our offspring are thinking less critically and less smartly as compared to us. Maybe it is because of the environment we are bringing them up in, or maybe it is because we are not encouraging them enough to. In his discussion with Meno in the Apology of Socrates, he notes that several Athenians had brought up offspring that were inferior to them. I want to believe that the meant less superior intellectually. This is so evident in my own household where my own son refused to attend Socrates school for critical thinking in order to help us outwit our creditors. In order to boost critical thinking in our society, we need to instill the virtue in our children right from when they are still young. Let them feel like critical thinking is as natural in this world as the sunrise, or the sunset, or the hot summers and cold winters. Those are never questioned; therefore, we need to build a society that is founded on critical thinking and never questions its presence. We should take advantage of the fact that children try to emulate their parent when they are growing up; therefore, enable them to follow suit in thinking critically. In this way, the children will pass it to their children, and their children to their subsequent children, and the trend will go on and on. As you all know, children are the future of this world and it is only through them that a change is effectively effected in a society.
ME: Wow! That is an exceptionally excellent argument if you ask me. Yes madam, what would you like to add on it Miss Antigone?
ANTIGONE: In support of the previous speaker, I would like to discourage the efforts of some evil-minded people in authority in trying to suppress people who are critical thinkers. The accusers of Socrates accused him for corrupting the minds of the young people when he was doing just exactly as Mr. Stapsiades has said, instilling change from the society right from the bottom; the younger generation. Them not wanting to allow people to think critically and freely, and to allow free opinion and suggestions on the laws of the land is what should be considered as corrupt! That a person enables or facilitates people to see things critically does not make it be unlawful, but intelligent. That is how laws and policies of a state or an empire should be formulated. Allowing people to have a hand in making the laws and policies will even better their understanding and encourage them to abide to them even more obediently.
ME: Well, ladies and gentlemen, I will not hide the fact that this has been an incredibly fruitful and educative debate. I am extremely happy about that. Unfortunately, we have to come to an end of this discussion at some point, and this seems it. As usual we analyze the contributions made by the debaters and decide on a verdict. Today, it is evident that that tone side of the discussion has received practically all the support. It is now decided that cultivating critical thinking is the way to go in the society.