Socrates Gadfly

Perhaps in every human’s life, they have encountered a gadfly either in a literal form or of metaphorical. These gadflies tend to annoy and bug you to the point of insanity and make a person want to leave the situation as soon as possible. Not only do these gadflies tend to be annoying, they are also persistent at is as well. As humans, we have to recognize not only the negatives of the gadfly, but also the not so obvious positives. The Socratic gadfly’s persistence of annoyance really “awakens” someone and causes them to be more aware of their surroundings in case of other gadflies in the area.

We can compare these gadflies to Socrates trial where he referenced a gadfly as himself and gives his speech “Apology” documented by his fellow follower philosopher Plato on why he should not be responsible for these crimes that he has been accused of. In my life, I have encountered many gadflies that have annoyed me but in the end help me realize the world around me. One of the most famous metaphors in Plato’s Apology by Socrates is “as upon a great noble steed which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly.”

He is comparing himself to a gadfly and the state of Athens to a big and slow-moving horse, his presence may be irritating to the horse but with his constant annoyance around the he awakens the state to the wider truth surrounding them which is of the Socratic philosophy. One of the first gadflies that I had felt like I had encountered was my parents. From a young age, they would constantly be buzzing around me to make sure that I behaved in school and maintained good grades. At this age, I thought that this was very annoying and I wished that I could just move away. Now I realize that my parents did this to almost “awaken” me and show me how important school is going to be in later life and how it will impact how successful you are going to be in the future.

Socrates continues guaranteeing that he helps the Athenians, while in actuality he never has wanted to and he makes them question all their insight by his cunning method for interrogation. He says if Athenians murder him in court they will be hurting themselves more than they are hurting him, for he references himself to be a “blessing from god “and goes on to say “I am far from making a defense now on my behalf, as I might be thought, but on yours, to prevent you from wrong doing by mistreating god’s gift to you by condemning me.” Relating to this, another personal gadfly that I can remember vividly in my life is my English teacher in my sophomore year. As I first attended the class, she would assign warm-up writings that I thought were pointless and I would constantly not participate.

My teacher would teach me how to enjoy these writings when she forced them onto me. Over time and on closer inspection, I learned that these writings were not pointless, but also to open up our minds for the class. Without my personal Socratic gadfly who was my teacher, I would never have enjoyed the subject of English as much as I do now. Gadflies have a short life where they are most like going to be murdered by some other force other than them. Just like Socrates at court was almost able to use his philosophy and reasoning to escape his inevitable murder. He gets the people of court to constantly contemplate on different issues with his logic just as a gadfly would stir a horse into life after the constant biting the horse undergoes.

A final example of a Socratic gadfly constantly contemplating my reason and judgment is my brother. Growing up, we were like any stereotypical brothers that annoyed each other, but he also taught me important values that would help me succeed in later life. He was and currently holds more knowledge then me and even though annoys me sometimes, he still In conclusion, the role of the Socratic gadfly poses as a great example of things that not only annoy us in life but also assist us sometimes. Every day we are being guided by these creatures that may be annoying at times, but may also be beneficial to our outlook on our surroundings and life. Without my own personal Socratic gadflies in my life, I would not be who I am today and I would not have the values and lessons I would have obtained. The Socratic gadflies have really taught me to be more aware of my surrounding and not to lead the unexamined life.