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Similarities Between Martin Luther King and Socrates

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Throughout history the greatest thinkers were not those who followed the crowd, they challenged why one must follow the crowd? Who decides whether they should follow the crowd? What happens when one doesn’t follow the crowd?

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These thoughts, challenging the status quo, made them infamous to some, and loved by others. But most importantly famous in history for making a difference in some kind of way. Following this criteria we see both Martin Luther King and Socrates, two of the most famous thinkers in history. They both pursued their moral compass, defended what they thought was right, even making the ultimate sacrifice because of these decisions. Therefore I can conclude that, both Martin Luther King and Socrates are similar because of their search for justice and truth, challenging the status quo.

Martin Luther King is widely known as a figure of justice that fought for the equality of afro americans, he was a radical. From the latin meaning (radical – radix, which means root), having this radical vision, meant taking old and intoxicating roots, and replacing them with new ones. This was exactly what he did as he challenged the status quo in his time. As he says, “ I am convinced that [a] new life [for mankind] will not emerge until our nation undergoes a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, [then] the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are incapable of being conquered,” for MLK (an abbreviation of Martin Luther King) it was important to look for the truth in the situation, and see the three things that he saw; racism, economic exploitation, and militarism, to guide his path to justice.

This shows his methodology of thinking, that led him to the truth and problem, which then pointed towards where he needed to improve. He took justice for his people, upon himself, even to the extent of his own death.Socrates, was a very important greek philosopher at the time. He was a very respected, yet hated man, because of him challenging the status quo. He approached it wanting to find the truth, and strived to question things. As Socrates is described in our class book, “Socrates, vigorously opposed the views of the Sophists.

Insisting on the absolute nature of truth and justice, he described the ethical life as belonging to a larger set of universal truths and an unchanging moral order.” (Fiero 101) the quote captures the very essence of socrates, and what made him the figure that he was; justice and truth. All he ever wanted, and what his teachings revolved around, was to find the truth in things, via questioning, and find justice. Not only did he make a great impact on the time that he was on the planet, his teachings were passed down through his pupils and created other philosophers, such as plato. A quote from the end of the republic, a book written by Plato and inspired by socrates, “Wherefore my counsel is that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and virtue always,” further emphasizing the importance that socrates places on justice, he even died in order to make sure that he would be remembered for seeking justice, due to the ignorance of others.

Something that both MLK and Socrates shared, was the passion to seek justice, despite having to go against the status quo. In this respect they are similar, from Socrates’ mission to teach everyone to discuss and go about daily life with logic and reason, seeking truth and justice. To MLK whose goal was to achieve justice, in the form of equality for all afro americans. It goes to show that they are both similar in what they truly want, justice. Other similarities includes their paths to finding justice, MLK being a peaceful protester who spoke with words rather than actions, same goes with Socrates, “Socrates preferred to ram the streets of Athens and engage his fellow citizens in conversation and debate,” obviously, he preferred to share his knowledge and ideas on the way things should be with the people, which aligns with MLK and the speeches he made, in order to inform the people of what he thought was just in a way, where he found the truth and used his moral compass to seek justice.

To conclude I believe that Socrates and MLK are very similar, not only for their beliefs but also their personalities. They are both strong people that challenged the status quo, which led to many progressions in the world today, from a more logical and truth-based thinking, to equality for black people in this country. We can all learn from Socrates and MLK, to question what is around us, think about why things are like they are, and only then can you find the path for your justice.

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