„No one was required to believe in the gods as Christians believe in their creeds. Socrates had always been scrupulous in observance of every accepted principle and practice of community life. However, from his questioning he had developed a civic and personal morality founded on reason rather than custom.“

—  Kenneth Rexroth, Context: No one was required to believe in the gods as Christians believe in their creeds. Socrates had always been scrupulous in observance of every accepted principle and practice of community life. However, from his questioning he had developed a civic and personal morality founded on reason rather than custom. He envisioned it as subject to continuous criticism and revaluation in terms of the ever-expanding freedom of morally autonomous but cooperating persons, who together made up a community whose characteristic aim was an organically growing depth, breadth, intensity of experience — experience finally of that ultimate reality characterized by Socrates as good, true and beautiful. The accusers were right. This is a new religion which bears scant resemblance to the old. Civic piety is founded on the recognition of ignorance and the nurture of the soil until it becomes capable of true knowledge — which is a state of being, a moral condition called freedom. The Greek city-state, not to speak of the tribal community, knew nothing of freedom in this sense, but only the liberty that distinguished the free man from the slave. Plato: The Trial and Death of Socrates (pp. 50-51)
Kenneth Rexroth
1905 - 1982
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