"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."-John F. Kennedy
Why do we feel so inclined to fit in? The opinions of others- how celebrities,politicians and socialites are living their lives consumes ours so much we cease to truly live. In Plato’s Apology,Socrates surely doesn’t conform to the ideals of the society he lives in. He dares to question the unquestionable,the government,poets and politicians without blinking an eye. He isn’t intimidated by the power these people hold; “That government, as powerful as it was,did not frighten me into any wrongdoing.”(37) In response to Olivia’s questions: the jury helped elevate Socrates to the status of an idol becuause when he was asking Meletus questions,he made him seem less credible in his reasons for convicting Socrates. This made Socrates appear even more wise to the young men who were influenced by his “radical” ideas. I also think it was necessary for him to die as a martyr because it made a strong statement and made the young men more open about their loyalty to Socrates. His death also made people more appreciative of his philosophical.
Don’t we all wish to posses the confidence that Socrates had? His unwillingness to bend to the power of authority is something I wish I practiced more. For example, my appearance is something that has changed over the years depending on who I’ve been around. I attended an Islamic school throughout elementary school and the first two years of middle school. Because of the environment, I wore the head covering-the hijab. Even though, I wasn’t ready I felt like I needed to because all of the other girls were. When I entered the public school system I was taunted for wearing it so, I took it off. Then I put it back on because of the judgment I recived from my Muslim community. I decided in tenth grade to no longer wear it,it took quite a while of self reflection and growth of self esteem until I was comfortable with my choice. The Milgram experiment showed how deeply obedience is ingrained in us. It showed how easily we can be swayed by the rhetoric of others. Our lives are not truly our own when we follow the guidelines society has carefully laid out for each of us. This would be the case with Ivan.He was conforming to people of high status,”…he did what highly placed people considered right.”(51) His life was a constant competition with himself to see just how far up he could climb the social ladder. How far will we go to conform? Will our mission of conformity be the downfall of us as it was for Ivan? I think yes,striving to conform and being consumed with it will ultimately be our downfall.