Death of Socrates


The Examined Life derives its name from a quote by the father of Western Philosophy: Socrates.

He said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Socrates said this to a court of jurors who had just condemned him to die for speaking out against the law and justice system of Athens. Throughout the trial, Socrates refused to relinquish his position despite threats of severe punishment, exile and finally death. He said this because he believed that any life in which a person sacrifices their values and integrity for any reason is not one worth living. Socrates wouldn’t give in to the pressures of his peers, society or superiors.

He lived The Examined Life.

This is his story.

In 399 BC, Socrates spoke out against the court of Athens, declaring them to be unjust.

Socrates was later condemned to die.

In his trial, his accusers charged Socrates with the corruption of the young people of Athens and of his impiety towards the gods of Athens.

In his defence, Socrates mocked his accusers; saying they spoke in lofty and verbose speech in an attempt to be persuasive; thinking themselves to be intelligent. He would then famously (and paradoxically) say that he was ignorant and that whatever knowledge he possessed came from knowing that he knew nothing.

The trial was long and arduous, yet Socrates stuck to his values and retained his integrity. He defended himself well, and when the votes were cast, the guilt of Socrates was determined by a narrow margin in the jury–astoundingly as big as 3000 Athenians.

At this time in Athens, in cases where the penalty of death was likely to arise, the law required the prosecutor and defendant to each propose a penalty for their actions.

Obviously, Socrates’ accusers proposed the penalty of death; this is no surprise (Socrates had been a thorn in the side of many arrogant men and wealthy politicians and his death would benefit them).

Now for Socrates’ proposal.

Socrates said that he should be treated as a benefactor to the city of Athens and that he should be given free meals for life (a privilege reserved exclusively for Olympic champions, war heroes, and patrons of Athens).

After the court’s immediate dismissal of the proposed reward, Socrates then considered his accusers’ offers of imprisonment and banishment, before suggesting a counter-offer of a fine for 100 drachmae (basically 5$).

Enraged, The court then sentenced Socrates to die by hemlock, a punishment he would accept nobly and with grace.

In his final response, Socrates says that “the prospect of death does not absolve me from following the path of goodness and truth,” and that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

There is much we can learn from Socrates.

He was humble and took pride in his life, but never grew arrogant in himself. He was aware of his flaws and especially aware of his ignorance. In fact, the Oracle of Delphi said that there was none wiser than Socrates (a fact which Socrates himself was astounded by because he knew himself to not be wise at all.)

Socrates’ pursuit of truth and knowledge and his absolute unwillingness to sacrifice his values even in the face of death is the most dignified way any human being can live their life. He was calm and collected in the face of adversity because he knew what his values were and that ultimately, these people held no power over him in any way that he respected. Socrates was a self-actualized individual who wasn’t afraid to believe in something and to stand up for it. Consider your life. What are your values? What have you wished you would’ve stood up for when you didn’t? Do you give certain people more power over you than you should? Would you die for those values? Socrates is an excellent role model for us all.

The Examined Life will aim to share and explore lessons from history and today so that we may enrich ourselves through the lessons taught by remarkable people, and live a more dignified and examined life.


The Golden Scribe

Share this post

George Botros
Chief Executive Officer

George Botros was appointed as CEO of Alta West Capital in April 2021. Prior to his role as CEO, George served as Alta West Capital’s CFO and CCO from 2014 to 2021. He has over 20 years in the lending business, participating in residential, commercial, mezzanine, and interim financing related activities.


George is also a Director of the funds Alta West administers. Prior to joining Alta West Capital, he managed Toro Financial Corporation which amalgamated with AWM Diversified MIC, an entity managed by AWC, in 2014. George was also a University Professor teaching Finance and Economics for University of Lethbridge.


George holds a Bachelor of Economics and an MBA.