Socrates and the road to Athens

Socrates decided to start his day with a quiet walk among the scenic treeline just beyond the walls of Athens. As he cleared the huge city gates, he set out on a calm pace along the trees lining the road. He had much to contemplate, but he was in no hurry. After walking for some distance, enjoying the fresh air and listening to the breeze flow through the trees, he sat down under a tree to enjoy the peace and quiet.

The traveler picked up his pace as he saw Athens emerge around the hillside. He had been on the road for a few days, and was eager to arrive at the city about which he had heard so much. He noticed a man sitting legs crossed under a nearby tree. He thought the man to be sleeping, but as he came closer Socrates waved and extended a warm greeting to him.

“I am traveling to Athens…” said the traveler, “Can you tell me what the people of Athens are like?”. Socrates asked, “What are the people like where you come from?”. The traveler said that he was from Argos. “The people of Argos are friendly, lighthearted, kind and the most generous people you could wish to meet”, he continued. Socrates smiled and said, “My friend, you will find much of the same in Athens”. With that, the traveler’s eyes lit up. He waved and continued down the road.

As Socrates sat there, pondering on the nature of life and the objectivity of perception, another traveler came by and greeted him. “Good day, roadside traveler” said Socrates. “I am making my way to Athens, traveling from Argos. I have never been to Athens before. What are the people of Athens like?”, inquired the traveler. Socrates asked him, “Tell me about the people where you come from”. The traveler shook his head, and said “Where I come from, people are cunning, condescending and jealous. They have no time for each other, and less time for strangers”.

Socrates looked at him intently, smiled and said, “My friend, you will find much of the same in Athens”.