Socrates on the stand in Russia (The Pussy Riot Case)…

Posted on January 8th, 2013 by

This is from NYT’s ‘The Stone Links’ from a few months back (Aug. 22, 2012 to be exact). It’s background is the sentencing (to a 2 year prison term) of the 3 members of the punk band Pussy Riot in response to their leaping onto an altar in a Russian Orthodox church during services and singing a song in punk rock fashion with lyrics such as ‘Our Lady, drive out Putin’. The link is here.

From the article: “…in Moscow, the three members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot, including philosophy student Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were sentenced to two years in prison for, among other things, “the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith.” If that sounds like an echo of the condemnation of Socrates for “impiety,” it’s no surprise to learn that in her closing statement, Tolokonnikova alluded specifically to the similarities between the two cases.

Tolokonnikova’s grasp of Socratic irony and humility shows in her assertion that “the philosopher is the one who loves wisdom and yearns for it, but does not possess it.” She claims that Socrates, far from being “an enemy of the gods,” in fact “had a living connection with the divine voice.” And throughout her remarks, which also included references to Dostoevsky and Pythagoras, Tolokonnikova stresses that Pussy Riot’s quarrel is with what they see as the Putin regime’s abuse of political power, and not with the Orthodox Church, or with Christianity, which she considers to be allied with philosophy as it “supports the search for truth.””

 


One Comment

  1. John says:

    Right, the philosopher is the one who plays electric guitar in tights on top of a sacred place. … There is nothing of the Socratic asceticism or humility about these women, whose actions were political and not philosophical. If their condemnation, just or not, bears some superficial similarity to the charge thrown at Socrates, it does not make them martyrs for truth, anymore than teenagers arrested for “disturbing the peace” are analogous to Rosa Parks.