My grandmother always told me “With every action, there is always a consequence.” I was supposed to perceive it as a remand. But the older I got, the more I realize the painstaking truth that statement held. There were times where I couldn’t understand why someone would do act unjustly. As if they weren’t aware of how serious their actions actually were. I realized that knowledge leads to one’s consequence. For example, I should be aware of my chance of arrest if I steal. Realizing that knowledge, action, consequence, and enlightenment all relate is tough. Yet, it is facile for one to say they were unaware of the consequence of their actions. We learn from adolescent years that our actions bare consequences. One must first define what knowledge action, action, consequence, and enlightenment are. Before they can be profound in their understanding of this deep connection.
Knowledge is the fact or condition of being aware of something .When one is enlightened, freed from ignorance and misinformation. Action is defined as a thing done Consequence is an something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions . In this paper, we will analyze the lives and works of two philosophers. Malcolm Luther King, and Socrates. These philosophers are exemplary examples of the relationship between knowledge, action, consequence, and enlightenment. Parts of society saw these philosophers as radicals and fugitives. Yet, King and Socrates stood behind their beliefs while being aware of the consequences. The relationship between knowledge, action, consequence, and enlightenment is one without unforeseeable endings. Some people try to remove parts of the relationship to avoid the negatives. King and Socrates accepted the connection. They acknowledge their awareness but did not back down when their consequence arrived.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement between 1954 to 1968. King was an activist and philosopher until the day he died. A white man named James Earl Ray assassinated him. Racism and segregation were grave throughout King’s activism years. As spokesperson of the Civil Rights Movement, King was aware of the consequences. He knew the chances of lynching, arrest, death, and losing his family that came with this position. Yet, he continued with his activism. The idea of integration, equality, and freedom enlightened King.
He desired for African Americans to have the same freedom as the Caucasians. King has knowledge and enlightenment on the reality of African Americans. They were living in a unjust society that did not appreciate them. To have knowledge is different from enlightenment. King’s knowledge of society made him aware. Yet his enlightenment made him take action.
In 1963, King was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting. In 1963, King got arrested in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting. He had committed a crime seeing as the court had ordered him to not protest anymore. This is an example of the relationship between knowledge, enlightenment, action, and consequence. King was well aware of the consequences his actions bared. Yet his enlightenment would not let him retreat from the situation at hand.
In the Letter from Birmingham Jail, MLK stated: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He wrote a letter while he was in jail addressing certain people in the white community. They treated him as a fugitive because he refused to be the oppressed. King’s following accumulated the more he spread knowledge. An increasing amount of blacks became enlightened. The enlightenment came from the truth he spoke. Through King’s actions, one can see how his consequences from the police were unjust. His ultimate consequence was death. He was killed because people did not agree with his actions.
Another philosopher who died because of his actions is Socrates. Socrates was a Greek philosopher and founder of Western philosophy. The Greeks brought him to trial when he was seventy years old. His charges included corrupting the youth, inventing new Gods, and not recognizing the Gods of the state. Meletus, who is the head of the court, interrogates Socrates during the trial. Socrates was very adamant on the fact that he was innocent. Although, he never apologized or admitted any wrongdoings. The court gave him the option to stop being a philosopher. Socrates could not stop because philosophy was his entire life. His actions to deny the plea deal led him to imprisonment and death. Like King, Socrates had vast knowledge on what he was advocating for. His enlightenment led to his dedication. His knowledge, enlightenment, and actions led to the ultimate consequence: death.
A friend of Socrates, Crito, sneaks into his cell one night. Socrates was awaiting execution day. Crito visits him with a plan for his escape. He explains to Socrates that he does not have to die. In this case, Socrates has two ways he can act. He could choose to remain in the cell and suffer the deathly consequence. Or he could choose to escape and teach his philosophy somewhere else. Albeit, he would suffer the consequence of being a traitor to the Greek empire. He proceeds to tell Crito that breaking these laws would be setting a bad example for others and cause chaos as.“What do you mean by trying to escape, but to destroy us the laws, and the whole city, so far as in you lies?” He also states that a true philosopher strives and welcomes death as it is the final enlightenment. Socrates execution is an example of how profound the relationship between enlightenment, knowledge, action, and consequence is. His knowledge and passion for philosophy led to him refusing to stop philosophizing. But Socrates enlightenment led him to be content with his consequence of death.
“With every action, there is a consequence.” is a simple phrase with a deep meaning. But, I have learned not to let that phrase mislead me. For it gives the word consequence a negative connotation. Both of these philosophers suffered deathly consequences. Yet, there were positive consequences that happened because of their actions. For example, Dr. King was a big reason that America has desegregated. He sacrificed his life so other African American citizens can live their lives equal to their white counterparts . Dr. King is now honored every January 21st. Students do not attend school that day in honor of him. Many citizens throw parades or do service on this day. If Dr.King had not been knowledgeable on how imperative it was to advocate, these positive consequences would not have come about. The life of Socrates taught us that we should embrace our gifts and take heed of our actions. Socrates’ had calculated his actions and was ready to suffer the consequences. Socrates and Dr.King were aware of the relationship between enlightenment, knowledge, action, and consequence. Enlightenment, knowledge, action, and consequence are all related and correlate. There can not be one without the other. These two philosophers acted in order to prove a point. They were aware of the consequence. Yet held a deeper enlightenment that many would understand.
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