What makes a civilization great? It depends on the tools, the laws, class structures, religions, and government. However, it also depends on the way an individual thinks and how their way of thinking could contribute to improving society. In ancient Greece, there lived three great men named Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These men were the first and still the greatest philosophers of all time. They questioned people's way of life and even the meaning of life itself. The teaching of philosophy would help shape Western civilization into the greatness that it would become. Three men, three different ways of thinking, but they all shared one common thing: their love for philosophy. .
These three intellectuals had very different lives, yet eventually, their paths would cross. Socrates was born poor to the city of Athens, Greece. He worked as a stone carver and married at age 13. Socrates believed in living for the present not living for the future. He believed in the superiority of argument over writing, therefore he never wrote anything down. Socrates spent most of his time socializing in argument and dialogue in marketplaces and public areas. There in the Agora, he would meet Plato and enlighten him. Plato had a similar curious nature, but a different background. He was born, also in Athens, into wealth for his father was a politician. Plato aspired to become an Olympic wrestler as a youth because of his astounding strength, but that ended when he received a serious injury. Sometime after, he met Socrates and became open-minded to his opinions. Plato would spend hours taking notes on Socrates' deepest thoughts. But Socrates was soon charged with blasphemy, the act of not expressing reverence for God. He was forced to drink hemlock and died. "It is better to die on my feet than to live on my knees," he stated proudly. Plato became disillusioned with Athens after Socrates died. Later, he started his own university called the Academy.