Remind you of anybody?

-3

Referring to http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-croatia-slobadan-praljak-20171129-story.html (and many similar stories you can google about this incident). This may be somewhat off-topic, but can't think where else to ask.

Note that the guy was a "former philosophy professor". Nevertheless, none of the articles I saw mentioned the (glaringly obvious to me) parallel. So, is he trying to make a statement? Compare himself or his situation to the historical one? Or just trying to off himself as conveniently as possible? Or what?

Edit: By the way, as well as a "former philosophy professor", I just noticed that he was also a "theater director" (and, boy, talk about your "performance art").

user19423

Posted 2017-11-30T03:16:55.013

Reputation:

i've not been following the story, but he doesn't sound very virtuous despite the death scene – None – 2017-11-30T03:50:10.617

wanted to die pretending he was, was my guess. be that a means to do the deed, or something worse – None – 2017-11-30T03:51:18.267

@user3293056 Yeah, not very virtuous-sounding to me, either. Good riddance to the guy as far as I'm concerned. However, according to the stories, lots of his fellow Croats consider him a national hero, even to this day! (There's one country that's off my tourist destination list.) So, in his own mind, you can imagine he could be thinking of himself quite differently than we are. – None – 2017-11-30T03:57:41.363

i guess. i'm writing an answer about virtuous self belief, hope it's ok – None – 2017-11-30T04:00:39.223

This is the exact definition of a personal opinion based question that just wants to solicit opinions, which is explicitly off topic. Asking for people to muse whether he is like Socrates, wanted to be like Socrates, or if he reminds people of Socrates is not a question about philosophy. There's also a problem in the very conversational tone of the question. I don't think that questions should be completely formal, but asking a rhetorical "remind you of anybody?" just comes off as not serious. Not to mention the lack of Socrates' name.

– Not_Here – 2017-12-01T15:23:16.427

There might be something objectively answerable buried inside of this question but right now it just comes off as something to solicit opinions and to try to start a conversation. "Does Praljak remind you of Socrates" might have a true 'yes or no' answer, but it's not a question about philosophy. – Not_Here – 2017-12-01T15:26:06.440

Answers

1

First of all, the Socrates parallels are (IMO) coincidental. Socrates allegedly took the hemlock because that was his sentence in Athens, and he did not want to go against the state (there are several other proposed motives, but they all point to a sense of altruism and a sense that fighting the judgement would only detract from his teachings).

Slobadan on the other hand, drank poison out of protest. Was he making a point? Sure, but it was a point almost diametrically opposed to the point Socrates was supposedly trying to make at the time.

Remember too, that Socrates was essentially punished because he went around trying to prove people smarter and wiser than himself and failed. This guy tried to prove his ethnic group smarter and wiser than those with whom he shared his country, and failed.

I think that the similarity is based on how far apart their perspectives were rather than how close together they are. Sometimes, the opposite of something looks closer to it than something with more in common.

Tim B II

Posted 2017-11-30T03:16:55.013

Reputation: 1 547

1Thanks for the "compare-and-contrast", Tim. Yeah, I was drawing a "syntactic" similarity (i.e., to the act itself), not a "semantic" one (interpretation of the act). So thanks for contrasting/elaborating some of that semantics. And, yeah, I think he was surely making a very intentional and theatrical point. Which is what made it that much weirder to me that none of the stories I googled contained "Socrates" anywhere. (I'd bet the next news cycle will see lots of such references and discussions.) – None – 2017-11-30T04:24:06.990

1..."Sometimes, the opposite of something looks closer to it than something with more in common." - A very important observation I'd say. . – None – 2017-11-30T11:02:55.357

1

I noticed the parallel too when I heard it; and I'm sure that he meant exactly that parallel to his fellow Croats; but that doesn't mean that we need take him at his own valuation. Hannah Arendt in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem reported that Eichmann said he was a Kantian, whereas she thought (controversially) he was extraordinarily banal.

Mozibur Ullah

Posted 2017-11-30T03:16:55.013

Reputation: 1

0

The interesting question for me, like I tried to highlight in my comment, is whether characters like this just want to perish, or are fanatics that use their death to further their own ego. Seems fair to put the emphasis on something like the latter, as we're not talking a last meal / smoke here.

You might want to compare the intersection between belief and perishing in the account of Walter Benjamin's death, the angel of history etc..

user29495

Posted 2017-11-30T03:16:55.013

Reputation:

1Thanks, "user". That was an implicit part of my question -- which came first, the "chicken" or the "egg"? That is, did he primarily want to kill himself, and then just chose a theatrically meaningful (given his philosophy and theater background) way of doing it? Or did he primarily want to use the court as a world-wide stage for his performance, and was reluctantly willing to die for the opportunity? – None – 2017-11-30T04:30:19.297

1didn't get the histrionic aspect. it doesn't really interest me that much, fake martyrdom i guess is no more special – None – 2017-11-30T04:42:54.093

Re "fake martyrdom" and my earlier comment "lots of his fellow Croats consider him a national hero, even to this day" -- I'd guess they'll now all consider him a very, very real martyr. And I'd guess another possibility is that he was intentionally martyring himself. Gotta hand it to the guy, although he was nothing but a genocidal nazi sob, that was quite a Shakespeare-worthy performance. Lots of meaning, all kinds of different ways, on a world-wide stage no actor in history ever had. Bound to generate lots of discussion. How would we be reacting had he been an admirable figure instead? – None – 2017-11-30T08:28:08.333