He was sentenced to death for "corrupting the youth." This is his story. (it's the reason I care about philosophy)
It all started when the Oracle at Delphi said that no one in Athens was wiser than Socrates.
Socrates didn't believe it. He knew he had no wisdom at all. But the Oracle was very well respected, so he took it seriously. He decided to roam Athens and talk with the people who everyone considered the wisest.
These conversations were pretty interesting. Plato wrote some of them down, and we still read them today.
We're like blind men sitting around a fire. Something's there, keeping us warm, but we don't know what it is. We tend to wander away and get lost in the cold. Sometimes we get so lost that we begin to doubt the fire even exists. But we feel in our hearts that the fire is true. We've experienced it ourselves. We know it is good.
At some point, we learned to use symbols. We took sticks and held them to the flame. We wandered away from the fire in all directions, reminding lost ones that the warmth is real. But over time, our symbols burnt out and became cold outlines. Philosophy is about returning to the fire and setting our symbols back on fire. We do this by asking the eternal questions. We are blind to it but we can feel it. We are ignorant but we have faith that there is truth.
That's why I care about philosophy. The problem is that philosophy is too important to be left to the philosophy department. All those big words are just symbols that fail to give us warmth. So what do we do about it? Let's return to our story about Socrates...
The word started to spread all over Athens that this Socrates character was raising questions that made the "wise ones" look like fools.
Predictably, this really pissed off the "wise ones".
They took Socrates to trial, and charged him with "corruption of the youth". He was convicted and sentenced to death.
Our "wise ones" aren't any different. Ask questions. They're blind just like you. Philosophy is for everyone. When you grapple with the eternal questions, you get closer to the fire. Put that fire into the work you do every day. Warm others with it. Come back home to eternal things.