For a philosopher, every life form should have a way of life suitable for it, that is, the life that is in harmony with its nature. But according to human nature, ‘the good’ involves living that kind of life subject to the truly critical use of reason, namely to live such a life implying anything less that it is quite unworthy of such person’s nature. Indeed he stands to find it intolerable and further, that way of life is quite unworthy of such person’s nature, and he/she should not endure the unexamined life, which is in Kant’s words ‘an eternal childhood’ which in essence is a condition of lack of freedom. This paper discuses Socrates’ words "The unexamined life is not worth living". This would help ascertain if such words are any meaningful in human life. "The unexamined life is not worth living." Certainly those are Socrates’ words while at his trial for heresy. Socrates was on trial and said those words intentionally to encourage his students to always think for themselves and challenge the accepted belief of the time. He was condemned to death, although he had the choice of suggesting an alternative punishment. Rationally, it was expected that Socrates could have opted for exile or life in prison, which would have helped him avoid death. But according to Socrates, these promising alternatives would instead rob him of that only thing that would make him useful in examining the beautiful world around him and discussing how well to make it a better place to live. Without his examined life Socrates believed then that there was no point in living. He, therefore, suggested that the Jury should consider rewarding him for his service to the society. This implied that the Athens had no other alternative but be forced to vote for his death punishment. Socrates believed that the purpose of human life would always be personal and spiritual growth. People are not able to grow towards their greater understanding of their true nature unless they spend some time reflecting and examining their lives (Palmer 34). Just like philosopher, Santayana, observed, “He who fails to remember the past is condemned to repeat it.” (Karl 11). Lucky enough, people do not have to make a choice between death and examined life. The saddest thing is that most people always avoid living an examined life not because they do not have the time, but because they actively like to avoid examining their own life. Socrates’ words are significantly relevant in every bit of human life, and I unreservedly agree to them. It implies that a person who is not open for questioning by others concerning his action and thoughts certainly lives in denial of such motivations prompting his actions and thoughts. It follows that such an individual wastes his or her life. That kind of life is but a superficial act that reveals nothing new and nothing unique and such a life is not "real" Socrates’ careful choice of words provides much color to his quote. The word ‘examined’ might be interpreted to mean to analyze, study, to check condition or health of someone or something, or to inquire. One would imagine that Socrates insists that asking other persons what his quote implies defiles the precise nature. It is, therefore, best for one to have his or her meaning from it. Socrates suggests that ‘unexamined life’ refers to that life whose purpose has at no time been questioned; a ...Show more
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Through out generations, mankind has been asking themselves what is the purpose of life. And obviously, it would not easy for one alone to answer or explain what the meaning of life is. Nevertheless, one's life is monotonous if it is meaningless, and it is not monotonous if it has a purpose, a target to go. Thus, the question here is how one knows that his life is worth living or not? Socrates, the father of ancient philosophy, once stated, "An unexamined life is not worth living." In order to make one life becomes worth to live, this famous statement strongly addresses that one must exanimate himself first and then others in the society to find the meaning and happiness of life.
One has to exanimate himself every day to find the meaning of life and to live a worthy life. As we know, we are living in a world of "progress." It is important for one to know who he is, what he is doing. If not, one would not be able to live a good life. And one would not be able to find his purpose of life if he does not know what is his being truly for. Without examination, one would blind and lie to himself. One blinds himself means he does not know what he is doing is right or wrong. He just blindly does it. He sometime does things right. However, no body is perfect; very one has mistakes. If one does not examine himself, he would not be able to realize and fix his mistakes. He becomes frustrated and gradually steps deep into the whole of sin and darkness that he digs it up for himself.
On the other hand, when one does things right, he usually thinks that he is good and perfect; he would that his life is perfect and there is no need to correct or change the way it is. And this thought would make one easily becomes self- satisfaction. Therefore, we all have to keep in mind that time is passing and life changes day by day. One, who is not moving or making any changing to adapt to the new situations those suddenly come to life, is allowing bad thing to come up his life. Moreover, without changing, one will be left behind and he would not be able to find the way out by himself. His life now ends up with full of frustrations, hopeless, and unhappiness. There is no goal, purpose in his life anymore. Thus, it is important to know that one can only find the meaning for life when he continual seeks it; he has to move and let the changes be the tradition in his lifetime in order to live a worthy life.
However, one does examinations in his lifetime does not fully mean that he is living a worthy life. To some, examination is a thought of doing things with bad purpose or harm to others. On the other hand, for a virtuous person, examination, self-reflection is to gain knowledge, to seek for the common good, and especially to enrich the immoral soul. Soul means, as Aristotle's definition, the "spirit" or "the life principle of the body." In addition, "soul" which is translated from Latin means "anima." There is three parts of the soul, which are sense, courage, and intellect. In this division, the intellect is the primacy one. For example, we eat meat means we have to kill a live animal in order to get its flesh. This is sense part, The control part is when some body says that it is crude and wrong to kill animal and we are courage enough - sacrifice our need, hunger to eat vegetable instead. Nevertheless, this courage does not give us a truly happiness because we are being forced to do it. However, in the intellect part, we eat meat because we need food to survive. That means in intellect sees life has the purpose, the telo that is the end for a person. Thus, in order to be happy, a virtuous person has to examine and set his life according to the intellect because the intellect rules the whole body and enrich the soul.
Thus, an unexamined life and examined life with bad purpose would never find happiness in life. And an examined life, in order to find happiness and meaning of life, has to be based on the virtue of man. As Socrates, one said "the greatest good to discuss virtue everyday" (Plato, Apologia), for him, virtue is to live as an excellent human not a "being good." That means one only has a worthy life when he examines his life and never satisfy with what he has. Besides, one lives a worthy life when he never stopped seeking the happiness, improving his goodness, and approaching close to the perfection of the soul as much as he can. Ultimately, an "examined life" is not worth living when it does not enrich the soul in some ways. One would not be able to live a good life or find happiness if his examinations are not based on his virtue, which "animates" one life become a worthy being.
Furthermore, to live and to find a meaning of a worthy life, one cannot only do examination on his life, but he also has to examine others who is around him, especially in his society. As we know, every single living thing in the world needs to live in and with its society. Without the society, one would not be able to define himself in a properly way. One, who separates himself from other, lives like a wild island in the vastness of the ocean. Besides, when one lives a separated life, he would end up himself in the feelings of grandeur. He hardly accepts other's advice or suggestion, which obstructs him from receiving the knowledge from other. As mention above, examination not only helps us find the happiness, but it also helps us gain knowledge. For instance, Socrates went out in public places not only to ask, but also challenged other. What did he do that for? The answer is, when we asking other question, we can have the answer or opinions. The answers help us easy to examine other and make comparisons between others and us. Either their opinion is right or wrong, we still learn from it; learning from others mistakes. Through them, we are capable of knowing what is good and what can be applied to our life to make us to become a better and virtuous person in society.
Moreover, if one just examines his individual life and separates from others, he is lack of sensitiveness to the real and the truth of life. His life has no intentional destiny, bivouac, and ideal. It is full of mediocrity and tedium. It then becomes completely exteriorized with consequent loss of much power and peace. To illustrate this, in the "allegory of the cave" of Plato, a man who lives separated from the out side world and ends up in darkness. The only thing that he can see is the shadow on the wall. Looking at the shadow, he thinks it is the real thing without knowing that it is just a reflection of things by the candle. He just blindly accepts his faith without asking and exmainating what lies beyond the cave; he is announcing his happiness - meaning of life with being shackled.
However, at the end of the story, there is a man who shows him the way out of the cave to see the real world with true living thing. Therefore, when one examines himself only, it is easy for him to end up with illusion and imagination. He is not able to distinguish what is truth or fake and he commits himself to believe in the shadows. In other word, in order to get out of the cave, to discover the truly live, and to live a worthy live, one has to examine, discover, and philosophize those shadows for the real meanings of the out side world, the people in his society. Besides, one has to humble enough to listen to other because the things that we know are just like a drop in the ocean as Socrates, one said, "The only thing I know is I know nothing." Besides, when we examine our lives, we learn from our mistakes. Thus, when one examines the society that he lives in, it is not just helps him gain the knowledge, but it also changes his way of thought about thing in order to make him become more rational and worth living.
In conclusion, this statement of the "worth living life" reminds us, who are seeking for the meaning of life, that without life examination there was no point in living. Life examination helps us either our personal and spiritual growth. We are unable to grow toward greater understanding of our true nature unless we take time to examine and reflect upon our life. And those who reflect on their purpose in life would live a good life than those who exist without contemplating the alternative. We also have to keep in mind that, our lives are worth living when we know how to examine other and ourselves in our life to have complete answer for the meaning of life. Moreover, it is equally important to know that one's life happiness does not come from or depends on other. Other can only contribute the triggers our feeling, but we are the one that finds and produces our own happiness. Thus, one's life is worth living when he virtuously examines himself and others in order to find the meaning and happiness of life.