Is the Unexamined Life Not Worth Living?
As one of the most influential philosophers, Socrates was known as a man who believed in “striving to make oneself as good a person as possible”1. Many of his teachings revolved around his idea that “an unexamined life is no life for a human being to live”2. As a student of philosophy, I believe in this way of life due to the following considerations. The central point of Socrates’ proposal is that in order to be human, one must actively examine life. People must focus on how they wish to live their lives because if not, they will give up their life decisions to others. They will lose control over their existence in the world, thus losing the ability to be an independent human being. This independence is vital to our civilization, because without it, human beings would just become mindless slaves to the authority who tell them what to do every day. Another reason behind this statement is that to some extent, in order to be alive, one must be conscious of his or her environment. People must be able to examine the world around them and absorb and analyze their surroundings. There are lessons to be learned from everyday scenarios that require a conscious mind in order for them to be taken into account. If I am making mistakes in my life, I should be able to examine them in order to prevent them from occurring in the future.
1. Plato. “Apology: Defense of Socrates.” 39A
2. Plato. “Apology: Defense of Socrates.” 38A
By standing still and not examining these mistakes, I will have learned nothing and therefore they will continuously appear in my life. I believe the point of life is to grow as a human being and without examining oneself, there is no life for a human being to live.
Nevertheless, there are some objections to this theory that need to be address. The first argument is the idea that people can easily be happy living a life where the...