Socrates: the Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

Topics: Philosophy, Prison, Murder Pages: 3 (1033 words) Published: December 10, 2010
A Life Worth Living

After being sentenced to death for his controversial views and teachings of politics and religion to the youth of Ancient Athens, the historical philosopher Socrates was given an ultimatum to spend the remainder of his in exile. To this, Socrates stated “the unexamined life is not worth living”. [i] Like the subjective nature of philosophy itself, this quote from one of the most famous philosophers of all time can come in an array of interpretations. What Socrates himself most likely meant was that a life of imprisonment was nothing more than the death to which he was sentenced. A life in which he could not explore and examine the world around him was ultimately useless. As a philosopher, this was Socrates way of life: to observe the world around him— the workings of society, the phenomena of nature, and the ideologies and beliefs of things beyond physical existence— and offer the interpretations of his observations to the rest of the public. Though this way of life ultimately spelled his peril, this was Socrates driving force— his reason for living; for Socrates, living a life unexamined was not worth living at all. Though we, luckily, are not faced with the same life-or-death dilemma presented to Socrates, this quote can relate to those in modern society. There are an infinite number of questions and answers pertaining to life, and how it is valued. Like many philosophical subjects, these questions and answers are entirely subjective. From a personal point of view, I tie Socrates’ quote with that of famous trainer Greg Anderson: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” [ii] Socrates stood trial for encouraging the youth to challenge the common beliefs set by Athenian society. He taught people to ask questions and find answers, have doubts and challenge them, and not to simply believe in what you’re taught, but believe in what you think. Life is a...
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