Is the Unexamined Life Valueless?

“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.” The quote I’ve selected for this week once again comes from the readings of my philosophy class. In Plato’s Apology, this quote is used to illustrate the life that Socrates wants to live. He is focused only on living as a philosopher and constantly questioning and deciphering the bigger picture of everyday life while simultaneously trying to tackle the challenge of the unknown. This process of stretching the boundaries of the known world is the only way that he is able to find peace as well as meaning for his life. He continues to say that he will not stop living in this fashion and seems to favor death to the alternative of having to carry out a passive existence on the earth.

This hard analysis of the subterraneous processes during the average day is quite a relatable topic for ideas brought up in City of Rhetoric. Something as seemingly unimportant as buildings playing a role in political agenda is not an idea brought up by the typical citizen, but rather is someone who possesses a Socratic mind. The effort required to delve deeper into social convention and the normative order is what separates those who are living and those who are simply just waiting to die.

While this statement seems rather severe, I believe that it holds weight. As Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living he seems to be saying that those lives are already over regardless of what they accomplish within them. If an individual is simply filling a role in society that happens to garner favor, that is good but not truly what life is about. The meaning of life is lost if we do not first examine what life is and what we are all doing here.

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