What did Socrates mean by "The unexamined life is not worth living."?

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  1. melbel profile image95
    melbelposted 12 years ago

    What did Socrates mean by "The unexamined life is not worth living."?

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 12 years ago

      This quote comes from Plato's Apology.  In it, Socrates is put to death for "corrupting the youth" and "impiety."   He was sentenced to death and forced to drink hemlock.  This quote comes at the end of the Apology, when Socrates is going over possible punishments he deserves for the charges against him.  He entertains the hypothetical scenario of simply ceasing to constantly question people who think they know something when they in fact they do not.  His reasons for not being able to do this are "no greater good can happen to a man than to discuss human excellence every day and the other matters about which you have heard me arguing and examining myself and others and that AN UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING, then you will believe me still less."

      So to me, Socrates is willing to face death instead of living a simple life where he does not examine claims to knowledge people make.  In other words, he would rather die than be forced to sit around and watch TV all day but not be able to ask people hard questions about reality.  A life like that is not worth living to Socrates.

    2. lobobrandon profile image86
      lobobrandonposted 12 years ago

      I guess a life where new things are not tried out no experiments carried out is a waste

    3. j0hngalt profile image61
      j0hngaltposted 12 years ago

      That's a great question! In order to do it justice, I have created a hub to address your question. Thanks!

    4. profile image56
      R. J. Lefebvreposted 12 years ago

      Socrates is my mentor! My first impression of "The unexamined life..worth living"?, is like describing the walking dead or, one who chooses to live as a puppet on a string.

    5. tom hellert profile image60
      tom hellertposted 12 years ago

      To be short- without looking at what jogngault had to say, remembering my philosophy 112 class- I believe it meant a person  who does not look into the why of he is here or the why he does what he does - the reasons for his life and the reasons for his actions- then- that person who has not looked at his life and what it means might as well be dead.

    6. wonderingwoolley profile image58
      wonderingwoolleyposted 12 years ago

      I think Socrates meant that if you don't have a purpose, a reason for living, there is no point in living. There are lots of people who just float through life, accepting what happens to them, instead of taking control of their lives and living it to the fullest. In order to do this, you need to know who you are, what you stand for and why. That takes a lot of hard thinking, and if you don't take the time to find these answers, you might be living an unexamined life.

    7. terrektwo profile image78
      terrektwoposted 12 years ago

      Possibly if no one is paying attention what's the use of playing the game, everyone needs an audience to feel important, like they matter.

    8. profile image0
      WordsAreStrengthposted 12 years ago

      A life devoid of introspection is devoid of meaning. If a person cannot come to a deep and personal understanding of themselves as a human being then they cannot be fully human.

    9. Doc Sonic profile image73
      Doc Sonicposted 12 years ago

      Plato said the unexamined life is not worth living. What did he mean? Can meaning be found by looking within, rather than to external sources? read more

    10. SidKemp profile image86
      SidKempposted 11 years ago

      Another way to see the point Socrates gave his life to make is to look at society today. How much of our suffering comes from people (including ourselves) who do not examine our own beliefs and behaviors? If everyone examined his or her own feelings and gained self-mastery, living passionately but lovingly, without causing harm, would we have war? Would there be any poverty? Would there be much less illness?

      Collectively, our unexamined lives create the ills of society. Socrates taught us to examine our lives and our minds and our hearts, and so create a society of excellence, a society diligently focused on creating the Good. Each individual who does this enhances the life of the world.

    11. kalokairi profile image39
      kalokairiposted 11 years ago

      ''Ανεξέταστος βίος ου βιωτός ανθρώπω" This mean that every person have to know himself first. Aytognosia=self-awareness. I believe that if you dont know who you are, then the life that you live is a  fake one .How you can live a life when you have a false image''picture'' for yourself? I mean you are not so brave , or you are more clever as you think ,for example.This is my opinion for your question.

    12. Fedelynn Jemena profile image61
      Fedelynn Jemenaposted 11 years ago

      I think it means a life not subjected to regular personal reflection is just wasted life. If you're just traipsing through your life not thinking about what you do, what you  experience, how you are affecting others (or the world), then you are not learning much. From my experience, a lack of self-reflection usually leads to repeating past mistakes, blaming others for some problems in your life (that you have actually created), letting good things (opportunities, people, etc.) pass by. In short, a lack of meaningful and sufficient progress in your life. For me, that's a wasted life.

    13. robilyn profile image60
      robilynposted 9 years ago

      If you do not look within yourself or find what it is that makes you unique and special, you haven't examined anything about yourself. Once you try, fail, risk, love, lose.. take every step to be who you want to be, you have then created your life. Without examining your every possibility, why try at all.

    14. profile image0
      ValKarasposted 7 years ago

      There are many slogans of wisdom to learn from  -  but in my opinion they are a sort of useless, because those who would benefit the most from them are lacking willingness to implement them in their lives.

      From my modest observation there is a major resistance to change in people, and even when they intellectually agree with an advice  -  and Socrates' saying is formed as one  -  they lack flexibility of an open mind that would allow them to examine their ways with an intention to change something there.

      There are too many smart asses around that have an answer to everything, and it's futile to challenge them to give an honest assessment of their life. I have witnessed that time and time again, and Socrates must have as well  -  those who understand the depth of his words usually don't need them except for an additional inspiration, and those who need them couldn't care less.
      And THAT'S why the world is in this mess as we see it  -  there is no lack of available wisdom, but a lack of willingness to make a use of it.

    15. Milon Kariul profile image61
      Milon Kariulposted 6 years ago

      Need to know things properly,otherwise life is not worthy


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