The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The first time I heard this quote I was under the impression that Socrates meant unless you do something that others will examine, then your life is not worth living. Now, I realize what he was saying was that unless a person looks deeper into their lives, past what they do in their daily lives, to why they are here, and to what their destiny is, there is no worth in such a "shallow" life.

To a philosopher life is nothing if not something to ponder and question. Why are we here? what is our purpose and what comes next? these are just a few of their questions. Socrates saw a life unexamined and unquestioned as a mediocre existence at best, at worst an escape for those who know nothing in them is worth examining, for those who don't want to work in order to change their "shallow, meaning-less" lives.

If you turn your attention to the working-class, your carpenters, your "blue-collar" workers. Those of us who have to work for a living rarely have the opportunity to sit down and reflect on what our purpose is in the grand scheme of things. We are forced to go to work to support our families and when ever we can throw in a little fun. I don't think this life is meaningless or "not worth living". We pass our knowledge on to our children so they can survive and perhaps make a change in the world. These people who go to work and break their backs, come home, eat, be with their families, worry about paying the bills, go to sleep, then get up at five o'clock and do it again don't have time to examine life they're to busy living it. Perhaps socrates was to busy sitting atop his...