Socrates And The Unexamined Life

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An Audited Life Pays for Itself The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or the search for a better life, as defined by the Declaration of Independence, is one of the United States’ greatest examples of freedom. The Greek philosopher Socrates, was a major proponent of this belief. In the year 399 BC, Socrates was given a verdict of guilty with regard to negatively influencing young people, and defying polytheistic, Athenian beliefs. I was emboldened by reading Socrates’ spirited defense in the trial against his accusers. He was given the chance to live, if he would cease questions henceforth. I concur with Socrates’ retort, “The unexamined life is not worth living” (Washburn 14). In my experience, examining myself and my views…show more content…
For Socrates, philosophizing was essential to an examined life. The three crucial facets, with their value at the forefront, are: discussing the best kind of life, getting to know ourselves better, and critiquing widely held opinions and beliefs. Socrates considered himself ordinary with average intelligence and regularly admitted that he knew nothing, which put him on a neutral plane, in terms of making judgment calls. He said that without self-analysis and objective Devries 2 evaluation humans simply survive rather than live, which continues to corroborate his neutral position. In the end, he opted to receive his fatal sentence to drink hemlock poison instead of deny his philosophic lifeblood forever (Washburn 14). This flagrantly extreme example of practicing what one preaches, makes me wonder about the following question: “If Socrates gave his life for what some might refer to as “free speech,” how much more thought should I give to what he said he believed?” If someone is willing to die for their beliefs, and their ideas do not sound crazy, then their ethical viewpoint is worth the time for honest evaluation and comprehension. Socrates may have considered himself as ordinary, having average…show more content…
When I was younger, I used to be angry that I felt the need to be a role model for peers, when I myself desired a role model similar in age to myself, but I later came to the conclusion that I was able to use the situation as an opportunity for growth, rather than decay. The second side of Socrates’ triangle, is to put the effort into “trying to understand ourselves” better (Washburn 14). For me, this includes a deeper form of self-reflection, asking questions like, “Why do I do certain things? Do I make decisions to act based upon the need to cater to other people in order to fit in, and/or do I thrive on other people’s actions to satisfy and gratify me? Am I truly my own person?” For me, personal idiosyncrasies with relation to social interaction is the most glaring example of a faux pas (social foul-up). Peer pressure, apparent societal norms, and self-deception would indirectly fall under the category of social acceptance, rejection, and strife. In my own life, peer pressure played a negative role due to being bullied in school, and also in my difficulty in not knowing what kind of people were the right type of friends to have, until in some cases it was too late. Socrates wanted people to think about

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