What Does the Unexamined Life Mean?June 28, 2021
The unexamined life is not worth living! One of the heaviest and most influential sayings in the history of philosophy…
As understood from Plato’s dialogues and other testimonies, the foremost of the subjects that Socrates deals with is his care for the human spirit. The need for a person to take care of his soul is to understand what does not belong to him and what needs to be done to be a good person.
According to Socrates, although materiality and material pleasures are important in human life, they are not permanent and therefore are not decisive. The important thing is to lead a moral and righteous life despite everything.
According to Socrates, a person should question the life he lives and the basic values of this life. According to him, an unexamined life is not worth living. People who grow up in ordinary political and social environments live according to the moral and etiquette rules of the society they live in, and these rules are accepted and maintained by everyone without questioning. This is an unexamined life.
Moreover, the basic dynamics of an unexamined life are the first goals that people usually turn to, such as wealth, pleasure, glory, and fame. Moreover, one enters the chaos of life without being able to question them. Know yourself, know yourself. A person who knows himself can only have the opportunity to take care of his soul by living in accordance with the nature of being a human he has learned with this recognition.
It’s good to think.
Socrates and the Art of Questioning – The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
Upon the death sentence written in the name of Socrates, he went to a trial in 399 BC and defended himself in front of 501 Athenians by declaring that “the life that is not accounted for, reviewed, studied is not worth living” and that he would not stop producing philosophy even to save his own life.
So what brought Socrates to a seventy-year-old Athenian court and sentenced him to death?
The early years of Socrates’ life and his education are not exactly known. Our knowledge of him has come from many different sources. One of what we have is the dialogues of his student Plato (428/27 BC – 348/347 BC) that offer a kind, loving, lively and three-dimensional account of Socrates’ character and mindset.
In addition, there are accounts of him by Xenophon, the satirical playwright Aristophanes, and the philosopher and historian of Greek philosophy Aristotle.
Based on the available evidence that he was seventy years old when he died in the spring of 399 B.C. He was born either in 469 or 470. His father, Sophroniscus, is a sculptor, and his mother, Phaenarete, is eternal. Interestingly, later Socrates also described himself as a kind of “philosophical midwife”, as he helped generate the ideas of others by asking pertinent questions. Socrates was probably a sculptor and mason before turning to philosophy.
Socrates was known for his superior physical endurance skills and prowess, such as walking barefoot on ice during a military campaign. Another time, as described in Plato’s Feast, he stood in a tranced state and meditated for thirty-six hours continuously.
Both events confirm Socrates’ ability to ignore physical discomfort in order to achieve a higher mental or spiritual purpose. These are just a few examples of the astonishing acts and behaviors that built the legend of Socrates.
On the other hand, this legend owes its noble greatness to Socrates’ art, in other words, to his profession. His philosophical mission began with a cabinet or divinely appointed authority. According to tradition, the Greeks, when faced with difficult questions, carried them to the city of Delphi, where the god Apollo would give the answers by transmitting them to an oracle.
The priest in Delphi was also Sister Pythia. Socrates explained in his Defense that his philosophic aptitude or divine duty extended to the time when the oracle answered a question of his friend Chaerephon. Chaerephon’s question is, “Is there anyone alive and wiser than Socrates?” The nun’s answer was “no”. At first Socrates doubted this answer, because you knew he had “no wisdom”, a wisdom “neither big nor small”…
What did Socrates mean when he called himself “horse fly”? The horse fly is a large fly that infests other animals as well as farm animals with its bites. Similarly, Socrates was a nuisance to the citizens around him. Based on this, he compared Athens to a great horse and made them think about how to live their lives by bombarding them with questions and harassment.
He set out to prove that the oracle was wrong, wandered the streets of Athens and questioned others. He asked poets, clergy, generals, and craftsmen about virtue and goodness.
This and other reputable citizens, who are famous for their knowledge, did not have any information.