Posted by R. Berg on November 10, 2002
In Reply to: Up steps the Devil's advocate... posted by TheFallen on November 10, 2002
: : : Life, an awe inspiring sequence of events that provokes love, hatred, generosity and joy that once examined in fine detail brings itself to each harmonious climax. But what if life remains unexamined? The love, the hatred, the generosity and the joy remain still and motionless without any release, and life is no longer worth living. Therefore, the unexamined life is not worth living. By defining the examination, the worth and the life, we can give evidence to this statement.
: : : The examination in life is the evaluation of the events of the present, past and/or the future. By simply reflecting on an event a person makes examinations. The decisions of what a person likes or dislikes, how a person decides to live their life and whether to live or not, are all examinations of life and life's events. For example, if a person made the decision that they did not want to examine their life any longer; that would be a way of examining their life and that decision would have to be clarified to themselves at different points of their life. This means that this person would be examining their life at every point that the decision is remembered and clarified. Many people would argue this point because they believe that what I am saying is that people who cannot think do not deserve to live. This is not the case at all. I am saying that if that person has the ability to evaluate the decisions they make, even if it is just for a few seconds in a moment, that they have created a worth in life for themselves because they are examining life. In this way, even a person with a mental or physical disability that prevents them from complete mental process, can still provoke thought about what they are doing. Hence, examination is simply the process of making decisions, no matter how big or small. These decisions are what create the worth in a persons' life.
: : : The worth in someone's life is not to be determined by me. But I can say that without the examination of life there would be no worth to life. Worth is defined by dictionary.com as "The quality that renders something desirable, useful, or valuable." A person can not decide whether something has worth without examining it and making that decision. Worth is not something that is necessarily good or bad, although society would generally conform to worth being something good. Worth is what people use to define why they still live. If their life has worth, they will continue to live and enjoy life. In this way an unexamined life is not worth living because without examining life you can not determine its worth to you, and therefore have no reason to want to live.
: : : What do you think? Is this making sense to anyone???
: : : Please reaply ASAP. Thank-you.
: : I don't know if I'm up to this subject on a lazy Sunday afternoon. What makes us human is our ability to go beyond living in the moment. We remember the past and plan for the future. We consider the consequences of our actions to ourselves and others. Like a former mayor of New York, we occasionally ask, "How am I doing?" Am I using the mind and body that the good Lord gave me to the best of my ability? Am I living up the greatest commandment - love one another? Really, unless a person is severely damaged mentally, I don't know how he or she could not examine his or her life. It's who we are.
: I have to agree mainly with ESC here, but as so often, you can have too much of a good thing. Too much time spent upon in-depth examination of one's own achievements, behaviour, thoughts or motives is tantamount to self-obsession. As a wiser man than I once said regarding such self-analytical navel-gazing:-
: "In my view, you're unlikely to find ultimate truth in the depths of your own navel, unless ultimate truth turns out actually to be a small piece of grey lint."
Goldie, it isn't clear to me what you're seeking. Are you asking whether the essay you posted reflects most people's understanding of the remark imputed to Socrates about the unexamined life? Are you proposing a new interpretation of that remark? Are you running the essay past this forum to get suggestions before handing it in as a class assignment?
To the question whether those three paragraphs make sense, I can say that much of the text didn't make sense to me. An example of the need for clarification is "brings itself to each harmonious climax," near the top. Is it life that brings itself to a series of climaxes, or is it the emotions you've named -- joy and so forth? Does either of these really bring itself to a climax; what is the nature of such a climax, and how can one know when this has happened? In what way is the climax harmonious: what does it harmonize with? Could it be discordant when it does not harmonize with something?
Here's another passage that reveals a need for thinking more carefully: "A person cannot decide whether something has worth without examining it and making that decision." This sentence says that a person cannot decide without making a decision. Well, yes. But is that what you meant to say?