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Essay: Is the Unexamined Life Worth Living?

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Michelle Oleary


December 7, 2011

When we last spoke, I had decided on an "affirmative" the answer to this question. Sense

giving it much thought and pondering my own situation and the people around me, I have

decided to change my answer to "negative". I hope this is ok. I will further explain what

prompted me to this conclusion.

To me, I look at this question more simplified: "is the uninformed life worth living" is how I

choose to really look at the question. To me, this is more direct and to the heart of the matter

than the word "unexamined". This is a very important thought/question that I think everyone can

ask themselves. I, personally, have asked people aged 14 to 87 years old what their feelings and

issues are surrounding this serious life question. Most all came to the same conclusion that

religion plays a very important role in their life and is important to them when it comes to

answering this particular question.

After much thought, I feel as well that reflection of one's life (or rather how they choose to

live their life) is of great significance throughout. It would be hard for me to ignore the fact that

I worship a God and take very seriously the way in which I try to live my life. Although not

always perfect, I make the attempt to live a certain way because at the end of my life I want

benefits (which could include eternal heaven or reincarnation). I do indeed, choose to look at my

life constantly and reflect on my situation in hopes of improving on an afterlife experience. For

me, living a life that is unexamined is careless and not worth living.

I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but for me the core issue in answering this question

always comes back to religion. Even the people I surveyed felt the same way.

In Plato's 'The Apology", Socrates explains how and why Plato has lived his life as he has


done. He clearly states that the "unexamined life is not worth living" and was prosecuted for his

bold views of this topic towards the end of his life. I feel that he felt very strongly towards his

understanding. Plato agrees with my conclusions that the answer to this serious question does

involve religion and that at the end of the day it is salvation that plays the most important role in

the motivation of self-examining one's life. Even when Plato was put on trial he didn't deny his

position regarding this issue, which to me is the real test of one's faith and belief. I am not

certain that facing the same end of life turmoil that he was I could be as steadfast in my

commitment and ideals? I really like how Plato goes on about how he spoke out to his

accusers/condemners at the end of his life proclaiming his faith and resolute. He was not fearful

in dying because he had throughout his life tried to live a decent way and had tremendous belief

that he would be rewarded for his actions.



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