According to Plato, Socrates had differentiated two ways of life, unexamined life and examined life. Socrates was irritated by the Sophists in his Era, and their leaning to teach logic as a means of achieving self-centered ends. An unexamined life to not examine or question one’s life is to risk misunderstanding one’s self in relation to the world, to remain oblivious to one’s thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and thus, to be a passive receiver of experience, instead of an active interpreter of experience.
Besides, one has to analyze himself every day to find the real meaning of life and to live a happy and worthy life. Living an examined life will not only better yourself but will help those around you and guarantee your safety in heaven. I agree with Socrates when he says the unexamined life is not worth living for several reasons. Not only should we live our lives as if we are going to be judged at the end, but we should strive to live them to the fullest, making accomplishments, no matter how big or small, that will improve the lives of others around us and future generations.
In “An Inconvenient Truth”, a documentary produced by the multimillionaire Al Gore warned us about how catastrophic the man had made changes in the atmosphere. According to Al Gore we should examine ourselves by taking steps against industrial revolution which will lead us to a natural disaster. Moreover, for a virtuous person, examination and self-reflection is to gain knowledge, to seek for the common good, and especially to enrich the immoral soul. Furthermore, to live and to find a meaning of a worthy life, one cannot only do examination on his life, but he also has to examine others who are around him, especially in his society.
For instance, according to Plato’s apology, Socrates went out in public places not only to ask, but also challenged other. What did he do that for? The answer is, when we asking other question, we can have the answer or opinions. The answers help us easy to examine other and make comparisons between others and us. Either their opinion is right or wrong, we still learn from it; learning from others mistakes. Through them, we are capable of knowing what is good and what can be applied to our life to make us to become a better and virtuous person in society.
Oppositely, living an examined life is just examining an individual life separated from others, you lack of sensitiveness to the real and the truth of life. Your life has no intentional destiny, bivouac, and ideal. It is full of mediocrity and monotony. It then becomes completely exteriorized with consequent loss of much power and peace. To illustrate this, in the “allegory of the cave” of Plato (p32), a man who lives separated from the outside world and ends up in darkness. The only thing that he can see is the shadow on the wall.
Looking at the shadow, he thinks it is the real thing without knowing that it is just a reflection of things by the candle. He just blindly accepts his faith without asking and exanimating what lies beyond the cave; however, at the end of the story, there is a man who shows him the way out of the cave to see the real world with true living thing. Therefore, when one examines himself only, it is easy for him to end up with illusion and imagination. He is not able to distinguish what is truth or fake and he commits himself to believe in the shadows.
In other word, in order to get out of the cave, to discover the truly live, and to live a worthy live, one has to examine and discover those shadows for the real meanings of the outside world, the people in his society. All in all, to live an examined life is to carry yourself in a manner in which you know you will be judged by God after death. God’s decision is to send you to either hell or heaven, and the conduct of your life determines where you will spend eternity.
Hell and heaven can be described as exact opposites of each other; on one side you can imagine being locked up in chains, being tortured endlessly wishing you were dead. On the other side you are at peace, reunited with loved ones and spending the rest of your life in eternal ecstasy. Similarly, an unexamined life is the opposite of an examined life. An unexamined life can be lived to the fullest, no sacrifices having to be made for fear of being judged, but with the drawback that there is nothing guiding you to do good.