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  1. #1
    Ginkgo
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    Default "The Unexamined Life..."

    Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". A friend of mine thinks this was the most unethical statement a man has ever made. What do you think about it?

  2. #2
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Does he mean introspection.. analyzing one's self? If so.. Sorry buddy-o-his. Socrates was dead on. It's one of my guiding principles in life. If I know myself, in and out... I have a leg up on everything I do.
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  3. #3

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    Your friend has a point. Perhaps a qualifier such as "deliberately" unexamined or phraseology that does not allow for perspective outside the speaker/thinker of the ethic to determine worth for that individual would serve better.

    I'm not sure the phrase was meant to have that ambiguity, I always assumed it was from the perspective of the individual rather than projection onto another individual, but I didn't coin it.

    And of course the phrase is a translation.
    Of an interpretation.
    And Socrates predates email.

    Thought-provoking!

    Here though, gratis Wiki, gratis Plato, gratis Socrates:
    The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. (ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi — ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ)
    Apology, 38a
    Variant translations:
    (More closely) The unexamining life is not worth living for a human being
    The life which is unexamined is not worth living.
    An unexamined life is not worth living.
    The unexamined life is not the life for man.
    Life without enquiry is not worth living for a man.
    Anyone know Ancient Greek?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  4. #4
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    one word: Eudaimonia.

    You have to understand this statement in its time. If you see it from the cultural gestalt of the period and the specific point of view of Socrates this statement takes on a different meaning as applied to today's readership.The concept of Eudaimonia was a key concept in greek philosophy at the time, you have to remember that the same generation came up with the concept of the 'realm of the forms': Eudaimonia is the full realization of one's nature/essence.
    Platocrates used the language of a philosopher to say that whatever one's nature one should be aware of their nature and direction. It doesn't necessarily means one should be a philosopher in the strong sense of the term, it's more about awareness of self and one's purpose in life. Philosophy literally means 'the love of knowledge', these guys were basically NTs associating their ideas and their identity very strongly. To generalize the message and apply it to a judeochristian background it would sound like 'love thyself, know thyself'. Applying this idea to an actual Christian background would sound like 'To know your heart is to know God'

    Then it's about what defines identity. The same culture was then also heavily influenced by other school of thoughts gravitating around relativism. In reaction to this polarization of viewpoints absolutists like Socrates would support the validity of their argument by considering that in a world of flux one loses one self and purpose and that only by a conscious effort to know oneself can we fully actualize our potential as 'modern' people in what then was a beacon of culture in a world still mostly dominated by illiteracy and 'barbarism' (ofc barbarism is anachronistic in this context but well, it is a much used term)
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    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    ps: So based on the idea of Eudaimonia of 'essence/purpose' (the concept has been I would assume used by multiple schools of thoughts leading to a very multi layered and context based usage) man is different from animal by its mind. And that our purpose, our eudaimonia has to do with this ability to reflect. Our capacity for meta cognition litteraly means we get to observe, to examine our own thoughts, being and life and therefore any human should go about finding hir nature and place in creation through this very unique specificity.

    Therefore Socrates states that the life unexamined is not worth living for humans as it is a denial of our eudaimonia. And by denying this Eudaimonia we can never become what we are meant to be, we can never achieve oneness with our 'core/ideal self' our platonic 'form'

    That's what I would assume the whole sentence would mean in its original context.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  6. #6

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    I am interested in what your friend meant about it being unethical, is it unethical because Socrates does not appear to affirm life no matter what? If he made a simple unqualified "life is worth living" statement would that be ethical and anything short of that unethical?

    Socrates wouldnt have wanted to live an unexamined life, that's for sure, his manner of dying is testamony alone to that.

  7. #7
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    I think he's: Religious, stubborn, easily manipulated, hypocrite, and pretty dumb + ignorant.
    I'm guessing he's a XSTJ 1w2.

    Edit: Please notice that I'm not implying every religious person is like this, much less every 1w2 STJ. I believe stupidy comes in many flavors, and this flavor is pretty peculiar. He has every right to disagree with the statement, but the fact he called it ''unethical'' instead of ''illogical'' tells me a lot. He probably feels like his beliefs are being offended by that statement.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    I think he's: Religious, stubborn, easily manipulated, hypocrite, and pretty dumb + ignorant.
    I'm guessing he's a XSTJ 1w2.
    There sure is some bigoted crap in that post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo
    Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". A friend of mine thinks this was the most unethical statement a man has ever made. What do you think about it?
    Who gave either person the right to be the final arbiter on what makes a life worth living, or to claim what is the most unethical statement a man has ever made? Two peas in a pod.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Elisius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". A friend of mine thinks this was the most unethical statement a man has ever made. What do you think about it?
    I think we need some more detail on what your friend meant by it being unethical.
    But I'm with kyuuei, introspection is the only way we can know what we really want from life.

  10. #10

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    @Elisius I suspect a few of the things his friend might be getting at is 1) negation of the value of a Se- perspective, or SP-temperament in general 2) permission to determine that those of inferior intelligence (the handicapped, the comatose, the elderly, the juvenile) don't deserve to live and others have the right to make that value judgment... it could also have the potential to condone all sorts of hot topics like "assisted suicide", "forced sterilization", "forced abortion" etc. 3) the negation of the value of "living in the moment" or "sensate activity" or "physical pleasure and activity"... from sports involvement or all the way to cults that have been associated with the removing of breasts and genitals to focus one's mental faculties and spirituality rather than be distracted by the flesh etc.

    If you give the phrase's perspective ambiguity, you can take it in some horrific directions. Judging by the translation mentioned on the Wikipedia page that the closer translation would be "The unexamining life is not worth living for a human being," it negates the likelihood that the aforementioned horrors were implied because it shifts the perspective exclusively to 'of the self' moving outward --not 'of self and of others' onto self and others.

    Am I communicating effectively? :\ IOW, am I making sense? Cause I'm trying, lol.
    Last edited by iwakar; 12-18-2011 at 10:58 AM. Reason: unsure
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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