Mankind has always tried to figure out the purpose of life. This has not been an easy task and as such no conclusion has been arrived at. Socrates in his trial could not choose a life of exile as he believed it would be an unexamined and thus worthless life. He believed it would have no purpose as according to him, life was meant for one to examine the surroundings and make decisions on how to improve them (Nozick, 1989 pg 11). He thus opted for death by making the famous statement, “an unexamined life is not a life worth living.” I believe in the same, a life of exile or life imprisonment is a life without purpose. The life would bee so monotonous with a single routine and thus it lacks purpose. A meaningful life is where the individual can examine themselves to see what they have done to improve themselves and the surroundings.
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The question that begs an answer is what is an examined life then? It is a life that has a plan and a way of measuring progress. It is simply a focused and productive life. However, most people avoid this type of life mostly involuntarily. The people who look at where they have been, he present and what is in the future are much happier. All people have problems and no one has the answers to life. A good example is comparing two people, one with a map and one without. The man with the map has examined his where to go and thus will make the journey. This is the same as one with a predetermined life plan. (Navia, 2007 pg34)
As one strives to examine themselves, they become self centered as it is a personal improvement process. It brings out the issue of psychological egoism. It separates one from others and thus he lacks sensitiveness to the true and real life. His life is ideal. It becomes useless and one losses power. The allegory of the cave illustrates this very well. It shows how a man who lives away from the world lives a life of darkness. He only sees his shadow on the wall and eventually he believes it is the real thing and without knowing it is his reflection. In fact, he unknowingly accepts his beliefs without examining what is outside the cave. There are no parameters to test his life. This shows that when an individual examines his life alone, he could end up with imaginations and illusions (Rosenstand, 2009 pg 24). One has to cope with the outside world to be able to fully examine oneself. Rosentand says that one needs to examine life and be able to question their beliefs.
If one does not learn critical thinking, political debate lowers to a contest of the best slogans.
As mentioned, Psychological egoismis the belief that an individual is usually driven by self interest, even in what may look like altruism acts. It states that an individual will only help others due to the fact that they will benefit personally. This could be directly or even indirectly. This claim is very much related to other forms of egoism (Philips, 2002 pg 23). They are rational egoism, ethical egoism.
To distinguish between an examined and unexamined life, it is easier to determine the latter. They seem to be disturbed and are not morally upright. They live a life that is not as planned and depend on what they find for the day. (Reshotko 12)
In conclusion, there is need to seek the meaning of life hence a life without examination lacks purpose. Examining our lives enables us in both our personal and the spiritual growth. One is able to take charge of their lives and to be able to make informed personal decisions.
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