The Over Examined Life

2 thoughts on “The Over Examined Life”

  1. I strongly contend that you misunderstand what Socrates was referring to as, “The Examined Life.” He never meant to suggest that a review of your decision making was leading the examined life.

    Instead, it’s not the decisions you’ve made, but your motivation and beliefs that provoked that decision in the first place that is the examined life. Society is chock-full of unexamined beliefs like, “Everyone should want to go to college,” “Schools educate people,” and “Jobs and money are, maybe, the most important parts of a person’s life!” Once you examine and question these beliefs, you can quickly see that the decision of which major to take was a minor one at best, and one’s stress over it is pretty laughable. You only took it seriously because you were told to, because your parents, teachers, and wider society continually told you that school is important and getting the answers to how you want to live your life is important too – and you believed them without trying either opposite or transcendence beliefs on for size.

    Almost invariably the people that live the examined life wind up rejecting the larger portion of society’s nonsense. Those that buy into it almost invariably live unexamined lives. It’s this that Socrates condemned.

    1. I appreciate the thoughtful comment. Picking a restaurant is a trivial decision. However, this post is also aimed at the bigger, philosophical questions of life. It’s just easier to examine the idea through the lens of making a small decision.

      By default, I examine ideas, especially big questions around how to live life. My default response is to question societal values. Few ideas are logically consistent enough to withstand withering scrutiny. After heavily examining life and exploring several different lifestyles, my working theory is that there is no definitive answer. There are different ways to live life that all have pros and cons. None will ever be perfect, but many can lead to rewarding life. This post is my declaration of the decision to spend less time examining life and more time living it.

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