Socrates famously said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
He was not one to mince words. Born in the fifth century, BC, he already lived in a time when people hustled through the day, too busy with the demands of life to ever take a break and think over what it’s all about. This philosopher would stop strangers on the street in Athens and urge them to examine their lives. What were they chasing? And why?
Socrates believed in a simple scale of value. At the low end of the scale are our possessions. One step higher, are our bodies. And higher yet are our souls.
He was convinced that the least important things are the things that we tend to think about and talk about the most, and that the most important things are those that we tend to think about and talk about the least. If we examined our lives more carefully, he was confident that we’d be able ro rectify this common and profound mistake.
When we buy something, or invest in something, we typically ask whether it's worth the price we confront. And we often make negative judgments. "That car is not worth what they're asking." The famous statement made by Socrates can be understood in the same way.
The unexamined and confused life, the life on automatic pilot, on cruise control, following the crowd mindlessly, is, according to his claim, not worth the massive investment that goes into it - the entire process of living. It's not worth all the time and energy that go into living it.
Living an unexamined life is just making a bad investment. So, heed Socrates’ advice today, and examine your priorities. Are your commitments in line with a proper scale of values? Are you living the sort of life that is well worth living? In this examination, you can pass or fail yourself. It’s finally up to you.