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… the unexamined life …

March 30th, 2007 by dk

Socrates famously stated, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Presumably he then proceeded to examine his life. And Plato examined his examining of his life. And students and scholars have endlessly since examined Plato’s examination of Socrates’ examined life.

Socrates ended his life with suicidal hemlock. What does that say about the *examined* life? That too much of a good thing can be bad?

A friend told me once that she sees understanding life as the consolation prize, akin to the “play-at-home game” that was always given to the losers on TV game shows. If understanding life keeps you from living it, what exactly is being understood? It’s less than life itself. So, does that make it not worth living — or not worth understanding?

We’ve legalized assisted suicide in this state, so I must be careful. (For the record, I voted against it both times.) My point is that life sometimes produces an abandon that outstrips understanding. I hope that life will always catch up eventually, but I’m less than certain because certainty is part of what’s being left behind. And control. And comfort. And predictability.

Recursion is in play on both ends here, but that’s a different rabbit down a different hole to chase another day.

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