What is The Path to Happiness?
During his trial, Socrates said that he would rather not live than be denied the right and the freedom to live a virtuous life. Therefore, it is clear that to Socrates, an examined life was of great value. On the other hand, he was a strong believer that an unexamined life was evil and pointless, as he would rather die, if the right to living an examined life was taken away from him and how it would be impossible to be happy without it. According to Socrates, in the Apology, an examined life is one who lives supporting/practicing, beliefs, and words that are put into actions that are considered morally right and acceptable by the society. However, for a particular group of people, they would consider an unexamined life as the best life that they could ever have. One where no rules or morals would be involved. Therefore, for this group of people, they would be considered to be living a happy life, in Thrasymachus perspective. However, Socrates believed that a life full of moral was a happy life, where one would get to choose between several options of actions where the selected one would amount to absolute happiness. Because of this, I stand with Socrates, that the way to happiness is a life lived by constant self-examination through philosophical teachings which is shown by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Outcomes of a few examples such as academic dishonesty, personal experiences of moral wrongdoings and issues of climate change, the idea that the key of happiness is an examined life, is more consistent. The general form of misconduct in academics is cheating. For example, a student that has been given an assignment that would take too much of their free time. The assignment is hard because of all the work they have to put in, and the strictness of the grading rubric. The student might decide to cheat because of pressure from other students to participate in fun activities that support dishonesty in academics. Therefore, the student decides to cheat by using the internet to find the exact information he is looking for. When the student submits the paper, they are called by the professor for a meeting and they go in happy, thinking that they did very well, only to get a rude awakening that they’re going to repeat the course, because of their big failure to follow academic rules. They then find out the professor found a high percentage of plagiarized content. The student made decisions without examining them beforehand, which resulted into an outcome that causes absolute unhappiness for him, making the examined life way of life, the key to happiness. I also happened to go through an experience that taught me the value of living an examined life. I used to be friends with both my friend and her boyfriend. One day I saw him with a girl that wasn’t my friend. At first, of course, I thought nothing of it until I saw them getting too touchy. From then on, I started to battle with the decision of whether to tell my friend or not. Since I was going to meet up with her later that day, I had to make a fast decision which was covering the awful truth which when examined it would have been immoral. Later after that day, she found out that her boyfriend was unfaithful and that I didn’t tell her. To this day, we do not talk as much, and a once beautiful friendship was sabotaged on both parties. Just like the prisoners in the cave in the Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, I was wrong when I decided to hide the information which was a result of my ignorance of the philosophy that shows a life of constant examination of life situations. An example of a moral situation that a company manager faces, which ends up causing harm to a mass of people. In this case, the company opens up an area where farming is very popular. When the factory starts operating, an employee identifies the waste being released as harmful for the farms in the community. The employee informs the manager who then doesn’t take action into filtering these toxic chemicals because of the tight budget he has to manage. Later, the farmers’ plants start dying and after a government evaluation, of the situation the company is found at fault. Afterward, the company branch is closed. At the end of it all, the aftermath is a painful one since every party involved ends up getting hurt. Just like the prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the manager failed to examine the situation when told from his employee, but instead he chooses to be blinded the by the shadows of the profit he would make in the long run which was wrong in the end. The most significant opposing point against Socrates’ view of an examined life, is that the primary form of happiness is to win, which would destroy the peaceful existence of human life resulting in unhappiness. The legalization of possible actions would be possible because with the random fulfillment of every kind of human animal instinct without self-examination, there would be no limit to the deeds that any person would do, no matter how evil. With this kind of a world, there would be no civilization in which is a fact that was noticed by Al Galore, as evidenced in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture.
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