SEP: Examination

Venti LatteIt is the last weekend before the world falls into the winter (in the northern hemisphere) celebration. Once it is complete next weekend, we enter a period of deep reflection for most at the close of the year. Grab a cuppa and snuggle into a rocker. It is crisp, but not too cold. Let’s talk.

If you claim to have not engaged elenchus¹ outside of The M3 Blog, I would venture it is merely a matter of having not named it properly. A long list of elenchi exist on this blog, many with Clyde driving the show. Others, well, just for the purpose of opening our eyes…

To Thine Own Self…

The Thought Does Not Count


Who or What You Know

What you say or how you say it…

Let’s embark on a new one which comes directly from Socrates.

unexamined life

Considering this was one of the last quotes attributed to Socrates which he stated it at his trial which ended in his death, one would believe it had quite a bit of import and veracity. In fact, for our traditions, the adage has both.


The opposite adage to this one is: Ignorance is bliss.

Each of us has met someone who came into our life blissfully enough to make us wonder how they were not killed playing in traffic. Despite having never once questioned anything in life, the blissfully ignorant believe their lives are filled to brimming with substance, memoir-worthy events and fulfillment beyond their wildest dreams.

It is true. (pauses for effect) In their lack of experience and of curiosity of what may lie beyond their current circles, their wildest dreams are the demure images others dismiss as too mundane to be interesting. With nothing more substantial to compare, their blissful achievements are the highest pinnacle they have ever known.

The question presents: Are their unexamined lives worth living?


In Socrates’ estimation, their lives are shallow and unworthy. From his perspective, the lack of ambition necessary to produce people who are content with however mediocre a result they can muster makes life unbearable.

trophyWe see examples of the celebration of mediocrity everywhere. American society has mastered the “feel good” award which presents a prize to all participants. This aberration of It is not whether you win or lose; it is how you play the game that matters. celebrates mediocrity. Rather than create an atmosphere where the best in a field are noted for their superiority, we choose to treat everyone equally.

The psychological claim states budding psyches need encouragement and being labeled as a loser could lead to negative mental conditions in adulthood. Why we do it does not make it any more palatable. What are we doing to the winners by showing them talent and perseverance is not more admirable than presence?


From the blissful perspective, the adage is wrong, and our discussion seems like a classic elenchus. Things are not always as they appear.

The Open Road

The Open Road

When we know there are gradations of success and we fail to examine how our achievements measure up against the highest possible result, we are not living the best life, the one worth living. When we choose to accept whatever comes our way as the best life has to offer, we miss out on many experiences which can enrich our lives.

We are not mired in place and subject only to what circumstances and others are willing to put before us. We have the ability, and arguably the responsibility, to seek out those things which make us happier, healthier and more fulfilled.

End of the Year

Many of us the world over spend time reflecting on the events of each year as the New Year approaches. We look at what we have accomplished or not accomplished, and the examination helps us refine our actions for the new year to make life more worth living.

Perhaps, Socrates got it right when he decided death was better than exile which left him no opportunity to better himself.

Just a little more food for thought,

Red Signature

Do you examine your life to make it more worth living? Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Hashtags: #adages #Socrates #life

¹ Merriam-Webster forgoes the accepted addition of “the Socratic method of” before its definition.

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  1. Red,

    Yet another good’un….

    To answer the 2 queries. without the usual lengthy rant to go along with, I’ll say this…

    Yes, every damn day. In one of my favorite BBC movies, Lord Peter said it best, “But, then, I’m never satisfied….” with a modest, self-deprecatory smile…. Or, as I myself said, in axiom #4, “Excellence is its own reward.”

    As for New Year resolutions, what’s the point? Which calendar do we have to go by. The universe doesn’t care what day it is; why should I? Besides, if one examines their life daily, resolutions to change are obligatory outcomes to such self-questioning…. I make resolutions all the time, too.

    I won’t comment on how often I toss them out, or am successful in completing them. That, as with any human, is a rather hit-and-miss occupation. I CAN say I’m doing better at it, the older I get….. Must be the shoes….


    gigoid, the dubious


    • I also have the all-year resolutions which result from reflection. I have a different take on your axiom #4: Incompetence is its own reward. *giggles*

  2. Good eye!

    *hearty chuckles*

    It almost got written from that direction; I decided to go with the magnetic polar opposite, which happened to be the positive post on the battery…

    gigoid, the dubious recently posted..Past, last fasts are finest kind….My Profile

  3. It seems people and society are becoming ever more shallow. Everything is a reality series nowadays, no matter how ridiculous.
    Binky recently posted..A Wombie Christmas 2015My Profile

    • I could never get on the board with the reality series fad. It just all seemed so ridiculous. As twisted as it sounds, the sit-coms of the 50s-70s were far more realistic than what passes for television these days. What frightens me is today people strive to have the kinds of lives which would produce today’s television.

  4. I am doing so now, I don’t think it is because of any specific season but more because it must be done. It has been a year of learning curves. Now it is time to resolve to stop the train, get on a new car and ride in a better direction.

    I don’t make New Year resolutions, but perhaps this year I will. This year I might have to simply to push myself harder. We shall see.

    • Excellent train image. I think many of us need to at least change cars, if not trains altogether. Bon chance, ma soeur xxx

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