Plato and the Unexamined Life

by Fr. E.S.Q.S.


Almost every intellectual type these days has heard the saying, espoused by Socrates in Plato’s Apology, that, “the unexamined life is not worth living”; however, as far as I can tell, very few of them have understood it. How could they, when they do not know of Esoterics - of Pythagorean Hylozoics, specifically - which was informing the statement? Of course, that has done nothing to stop the intellectual types from speculating on the matter. What follows, therefore, is an examination of this statement from an esoteric point-of-view, from a point-of-view informed by Esoterics and, especially, Pythagorean Hylozoics a la HTL and LA.

The Unexamined Life

The first thing one ought to consider is just what Plato meant in saying, “the unexamined life”. Many of the intellectual types had thought that it had meant an unthinking life, a life without questioning (as Socrates was known to do) – and they are not far from the mark in this; however, it goes further than that. What Plato had meant in saying, “the unexamined life” was indicating a life in which man had not asked the right questions, a life in which man was – essentially – fast asleep and drifting on the currents of life from cradle to grave, without even a moments care as to the reasons why. Yes – it was indicating an unthinking life, a life without questioning (as Socrates was known to do) – but it wasn’t about just any old thinking, asking any old questions; rather, there was a qualitative meaning to it, as well. That is something the intellectual types just don’t understand.

“The examined life”, therefore, was a life in which man (who had woke up, in a sense) was finally asking the big and meaningful questions in life: who am I; what am I; where am I; where did I come from; and where am I going? What is reality? What is the meaning and purpose of life? After all, how can a man proceed to live – rationally – if he does not know these very things? Where the majority of people are concerned (roughly 80-85% of people), they hardly care. If they ever ask the question, they are very quickly and easily satisfied with the answers espoused by public opinion: by the authorities in science, theology, and/or philosophy. They are like sleeping peoples who had woke up, momentarily, looked about and then fell back asleep: the dream was more real to them than living.

Not Worth Living

Just as much as the intellectual types could not understand “the unexamined life”, they could not understand “not worth living”. All sorts of wonderful speculations – and some of them highly imaginative, actually - are presented in place of true understanding. In any case, it is pretty much hopeless: how can they understand what Plato meant in saying, “not worth living” when it had indicated that such an unthinking life was – essentially – a wasted life (in terms of conscious growth and development)? Plato wasn’t saying that such people didn’t deserve to live, that they should go off and kill themselves – or any other such nonsense; rather, he was saying that their lives were – essentially – pointless by virtue of the fact that they never even bothered to think about life: it’s meaning and purpose. The majority just do as they are told by their “experts”. They listen to the voice of historicism that declares, “This is the way that it has always been done” and/or, “This (game) is the meaning and purpose of life”. To a truly thinking man, the voice of historicism is a joker: as if the meaning and purpose of life was determined by what just so many others had done (and quite mindlessly, too), and not something real and objective.

Altogether Now

With that all said and done, it is time to put the whole of it together: “the unexamined life is not worth living”. This clearly indicates, to those of us versed in Esoterics – and especially Pythagorean Hylozoics a la HTL and LA – that an unthinking and unquestioning life; a life without reflection on life, itself – it’s meaning and purpose - is not worth very much in the gamut of lives we must live. We will not get very far without thinking, without reflection. We will not get very far without concentration and meditation. Where the majority is concerned (roughly 80-85% of peoples), they live – and, yet, they do not live; they are living fast asleep. They move, together, in perfect lock-step, towards whatever public opinion has declared to be important in life. One day, they will shake off their slumber and start questioning it all. Then, and only then, will they finally be ready for reality.

Thanks for your time,


Fr. E.S.Q.S.

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Jan 24, 2021
by: Sam

I can appreciate your perspective on "The unexamined life isn't worth living".

I would add that perhaps one can consider looking at this saying on a continuum using Laurency's 5 stages of development.

How someone examines life at the stage of barbarism, will eventually lead him to the civilizational stage, and the reflections at the civilizational stage will lead to the cultural stage, which at this point in development one may utilize the saying as intended by Socrates/Plato.

Mar 28, 2017
Sorry Fr. E.S.Q.S.!
by: JR @ Esoteric Law

Yikes we GOOFED! This article should have been published two weeks ago. We apologize to Fr. E.S.Q.S. He is one of our most valued contributors and this article is another one of his fine contributions.

JR @ esoteric Law

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