Monday, April 26, 2021

Are you examining your life?

  Today, Socrates is thought of as one of the world’s great philosophers, but to the leaders of Greece, he was annoying and dangerous.

  Claiming that “the un-examined life is not worth living,” he roamed the public places of Athens asking questions that challenged assumptions and beliefs and demanded that people think about social justice and personal worthiness. In the end, he was sentenced to death for his subversive ideas. He refused an opportunity to escape since it would have violated his principles.

  “My friend,” he reportedly asked people, “are you not embarrassed by caring so much for money, fame, and reputation, and not thinking of wisdom and truth and how to make your character as good as possible?” Socrates wasn’t just trying to make people feel bad, he was encouraging them to be better.

  You see, Socrates was an optimist about human nature. He believed wickedness is the result of ignorance, and those with true knowledge will act rightly. His question about priorities is relevant today, yet it takes courage and integrity to examine our motivations and goals and to measure our attitudes and conduct in relation to our principles.

  Are you trying to make your character as good as possible?

  Are you as honest as you should be?

  Do you treat everyone with respect, even those you don’t like?

  Do accept responsibility for your choices?

  Are you fair?

  Are you doing what you can charitably, and are you doing your share as a good citizen?

  Editor's note: This article appeared in the Capital City Free Press on December 27, 2019.

  About the author: Michael Josephson is one of the nation’s most sought-after and quoted ethicists. Founder and president of the Josephson Institute and its CHARACTER COUNTS! project, he has conducted programs for more than 100,000 leaders in government, business, education, sports, law enforcement, journalism, law, and the military. Mr. Josephson is also an award-winning radio commentator.

  This article was published by the Josephson Institute.

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