Explain which philosophical tenet is a better one: "I don't really think; I just walk." - Paris Hilton "The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates  

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You will get many different approaches to this answer.  This will be moved into the "Discussions" section real soon.  It's a vibrant topic.  I would suggest two points on this.  The first would be that the criteria in which one makes their selection could be as important as the decision itself.  The idea of whether or not the unexamined life is worth living has to be rooted in some type of criteria for decision making.  Once this decision is made and its reasons are made clear, I believe that a more interesting discussion can take place.  I think it's more than "Socrates" or "Paris Hilton."  I think that there needs to be some distillation as to why individuals have selected these positions.  Perhaps, in this, I have tipped my hand, but in exploring why individuals believe what they believe, there is a greater discussion that reflects preference and might be more important than the preference itself.

On another level, I think that each philosophical tenet challenges the other.  I also think that in the modern setting, both can exist.  There does not have to be an arbitrary choice forced between both schools of thought.  Yet, I would suggest that if one of them seeks to dominate at the cost of the other, regardless of choice, this has to be prevented.  If one believes in the Socratic notion of examination or if one embraces the Hilton lack of it, either approach is present in the modern setting.  Both exist.  The real terror would be if one of these would seek to dominate over the other, removing an element of choice.  A world where there is only the Socratic examination or a world where there is only the Hilton lack of it would be a world not worth living.  In this, both modes of thought have their attributes and lose them when one seeks to dominate the other.

jennbeening | Student

The answer to this question is completely dependent on the person you are asking. If we examine the context in which Miss Hilton and Socrates lived and thrived, their success and theories towards life and its many elements cannot be compared.

Miss Hilton was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and her lack of interest in conceptualizing what she has in front of her is warranted, if not encouraged, by society and the media. She fails to consider life and its inherent beauty because her focus rests largely in a materialized social world.

On the other hand, Socrates lived during a time when excessive rulers squandered social justice and morality. Virtually no materialization of goods were practiced by people in ancient times, thus attention was drawn to larger, more sophisticated theories. These theories argued by Socrates may be difficult to interpret and fully understand, but such complex subject matter makes for an interesting analysis of life itself.

Personally, I believe there is an immense waste of creative human nature and intelligence within those who fail to question, examine, observe and discover all life has to offer.