Don’t Settle for a life on Auto-Pilot

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Plato, Apology 38

We may have opinions and beliefs, sometimes holding them deeply, but not necessarily considering them deeply.
Do we regard this as satisfactory? What happens when they are challenged?

Socrates gave the analogy of a ship whose captain has little knowledge of navigation or the skill of sailing. He gives this description:
“The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – everyone is of the opinion that he has the right to steer, though he has not learned the art of navigation. They throng about the captain, imploring him to give them the helm. If at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard. Then having chained up the captain they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores.”
Plato, Republic Book VI:488

Socrates goes on to describe that in contrast:
“…the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons, the sky, stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to the art of navigation…”
Plato, Republic Book VI:488

This can be taken as an analogy. The true pilot represents wisdom. The mutineers represent the opinions, attitudes and beliefs which may be powerful, but which lack wisdom. Only the true pilot can guide the ship safely and well. In the same way Socrates says the only true guide for life is wisdom. He says that philosophy is the love and pursuit of wisdom, and this is why the study of philosophy is important.

What is the pilot for your life? Is it opinion? Ambition? What is it? What would it mean for wisdom to be the pilot?
There’s something to be said for living on autopilot. It requires very little effort, and it can be pleasurable. But does it lead to a fulfilling and meaningful life? Or does true meaning come from being conscious of the different parts that make up the individual and putting the right part of you at the helm of your life?

Interested in joining our courses? 
Click here for further details
0800 610 539
268 West Tamaki Road
Wai O Taiki Bay
Auckland 1072
Mt Eden location
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram