Yes, I tend to agree with what you say ,”they are leading a unexamined life”. Plato’s Apology, which is a recollection of the speech Socrates gave at his trial, quotes him saying, “ The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. (ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthropoid) “. Socrates’ claim makes a satisfying climax for the deeply principled arguments that Socrates presents on behalf of the philosophical life. There is a lot of truth to that statement.
In The Republic (Book VII) , Plato tells the story entitled “The Allegory Of The Cave.” A dark underground cave where a group of people are sitting , chained to their chairs from an early age, with their backs to the cave’s entrance and all they can see is the distant cave wall in front. Their view of reality is solely based upon this limited view of the cave which but is a poor copy of the real world. Other people in the cave - Plato refers to them as the puppet-handlers and they are the ones holding those in the cave captive. (It is important to realize that the prisoners do not realize this–in fact, the prisoners do not even realize that they are being held captive since this existence is all they have ever known.) Walking behind the prisoners, the puppet-handlers hold up various objects found in the real world. Due to a fire that is burning the mouth of the cave, the prisoners are able to see the objects and each other only as distorted, flickering shadows on the cavern wall in front of them. Unfortunately, the prisoners can not see the actual objects or the puppet-makers . They come to believe that the shadows are the real objects instead of just an illusion. Their version of reality is totally distorted. Finally, one prisoner escapes and , he sees the objects that were creating the shadows. His education excites him and he returns to the cave with hopes of enlightening his fellow prisoners, only to be rejected and shunned. The truth which he shares is seen as lies as the prisoners do not want to believe him, for what he says invalidates their world. They balk at his newly acquired education and go so far as to kill him for his beliefs.
We, as humans, are constantly missing out on ourselves and our world. We don’t often jump at the chance to go a little further, to push the buttons a little more, and to ask a couple more questions. From birth, we have been placed within a cave. Our parents choose what we eat, what television we watch, and with whom we socialize. Even when we become old enough to make decisions, their genetic and moral imprint has been imbedded within us for years. On a larger scale, society is also a cave of itself. We are dictated by the media, the government, and by religion what to think, believe, and see. While we often think the decision lies within our own hands, it in fact does not. Our religious beliefs impact our moral thinking and our actions. While the laws set forth by our government rule what we can and cannot do. The last time you stopped at a red light, you may have been late for an appointment (may even be for CFA exam!), but the government mandates that no matter your schedule, you must stop. And the media - the shows you watch, the articles you read, and the images you see are all hand-chosen to create a certain type of thinking within society. Thinking for ourselves is discouraged as it may lead to a greater understanding of what we think we know. As with the man who escaped the cave, his fellow prisoners eventually kill him because he tried to share his knowledge. He is seen as a disruptive member of the community who instead of living complacently derives joy from upsetting the balance. In fact it may not be far from truth to say -the less we know, the happier we remain. The more we know, the less happy we are and the more depressing the world seems. Most of us m** ost of the time choose the comfortable familiar course. Change is unsettling and difficult. **** New ideas are not as welcome as it should be. **** Continuing to ask the questions and explore outside our comfort zones is a constant battle throughout our lives. You are trying to fight that battle.**
Hence your conclusion , “ their misery is nothing other than the disease of being forced to live in a mind of incomplete thoughts – they have lost their sense of wonder “. It has less to do with ”goals attended” or “successful people having or not having all the markers of success”. I strongly believe one may be in the highest strata only if he/she can escape from the cave!