If you’ve never stared off into the distance, then your life is a shame.
— Counting Crows

"Know Thyself."
Socrates is reputed to have said that “the unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Now, we can’t be sure that that’s exactly what he said because he never wrote anything down. In fact, everything we have from him was related to us through Plato’s work, but I find it hard to believe that anyone would have an idea so profound and then give the credit to someone else.

But that’s not the point. The point is that Socrates was right.

Take your emotions. If you don’t understand your feelings and emotions, you’re sunk.

I mean, it’s easy to understand that you’re sad glad or mad, and it’s easy enough to know that someone or something made you feel that way, but it’s no always clear why some event made you feel that specific way.

In fact, until you can understand why you feel the way you do about anything, you’ll go through life as just another numb automaton, unable to change or control how your psyche reacts to stimuli. So many of your thoughts and emotions will be nothing more than shallow reflexes to things going on around you.

If you can’t understand your emotions, you won’t have any insight into the kind of person you actually are. And if you don’t understand yourself, you’ll never know what you want and you’ll never be happy.

2 thoughts on “The Unexamined Life

  1. C’mon, who has time for self-reflection, we have tasks to do… which is exactly the problem. The line that “we aren’t paid to think” is the problem – we get caught up in the bullshit of work and minutae of life that we don’t stop to think. And when we think, that’s where the beauty of life comes out.

    Thanks for reminding me of this CT – as things aren’t as bad as they seem, especially when we see everything, not just the bad things.


    1. You know, Mike, even getting “paid to think” poses a bit of a problem in the same way that getting paid what you love to do makes you stop loving it. Once you have to do, you don’t want to, and when you get paid to think, you end up wanted to shut off at the end of the day. And then you wonder what the repressed sense of anxiety eating away from the depths of your psyche is.

      This is why I’m so preoccupied with mindshare:

      Of course, when you don’t get paid to think, whenever you do think, you can get to thinking how you’re not satisfied or haven’t lived up to your own ideals or expectation.

      I guess life is a little tricky, that way — walking a balance between necessity and integrity.

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