According to Plato, while on trial for impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens, Socrates uttered the phrase, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He believed in the truth of this statement with such an unshakable devotion that he was sentenced to death for it.
Socrates philosophized that human beings should question everything by questioning those who were thought to be wise, for they were, and still are, the ones holding the power. They dictate how we think, how we feel, how we behave. To question them is to propel ourselves further down the path towards truth.
But to live without questioning is to live without growing. And to live without growing isn’t really living at all.
Now consider that the “wise” person you need to begin questioning is you.
The most important truth we can find is our own. It is that truth that we have to live with every moment from the second we are conscious to the second we die. It is the one that shapes our perspective and commands our actions towards others and towards ourselves. It births our every thought. It is who we are.
The problem is that a lot of us want to avoid our truth.
Self awareness is scary. It means accepting the fact that we aren’t perfect. A lot of the time it means accepting that there are parts of us that are actually pretty fucked up. But working on something like that sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? So instead we reach for the our smartphones, binge on Netflix, put in headphones or (my favorite) drink too much so that we never have to be alone with our thoughts. Because if we don’t reflect honestly, we can’t know ourselves honestly. And we can’t be held accountable for something we have no knowledge of.
It gives us the room to make excuses and place blame. We can be oh so puzzled about why the world is out to get us. Why things never change. We don’t have to acknowledge that most of our problems can be solved starting with us.
But by examining your truth, you dictate how you think and how you feel and how you behave. You take back the power to give yourself a life quite worth living.