This extreme concept has reason for examination, even today…
“I’m sure you’ve read this quote before: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates said that at his trial for heresy. He was on trial for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and think for themselves. The sentence was death but Socrates had the option of suggesting an alternative punishment. He could have chosen life in prison or exile, and would likely have avoided death. But Socrates believed that these alternatives would rob him of the only thing that made life useful: Examining the world around him and discussing how to make the world a better place. Without his “examined life” there was no point in living. So he suggested that Athens reward him for his service to society. The result, of course, is that they had no alternative and were forced to vote for a punishment of death.”
Quote from an article by Karl W. Palachuk
But what does this say about YOUR life?… Do you plod through your existence with your eyes focused only on your work or present task, or do you focus on a larger perspective of examining your place in a large frame of reference? Do you question what you hear on the TV or on the internet or in the newspapers or even from your teachers or ministers? Do you spend time and energy adjusting your life’s direction to create better opportunities to serve? Do you challenge yourself to learn new things, no matter what your age or circumstance? Do you risk the fear and anxiety of discovering the deeper secrets of your own existence? Would you confront a found flaw or weakness within yourself to help to make a better YOU? Do you ask for feedback from counselors who do not let you take the easy path through life? Finally, do you place yourself in new experiences to test yourself so that you can “stretch” and to grow emotionally and intellectually?
Many people just give up. They think that they already know everything that they need to know about themselves and their world. They are lazy. They are too scared to risk change. They may be too frightened to challenge themselves and their beliefs with new perspectives. They risk being bad role models for the next generation by not living on the edge and continuing to self-examine and to grow. It is safer and easy to live with old ways of thinking and long held values, but the world, and consciousness, is changing too fast to tolerate, and reward, this anachronistic way of being/thinking. In fact, if you are not thinking FOR YOURSELF someone else’s thought will guide your life and these may not be a good fit for your lifestyle. It takes courage to find, and develop, your own path. It takes courage to stand out and to speak out for your own personal truth. But it is worth it!
Finally, what is the path toward true wisdom? Does wisdom come from self-awareness and the deepest levels of personal knowledge? Some people believe that the purest form of wisdom and knowledge can only be approached by the most self-aware people or those basking in the unconditional love and acceptance that we experience after we move beyond our physical constraints of life… What do you believe?
Keep moving forward or risk dying (at least emotionally)… Challenge yourself! Never fall into the trap of thinking that you are too old to learn or too old to change.
I would love your thoughts and your feedback. Please contact me through our website at the Stress Education Center at www.dstress.com.