Which I am I?
What “The examined life” is about:
Hand in hand with the disease of apathy, which we considered in The Waiting Place, comes a growing lack of self-awareness in our society. A great misfortune today is that so many people let life just happen to them as they take the path of least resistance. They merely react to circumstances as they encounter them. And they interact with whatever media happens to be in front of their face at the moment.
But they rarely look in the mirror, rarely take quiet time in their lives to look inward. And the result is that they will never follow their dreams—much less imagine them—because they’ve never looked at themselves beyond the surface level features that they can post (or alter) on social media.
A great philosopher once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I agree with that harsh sentiment. Without self-examination you are just shuffling your way through this world like an unnoticed ghost, a ghost with no purpose or value to anyone, not even yourself. How can anyone else see purpose and value in you if you haven’t examined your own life and created that purpose and value?
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance, 1841)
“If I only knew who I am. Which I am I?” ~ Yevgeny Zamyatin, We