It's been some time since I wrote last my last article and ruminating about what's most important in life gave impetus to provide the following thoughts.
Perhaps it was Aristotle, or some other brilliant philosopher, who said that everything in life is political. Well, I certainly hope not. We inhabit this earth for but a mere speck of geologic time and must come to understand the value of this speck of time before it evaporates and is long gone. Have we used our time wisely, or have we squandered it for useless purposes? Socrates lamented that an unexamined life isn't worth living. Examination can be a prescription that is past due.
We sometimes get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life, i.e. what movie to watch, what shirt should I wear, etc., but these things are nothing more than the detritus of that life Socrates expounded on as 'unexamined.' Aside from the five hierarchical needs that Abraham Maslow articulated there has to be more to define our character; what constitutes a sense of morality with regard to others , our environment and to all of life in general. This is certainly a heady topic, but I find myself drawn to history, law and astronomy as a means to discover our common humanity. Other sciences can also offer explanations to our earliest roots. These would include archeology, biology and anthropology to name but a few. These pursuits can lead to a satisfying life, one that is more than just livable, but truly worthwhile.
There is a form of expression that can't be overlooked and should be a staple to a well-lived life; that of an understanding and appreciation of artistry. Notice I say 'artistry' rather than art, for there are many forms of art. My early chosen form was music, but any form will lead to creativity and expression that exemplifies a discovery of one's soul; a discovery of our present and past conditions. Consider the sculpture, the painter, the novelist and the emotional gauntlet they must pass through to convey their thoughts in their selected medium. There is nothing greater I can think of than a knowledge of creating words to paper or a brush to canvass. These meager thoughts hardly do justice to the importance of the written word.
One last thought. Several years ago, about a year before my father passed away, I remember sitting with him and he exclaiming to me that he couldn't believe how quickly time passes. His exact words were, "I can't believe it's gone by this quick." I asked him what he meant by 'it's gone' and his reply struck me like a punch to the head. "My life" he said. My father lived a long life, by any standard, but it seemed odd that, to him, it had gone so quickly. Today, older and wiser, I know exactly what he meant. I don't believe he led that 'examined' life that one should aspire to and he regretted not having done so. There were obstacles to that desire, but he felt he had not done all he could to lead a satisfying life.
It is incumbent upon all who have this small slice of geologic time to lead a life worthy of being called 'examined.' Cherish and enjoy it.