The Unexamined Life
Isn’t it funny how many things are a part of you, defining who you are and serving as the motivation for your decisions and your perspectives? You possess attitudes and ways of thinking and ways of seeing the world that have been taught to you. You have learned and you have applied that learning to your life.
All of it, learning and applying, has resulted in the creation of who you are right here, right now. And yet, and here’s where all of this becomes funny, you don’t actually know who taught you what forms the foundation of you. You don’t even remember when this mystery someone or someones taught you what forms the foundation of you. All you know is who you are right here, right now. And that who you are right here, right now is the result of a lifetime of learning and growing.
Nothing to see here, other than the realization that who you are, right here, right now, is the culmination of the lessons you have learned and the perspectives you have adopted. All under the tutelage of life and the people in your life. This isn’t Ha-Ha funny. This is shake your head, wipe your eyes and be astounded funny. Astounded at who you are and your total lack of an understanding of how you became who you are.
Now don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a criticism. This is merely a confession, an admittance of reality. A reality for your life, my life and everyone’s life. Yes, you may be able to trace a perspective that you hold back to a specific person, at a specific time. But for the majority of us, when pressed, we will simply admit that the source of who we are and what we believe is a mystery. Not a mystery in that we can never figure it out. But a mystery in the sense that we have never taken the time to figure it out. We have been too busy simply being.
Why is this the case? Why do so many of us simply go through life with our perspectives unquestioned? Why don’t we care more about knowing why we believe what we believe or who taught us to believe what we believe? For, as Socrates said, oh so many centuries ago: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Well, do you believe it?
The pondering of this question in no way is a condemnation of any perspective or belief. It’s simply an invitation to know yourself better. To dig deeper into the archeological site that is you.
Why do you believe what you believe? Why do see the world the way you see the world? Why do you approach a faith in Jesus in the way that you approach it? Or why do avoid approaching a faith in Jesus altogether? Why do you believe what you believe about other people? Why do you believe what you believe about our world? Why do you believe what you believe about work, money, free time, politics, cleanliness, intimacy, family, athletes, superstitions, your worth, history and the like?
For you have learned all of these perspectives. Life, other people, the media, the church, God and even a little bit of yourself sprinkled in, have contributed to who you are right here, right now. All of the perspectives you have, the opinions you hold, the prejudices you harbor and the acceptance that you give are all either cherished by you or you don’t think about them at all. There’s no in-between.
If you don’t think about them simply because you have never thought about them, then you have your assignment. As you live your day-in and day-out life, take note of your perspectives, your likes and your dislikes. Take note of what you believe. And, one by one, ask yourself why you have that perspective or why you have that like or dislike of something or someone. In other words, get real.
If you don’t think about them at all, then it’s probably a good guess that you aren’t even reading these words. But, on the slim chance that you have stuck with this blog thus far, turn the page today and try something new. Start to define your perspectives. Put into words not only what you do, day-in and day-out; put into words why you do what you do, day-in and day-out. Start to pay attention to not only what you are doing, but also start to examine why you are doing what you are doing.