Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thank you, Socrates

If there's anything I have learned very recently, it's that nothing makes you feel more naive and unwise than your 20th birthday. The world expects you to be an adult, and you're stuck in a teenage mindset. You're kind of like, what do you mean I'm an adult? If I can't buy beer, than surely, I am not an adult. Adulthood can wait until I have a bottle of wine to deal with it all. 

Even more recently too, I have had a philosophy class. Now, I haven't gotten the chance yet to be very wise, since the professor has cancelled class more than half of the time. This guy even went to the trouble of emailing us all to tell us there was no class Friday, and I'm all like, I know. You know how I know? Because on my schedule, it says that I have this class on Monday and Wednesday... So yeah. However, today was the first day we've had class in about two weeks, and for once, has been a class that I really took a lot more out of than I should. We read "Apology" by Plato, which was the speech that Socrates allegedly gave in his defense at his trial.

Now, if there's a better person to listen to at this point in my life, it's Socrates. This guy is all about the wisdom. This guy is also about the whole soul searching concept, which is a pretty good thing to be worried about at this point in my life. I'm 20 now, so naturally, all of a sudden, I find myself asking myself what I want out of life. What do I want to do? Who do I want to surround myself with? What are the morals that I hold dear and true? What do I think is right and wrong? When the hell am I going to get this show on the road and go out and do shit? As you can see, it's quite a trying time. Even more trying is to surround myself with people who have all of that figured out. Then I realise that I'm just being jealous and impatient with life, and that my time for everything will come. 

Now, if there's one thing I've always known, it's that I know absolutely nothing. Sometimes, honestly, I get in these mindsets where I really feel as though I'm figuring everything out, and everything's coming easily to me, then life knocks me on my butt. Maybe that's why that happens though. Maybe we need to be reminded that we know nothing sometimes. Maybe I need to be reminded that I still have a long way to go, so that I get up and keep going. One of Socrates' points he brings up at his trial is to say that without him being the "annoying fly that he is," that the state would just waste away. There would be no incentive for the state to get together and advance, because when you become comfortable in your state of being, you almost waste away. 

It's like people who take the elevator to go to the second floor. Yeah, you've made your life a little bit easier, but how does taking the easy way out make you a better person? I talk to people who have had to overcome adversities in their lives, and I see how much stronger it has made them. I have been very fortunate to not have suffered many adversities, but when life does get us down, we cannot let it get the best of us, because these moments are here to make us stronger and better people. 

It's just as applicable to my life in other ways too. My goal in life is to be happy and at the end of my life, know that I led a happy, fulfilling life. We do only live once. There is no escaping the reality that we will die. All we can do is take as much out of life as we can, not let our fears of what could happen hold us back, and basically be an open book, taking notes as we go along and gain experiences. 

I guess the best thing that Socrates has told me today, is that it's foolish to fear the unknown. He mentions at his trial that there is no point in worrying about death because he doesn't know anything about it. According to my philosophy professor, "it's like saying that a restaurant is bad before you even go there." This is a useful statement in all aspects of life too. Why should I fear the future? It hasn't happened yet. My future could be really fucking awesome. I mean, yeah, it could be really bad too, but honestly, if I don't know, then why should I decide to only dwell on the bad? Maybe I should be excited, since there is a chance that everything will be just fine and dandy. That would be a much more productive use of my time, right? As long as I just keep on going, and continue to strive toward being a better person, sticking to my guns when necessary and not letting things get me done, then my life will work out just fine. And I mean that. 

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