Socrates said that "A life unexamined is a life not worth living." And while Socrates was undoubtedly a smart guy, he doesn't give a whole lot of guidance on how much examining we should be doing. Does this mean I should be examining your life? Or mine? How closely? Is a financial statement enough? Or do I need the full Monty, complete with sleazy investigator pics of your vibrator collection. See what I did there? Cleverly employing some Socratic irony... and vibrators.
I'm thinking he was talking more about self examination... and not the monthly kind for lumps. But the internal wrangling with who we are... and what we are... and why we are.
For most writers... the written word is a formalized wrangling. Regardless of the topic, it is impossible not to inject some of your own soul searching between the lines. Writers of history are not, as a general rule, a happy lot. Oh, I'm sure that there have been some painfully happy writers. Just not very successful ones. The process of laying oneself bare in the form of the characters that we create can be very taxing. Blogs are no exception and in fact they can be even more so... since the character generally has little in the way of fiction. Comedy or tragedy. They really are two faces of the same internal dialogue.
I've been writing less of late. Both here and elsewhere. I suppose it is a natural flow where we are driven to write and then just as quickly emptied out. Writers are typically "a little bit bipolar" as my mother terms it. She should know. She's been treating them for years. Driving around my home town with her is like a mobile PDR of diagnoses. "Oh, there's Bob! He's a little bipolar." I think we all have a bit of the manic depressive cycle within us. We are more prolific at times than others. But at the heart of the matter is our own soul searching. Is a life unexamined really not worth living? Do we really need to dig into the knotty problems of our jobs, and our loves, and our mistakes, and our mid-life crises on a daily basis to be "worth living?" Or can we just check in from time to time to see if we have any new lumps.
There are more days than not when I don't really feel like writing. Does this mean that I am not feeling as deeply as I do on days when I do write? Am I more in touch with me when others can read and connect? Or am I just repeating the same words time and again?
None of these questions really have answers. Your answers will be different than mine... and my answers today will be different than they will be tomorrow. And this lack of clarity is the thing that has kept real philosophers and amateur ones tied in knots for eons. But I wonder if Socrates is a little off some days... and if there were days where he just laid in bed and watched the tube and didn't really do any thinking at all.
Personally, I've begun to prefer the philosophy of the Indigo Girls: The less I seek my source for some definitive, The closer I am to fine.
Off to watch some mindless television.
On Becoming My Grandmother
2 weeks ago