The Daily Stoic for December 17th, “Know Thyself—Before It’s Too Late”.
“Death lies heavy upon one—SENECA, THYESTES, 400
who, known exceedingly well by all,
dies unknown to himself.”
Don’t wait. Know yourself. Before it’s impossibly late. Do we know ourselves as well as we think we do?
Know Thyself—Before It’s Too Late
When I lived with my family, they coined the phrase “Enough! Time for a change!” to refer to my “life crises”. I had one of those every few years -3-6 years- and they used it to mock me. I used to have these moments when I just needed a change. Most of these changes were triggered by a process of self-discovery in which I would find out something about me I didn’t like, or something that I have been ignoring for so long…
One of them made me become a vegetarian and explore Asian philosophies -such as Buddhism- and another took me back to my atheist, carnivore existence. One of them made me discover colors and another took me to a minimalist black sobriety… Another made me quit my job, and one of the last ones made me start traveling the world.
So my two main thoughts for today’s stoic meditation are:
First, you are always changing, so these self-discovery processes are necessary. They trigger changes, wake you up and shake you from a period of stillness and stagnation.
Second, you never finish “knowing yourself”. You are always changing, and are a different person year after year. So it does not make much sense, in my humble opinion, to ask someone to “know thyself”. This is not something you can do on a Saturday night thinking about it for some hours. It’s something that you do day after day. Month after month. Year after year.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Know Thyself—Before It’s Too Late”, discusses the need of knowing ourselves. I personally think we change so often that this is not something we “can do”, but a never-ending self-awareness process.