Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Overly Examined Life

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." He said this during the 4th century BCE, though, when people were mostly examining how take care of the first two levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. My guess is that when you are looking for food, shelter, and safety, you're not all that concerned with philosophical thought. But it's only through questioning and reflection that we understand our world, right? So, once you've had your gruel, think a little bit about the hows and whys of your day.

Okay, fine. Maybe in the three minutes that aren't spent working for survival, ponder life.

Got it.

I contend, though, that we're veering into a new age of overly recording and examining our day-to-day, which also renders life not worth living. I mean, if you're spending all of your time recording the quotidian, then you aren't really thinking about it, right? A list doesn't result in a manifesto. Well, unless you're Rob Fleming.

Anyway, I blame Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites that I'm too tired to look them up. These things have a function that allow us to update our connections ('cause, let's face it, not all of them are friends). And most of my connections are posting revelatory things like, "X is making turkey burgers for dinner." Or, "Y needs to eat." And, "Z is working out."

Just because the function is there, you do not need to use it. I use it too much, I know. It's there, taunting me. And then the status updates get out of date, and I think, "No, wait, I no longer feel that way." And then there's pressure to change it to something new, but then I realize that I HAVE NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY, and it becomes this avalanche of need to collect some new experience and be able to say:

MCV is going out to lunch today.

Aargh. Not interesting. Not reflective. Not anything.

Anyway, I'm wondering when we'll hit the wall and realize that recording our daily meals or activities does not really add value to our lives. Is that harsh? I mean, my Facebook page does not reveal anything about me that my Outlook calendar would not, and that's a bit sad. I think that's why I maintain this blog. But I keep them separate, 'cause I guess I don't want all the folks that I'm, ahem, friends with on Facebook to have access to the old inner sanctum. That's just for you fine people, most of whom I wouldn't know if you poked me in the eye.*

*I don't know why you'd poke me in the eye by way of introduction. Jerk.

No comments: