In this day of social media, this time framed within an unrelenting need for likes, success and acceptance, I think that most would be hard-pressed to find people who actually live what they truly believe in at any cost.
As Socrates put it: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Carl Jung, perhaps less brutal, wrote: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Jung then went on to say:
“The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self. You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself. Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation.”
I have spent almost my entire life alone with the exception of a few years married to a woman far more special than my once young heart allowed me to see. True loneliness however is not an end product of being alone. As Jung put it:
“Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important.”
I believe that the most important thing that anyone can do in one’s lifetime is to meticulously search their soul for understanding, identify the why’s of their actions, understand their fears, act on solving what they are capable of and accept and be at peace with their limitations. Clearly, the direction of a boat is better understood if one has at least some knowledge of the winds, currents, terrain and of course the boat itself.
Out of all the knowledge available for acquisition, self-knowledge is by far the most important. Without it, we cannot be authentic.