The unexamined life is not worth living
The other day, I went on a search at the local bookseller for Sara Bakewell’s wonderful life of Montaigne, his essays, and our fascination with “self” called: How to Live
Not finding it, I inquired of the customer service fellow, who loudly asked:
“Is that in the self help section?”
I winced, as many knowing glances came my way from fellow shoppers.
“Ah”, they seemed to say, “In search of your inner (peace, child, yogi….you fill in the blank).”
“I would have thought literary criticism”, I sniffed, and retreated behind a magazine rack.
No one believed me.
And why should they?
Self absorption is a national sport right after taking "all you can eat" as a personal challenge.
I started writing this being pretty critical of the idea of what seems to be our eternal love affair with introspection, but, could it be that living from the inside out is not so bad?
Could it be that if I am willing to understand me and use that piece to build a bridge to you, it could be a good thing?
There it is- use it to build a bridge- not a cell, or a wall, or an ivory tower.
Or, as Montaigne via Sarah Bakewell put it:
"This idea - that immersion in one’s inner world can be a sociable act, and that the assertion of what makes us unlike anyone else can bring out the humanity we share with everyone else ….."
Build a bridge of empathy that is safe and familiar and let others come across.