This morning I woke up pondering the nature of the human mind, what it meant to have conscious existence, and how that related to what purpose we seek in this life. That’s actually not an unusual way for me to wake up– yea, that’s how I’m wired. Even though I know all of those questions are at some level unknowable, I’ve wrestled with them for years and will probably do so the rest of my life.
There is value in wrestling with those big questions. It helps me understand my life and gives me clarity and meaning. I wholly agree with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living. But if that consumes me and all my life, there’s not much time left to actually live my life. And perhaps that’s part of the reason why you don’t hear of many philosophers who led lives of joy and peace.
Here’s a word picture: I can own a car, and devote my life to learning every bolt and screw and wire, and to understand exactly how every gear and piston works, so much that I could tear the car apart into a thousand pieces and rebuild it. But although that might make me a more resourceful driver to know my car that well, if I never get in the car and actually drive anyplace, my car will do me very little good. You own a car to drive it, and to enjoy the ride.
Our lives are exactly the same. Yes, there’s value in learning “how to drive,” in seeking to understand how life works and how to navigate it. But most days we just need to get in and drive.
So today, I encourage you to just get in and drive. Live your life. Enjoy the ride.