Last year was a time of hardship and difficulty. We encountered new challenges and trials that made us question ourselves in the face of fear and anxiety. These fears can be catalysts for change. Let us look at an example from our youth.
When we were young, we believed things that were not true. An example would be the fear of the dark. Within the darkness lurked monsters of our imagination that wanted to do us harm. It was preferable to hide under the covers than to walk towards the darkness and confront our fears.
As we grew up and gained knowledge about how the world operates, and the laws that govern society and our reality, we began to recognize that this fear of the darkness is irrational. We learned that darkness is simply the absence of light.
We may feel that there is darkness looming over the horizon when we look at the world, but it doesn’t invoke the fear of darkness in our youth. This is a fear of the unknown, the darkness of the future.
We observe that the world is chaotic, irrational, and moving at a pace that can make it difficult to catch your breath, and reflect on how you are living your life. People went from traveling where they wanted and spending time with anyone they chose, to working from home and quarantining themselves. Quarantine forced people to introspect.
To be afraid is normal, yet there are some who seem to have overcome this fear; they are the heroes and heroines amongst us. They fear the darkness and the unknown, but use it as an opportunity to put light into their thoughts, actions, and words. Through their example, we learn that to have fear is natural. Being afraid gives us the opportunity to be brave and courageous.
We recognize that it is better to be temperate, calm, and focused rather than rash, irrational, and expedient. Heroes show us what it means to do good for all, and not for just some or no one at all. This is true Justice. Let us look at Socrates….
We do not know if Socrates was afraid when he decided to take his life. We can only reflect on what we might have done in that situation. History showed us that he took action despite what feelings or fears he may have had. Even though he is no longer living, the light that imbued his words and actions, which inspired generations of philosophers including Plato, still shines as brightly as it did thousands of years ago.
As human beings we have limited time and energy. As adults, we recognize it is a waste of time and energy to be afraid of a dark room. We have outgrown such fears. Today, we must recognize that we must neither fear the darkness, nor the uncertainty of the future. No matter what happens, we can choose to be the beacon of light. We are the heroes of our journey.
We are the heroes that will illuminate the path of humanity and carry the light that will illuminate the hearts and minds of future generations. These generations will continue to struggle against darkness even when we are no longer alive. This is the chain that we see from Socrates to Plato to Aristotle. The transmission of wisdom from person to person.
We have this potential of illumination within us. Let us embrace the darkness and the unknown. How can we sharpen the sword, without the hardness of stone? How else can we shine the brightest unless we are in trying, difficult times?
This is a great time to be a philosopher. There is much to learn in times we live, and wisdom to gain, particularly by spending time with other philosophers on the path of self-discovery. This could be at the park discussing philosophy, or visiting local historical sites with one another.
When we are united with our brothers and sisters, we are the strongest because all of our collective light can overcome the darkness.
Image Credits: By Eyasa Etsub | Unsplash | CC0