07 March 2010

The Unlived Life?

Was it Tristram Shandy who discovered that that recording his life in a diary took more time than doing the stuff he recorded? I am not sure, but it feels right. A week passed without a post because the stuff of life crowded out the time to reflect on it.

Overall, this is better than the opposite, having more time to reflect than stuff to reflect upon. As some wag years ago observed, "If the unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates) then the unlived life is not worth examining."

Maybe Aristotle was right about moderation, by which he meant a balance of elements. (Was he perhaps an unconscious Taoist?) Anyway, the good life, meaning a life worth living, needs to be active and reflective, moral and aesthetic, personal and social, religious and secular, and so on. How much of each depends on the moment in time. Asleep is not a good time for exercise, to be obvious.

This past week, for example, has been long on the active and short on the reflective, more moral than aesthetic, more social than personal. Hence no post for seven days.

My question is how to decide when to be what? Outside forces push us toward one side or the other, but we are decisive creatures who respond to outside forces by choice not by instinct. That's the part that makes us human. That also means we may be more right or more wrong about that choice and seldom completely sure when the choice is required.

Chores are beckoning again, and who knows when I shall have time to write next. I shall have to be content with troubling you with the conundrum of choices and balances and the twin tensile tasks of action and reflection.

Content with troubling? There's another balance!

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