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Sobering Philosophies

It’s strange how a critical mass of change is sometimes needed to put one’s life in perspective. I think I’ve been running on autopilot for a long time and hadn’t even realized it. Comfortability breeds complacency and, at least in my case, led to a lack of reflection on (or coherent direction) in my life.

Does this mean I haven’t reflected on things? Have I been truly asleep for the last weeks, months or even years? Made decisions with forethought? Not really, no. Still, hindsight is (as they say) 20-20 and it’s amazing how clearly I now see what I have been doing and perhaps as importantly what I haven’t been doing.

Change isn’t always easy and it certainly isn’t always fun but I have to say that, at least on a good day, I believe it is usually for the best. At each critical juncture of my life a massive change led ultimately to growth, cheesy as it sounds. The philosopher Immanuel Kant credited his fellow philosopher David Hume with awakening him from his “dogmatic slumber” and I would credit recent events in my life with the same.

Now, Kant ended up far from Hume in any philosophical sense. In extremely simplified terms: he believed in the power of reason to ascertain truths about reality while Hume believed in what he could see, test and prove repeatedly. In short, Kant thought the mind was the answer to understanding reality while Hume thought experience was.

So what is the point? The point is this: whatever it takes to awaken you after a period of inaction or insufficient relfection may not be relevant to your subsequent realizations. In fact, I think it may often take you in a completely new direction you hadn’t anticipated and perhaps can’t fully grasp right away. For me, I’m reacting to changes and picking a new direction to a large extent not directly forced by these changes. Where will it lead? Who knows, but probably not where I expect.

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