When you finish University or leave school, it’s tempting to think that your years of learning are over. That’s a myth, or at least, it should be. Just because you now work in a four by four cubicle doused in fluorescent lighting doesn’t mean that you should stop absorbing information.
Socrates was a big believer in learning. He spent his life on a never-ending quest for new information on old topics that everyone took for granted. If his philosophy could be summed up using a modern phrase, it would be the slogan off Disney’s Meet the Robinson’s – ‘keep moving forward.’
The day you stop learning is the day you die. It’s really that simple. Sure, you may still be breathing, eating and working, but upstairs, nothing’s happening. The lights are on but no one’s home. Socrates wouldn’t want us living a life without questioning the world around us, and being an automaton is no way to be happy. The life unexamined, Socrates noted, is not worth living.
Feel free to ponder the greater mysteries of life if you wish, but what Socrates focused on were the small things. Learn a new recipe, get off Facebook for an hour and read a book, question whether or not the news bulletin your watching is worth your time, try a rational response rather than an emotive one, see things from another’s perspective – the list is endless.
Socrates is known as the father of modern thought for a reason, but he was also the first to bring philosophy out of the heavens and into the dirty streets of Athens. The love of wisdom isn’t supposed to be reserved for dusty lecture theatre’s and old academics, it’s there to help you live a better, and happier, life.