Cogito, ergo sum

Talking with friends. Philosophy, personal growth, memories and responsibility.


A few nights ago my friends and I talked about philosophers, what’s considered inherently good or bad, and humans in general; whose philosophy can we relate to the most and who we like to read. We thought back to our lives, back to when we were 20, 18, and even younger.


Do we still like the people we were back then? What were we like? Looking back like that, with friends I hadn’t even known at 18 I realised how much had changed since then. Not even that many years have passed. I feel the same, at least in some ways. I’ve grown in others. But, I never stopped to consider how much everything changes within the shortest time spans.


Diminishing personal growth by looking back and turning one’s nose up at the memories we have makes our efforts and achievements small. Now we are in a superior position. We know more than our past selves and it’s easy to look down at oneself. But looking back with kindness and compassion makes the development you’ve experienced clear. It’s good to pat yourself on the back once in a while.


So when my first reaction was to diminish my efforts, I later took the time to look back with kindness. Adding pressure on my past self or uttering disappointments would only come back to bite present me.


And who would have guessed? Instantly after beginning to do so, I started to be somewhat proud of my old self and present self. I could see where I did right and how I improved where I needed improving. Especially after a year that seems as stagnant as the one we’ve all just had, it seems important to consider how far we’ve all come; how much life has changed around us within the past years.

We talked about being grateful, how I believed it to be one of the greatest things to learn. And how one of my friends considered it quite useless since it was so easy to do. Then why are people so ungrateful, I asked. But the question led to deep discussion about humans being parasites that just don’t know better. But don’t we?


Parasites can only exist by feeding off of others. If they stop doing so they cease to exist. The argument was that parasites were made by the planet and so they are incapable of being inherently good or bad. They just exist and they can’t help it.


But humans come from this planet just like parasites. We’re neither inherently good or bad. So, check mate, right? But we can help it. We can choose how we exist - at least some aspects of it. We aren’t capable of controlling our surroundings. But sometimes we are capable of choosing the way we react to things, how we are going to behave. We are indeed able to choose the way we live and thus are also able to differentiate between “good” and “bad”, whatever that may mean to each of us.

“But we can’t exist in any other way at this moment in time.”, was added.

And that is the statement of the night that has been following me since then.

“Can’t we?”, I asked. “No.”, was the disheartening reply.

I believe we can exist differently, that we know better and want to do better. The simple fact that we can think and consider ourselves, our lives, our circumstances is proof enough. Proof that we can think about all kinds of things no matter how small or large they might be. As long as we can think about them, we can talk about them.

But if so little people believe in change, what then?


I don’t mean to end in a tone as demotivating as such. But leaving it like this will, in the end, motivate you to consider what you yourself could do differently. Or where you would like to see change. Think and talk about it. It might not change anything, but who knows?




Credits:

  • drawing by pigwire

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