Every now and then when I get in a reflective mood I go look up the social media accounts of people I knew in middle school and high school. It’s engrossing to look at their lives, remembering how we were synced up at one point and what our operating premises were, and to track where we diverged. No one I went to public school with went on to any real philosophical gains in their lives. A few have made some money. Most have had children. One had a record deal for a brief bit. But nobody embraced philosophy and self-knowledge.
This is a tremendous loss. Some of these classmates were rather smart and I learned things from them. Yet, now they live quiet lives of desperation as adults. I see the sorrow on their faces. I see how they have failed to live their dreams or to even readjust as people since when I knew them last. I see the addictions in their eyes and the weariness in their self-expression. It would seem that for a lot of people, life is over before it even begins. I feel a deep sadness for these people. I want good things for them. Many of them shunned me when I expressed this at the time. Some slipped away. I didn’t save anyone nor could I have. I had to save myself.
The difference maker is self-knowledge and philosophy, I’m sure of it now. The light of reason shows a path of sacrifice, discomfort, and personal pain but in return you are granted joy. Joy is a muscle. It is an acquired skill. It takes unbelievable work to attain joy and even more work to maintain it.
I wish all of these hadn’t given up on their capacity to live life to its fullest. Someone along the way convinced them to accept less from life. My old friends have become weaklings, abusers, and manipulators. They have done great psychological violence on themselves and others. They have lost the promise they held when I knew them as children and teenagers. They are staggering toward middle age.
I wish to bring the light of philosophy to as many people as I possibly can. I miss these people, how they once were. I miss their laughter, their company, their crazy teenage hormones, and their struggle to exist in the prison of public school. They were so good to me. I learned survival skills from some of them. We were all so innocent. Now they are zombies. I transformed my innocence to wisdom. I wish to shock these people back to life.
There won’t always be suffering and psychotic government control raining down on the landscape. Someday we will be free.