Philosophy And Ageing

Philosophy means love of wisdom and, if we were able to assemble some of that wisdom, we'd find that many recognized philosophers were on about exploring how to live a life worth living. It's not surprising that none of those have been able to provide the essential how-to. Indeed, it was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who asked whether it is the moment when we have to die that we learn how we should have lived. I'm definitely not advocating that you leave it till then. Get started, now!

In our attempt to answer the question relating to living a life worth living, we need to decide what is it that makes a human life matter. Assuming that it (life) does matter, as we age, what matters most, changes. In the past, eeking out a career may have been a big deal – climbing the greasy pole, the corporate ladder, or whatever your preferred metaphor. Then, in the blink of an eye, what matters most involves doing things to enlarge our lives; such as finding out how to live a longer, better life.

For thousands of years, people have been exploring how to live a life worth living. Socrates, for example, reckoned that an unexamined (unexceptional) life was not worth living. And, even when he thought that he was living a life worth living, others did not agree.

So, what matters most for you? Are you living a life worth living? Are you living a kind of life that others will hear about? And does that matter to you?

One of the reasons philosophy is going through a surge of popularity through the world is because everyday people can associate with philosophy and being a philosopher – especially when their own life is the subject for discussion. No one can hope to tell another how to live their life. It's akin to someone claiming to have found the universal meaning of life. We might be able to explore how to give our lives more meaning, or experience being alive, but our stories, and what matters most, will differ.

Only you know whether or not you're living a life worth living and what matters most to you. If Rousseau was right, that, 'Youth is the time to study wisdom; old age is the time to put it into practice ', your time for action could have arrived.

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