Socrates and square pegs

round peg

One of the oddest reproaches I’ve had levelled at me in recent years is,

“But you didn’t used to think that!”

Let’s just consider that for a moment.

This person was berating me for changing my mind about something.

There I was, in my forties, having new and different opinions. Having different views about the world from the ones I’d held in my twenties.

This person was really saying, “How dare you develop and change!” and “Who gave you permission to think for yourself?”

It made me think of the words attributed to Socrates,

“The unexamined life is not worth living”.

There are various interpretations of this, but to me it means that we need to think about how we live, and where we’re going, in order to flourish and grow.

If I held the same views on my deathbed as I had when I was a teenager, I would consider myself an undeveloped person. Surely the experiences we have over the years and the people we meet — not to mention all the things we read — should open our minds and make us examine our beliefs?

This isn’t pretension or being a phoney. It’s growth and maturity.

So, no apologies from me about changing my views on politics, or religion or animal rights, or the myriad other things that affect the world and how I choose to live in it.

I’ve climbed out of that pigeon hole, the one that some people would like to keep me in.

I’m happy to be a square peg in a round hole

And they can either accept that and maybe come on the journey with me, or be left behind.

I intend to keep discovering new ideas and changing my mind until the day I die.

 

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