Having A Thorough Examination of Oneself

It is best to do so before the inevitable

Agustinus Theodorus
7 min readOct 31, 2019

This article is about taking reflection on the self, it is important to evaluate what we do and what we believe routinely to understand who we really are. Because sometimes people don’t even know themselves. It shouldn’t come to a shock to you that somethings that you say you believe in might result in catastrophic hypocrisy on close examination. Sometimes the most important thing to analyze is ourselves.

The Self-Realization and Analyzation

I have always found it interesting when I can relate to a certain situation that someone else is having to my own. Though it can be different, very different. Even so, analyzing situations really bring a forthcoming in my life, I can understand things better when I have heard of it before.

Source: University of Toronto

Of course, we all can. I am not saying that I am uniquely different but I am trying to implore the importance of analyzation. Aristotle a famous Greek philosopher who is known for his massive achievements in the development of science and philosophy understands this well. Aristotle classified animals based on their differences, he analyzed them then categorizes them slowly and carefully. His patience and ability to analyze is like an art form.

Fun fact, if you open Aristotle’s work on feedbooks.com. Aristotle has a 1 million word count, his complete surviving work has amounted to a total of 1 million words. Again this is his surviving work, this is a mere fraction to what he wrote, speculations are he could have written about 10 million words.

He wrote all of that just from analyzing, he really proved to the world his innate passion to analyze. It is what differs him from Plato. Plato is a man of ideals, he has lots of ideas about the world. Aristotle believes in analyzation he believes the importance of facts rather than ideals.

Sometimes we can misunderstand that. The conceptual difference between facts and ideas. If you analyze yourself, how much do you think about you is a fact rather than an ideal. For example, in a heated conversation with a friend, you might believe that you are the protagonist. You might believe that you are right. That the other is false. How can you be so sure? Ever thought about it? It may have been your emotions looking for an ideal.

How about that good cause that you always believed in, is it really an essential part of you? Or was it an ideal given to you by society? What is good? What is bad? Who can say?

What I am trying to say is, everything you read or learn in the world cannot be taken forthright. It must be analyzed. It must be tested. I’ll give you another example, a few paragraphs ago, I wrote that Aristotle is speculated to have written about 10 million words. Have you checked?

Analyzing and research are important. It differs fact from fiction. It differs the truth from the ideals. You should always double-check what you heard from other people. As some would say, don’t let others think for you, some people could barely think for themselves.

The Stoic Philosophy

Roman Philosopher Marcus Aurelius, source: thriveglobal.com

Recently I have stumbled upon an interesting philosophy called stoicism. A little background, stoicism is a Hellenistic philosophy about virtue, tolerance, and self-control. Stoicism is one of those philosophies that you can apply in everyday life. Stoicisms most significant philosophy is about self-control, people commonly attribute self-control to our capability to control emotions or what we say, but in stoicism, self-control is taken to a whole different perspective. Yes! Perspective is what I see as the most significant teaching stoicism brought upon me. There are a lot of quotes about perspective by stoic philosophers, my favorite quote is one by Epictetus:

“We suffer not from the event in our lives, but from our judgment about them!”

Thus a stoic version of self-control encompasses our ability in perception and to become a stoic we must be able to find meaning to our lives in the bleakest of situations. From my short time reading and watching videos about stoicism, it is not a lesson that can be understood in a short amount of time, it could take a whole lifetime to understand and apply stoic philosophies in our daily lives. This is because stoicism doesn’t promote beliefs rather it is a way of life.

Source: iheartintelligence.com

We can choose to see the bad in life and complain about it, but we can also choose to fix it. This sentence highlight another important aspect of self-control in stoicism. The one thing that you can control in life is how you act and how you perceive actions that are upon you. We cannot control the actions or thoughts of people other than ourselves. There are times when I forget this rule and I condemn myself to the thoughts of others, in these times of distress I have to remember this very important stoic principle, there is no one you can control but yourself.

Stoics are sometimes misinterpreted as apathetic and emotionless because of their overly calm demeanor this can also be the case when we misunderstand the basic fundamentals of stoicism. To be a stoic it doesn’t mean that you have to remove all your emotional connections to events and see the world positively. Emotions are essential for understanding. If we do not incorporate emotion in our daily lives, it may become more destructive than positive. From a logical perspective, it seems irrational for us to be controlled by our emotions but emotion is the main pivot point in a relationship. Because relationships (in my opinion) cannot be founded only on a logical basis.

My favorite stoic philosopher is Marcus Aurelius. He was a Roman Emperor and in my opinion, he is one of the best examples of a stoic philosopher. I came to know Marcus Aurelius when I listened to a lecture by Professor Michael Sugrue. His lecture is available on Youtube for everyone to see.

In his lecture, I was profoundly stunned by how Professor Sugrue explained the situation that Marcus Aurelius was facing. I’m going to try to paraphrase what he said.

Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome, he ruled everything in the known world. He could ask for every woman in the world and he could have it, he could ask for every gold coin in the entire realm and he could have it. But he didn’t. With such immense power and responsibility that a Roman Emperor has, he chose to be the good emperor, he chose to be the best emperor for his people. If a person like Marcus Aurelius who defied all known the pleasures to man and stick to his principles can exist, there is no limit to human capability.

Comprehending what Professor Sugrue said in his lectures is challenging in and of itself and applying what he said in our daily lives is another challenge altogether. Stoicism is a way of life, we can never be true stoics. No one has. Not even Marcus Aurelius. But the dream of stoicism is to keep staying true to ourselves, becoming the best that we can be, and that’s the beauty of it!

The Hypocrisy

From what I have written in this article, hypocrisy is not a good way to end it. But alas, here we go. Lately, I have been questioned a lot of things. Many things have come through my mind. Skepticism… I am not a skeptic but I feel that there are times when I should perceive things as one. I don’t know if it is just me but recently I feel that many people are having blind faith. I do not agree with that, people seem to believe things right out of the bat as some would say. It is not an outcome favorable for me since I believe that you should not accept things merely as they are. Analyzing things is a must, and you must analyze if the thing you believe in aligns with your personal opinions or not. Misrepresentation of these things can end in disastrous decisions.

From all of the wisdom that I have read, there are things that I may have taken a little too easy. Maybe I should have done more research, maybe I should keep trying to find the truth. But what is the truth when nobody knows it? What is the truth that you are seeking? Well, maybe you don’t know, I don’t know too. I am not embarrassed to say that sometimes I don’t know what I want. A deep and thorough analyzation of my circumstances sure told me a lot of things. And it isn’t good.

I wrote this article because I think I believe in something that doesn’t resonate with me at all, I believe that I say somethings that I don’t really apply or truly believe. I believe, that from what I have written in this article there are things that are easier said than done. Simple things that seem hard, and hard things that we think as simple.

Hypocrisy is a dangerous beast, it creeps in when we least expect it. It creeps in from the most unexpected of ways. If you know you are a hypocrite it can define who you really are. You can understand what you really feel, what you think you need but actually don’t. What you truly believe and what you don’t. An interesting revelation indeed. I too am a hypocrite in many ways, I keep striving to change that but sometimes it ends to no avail.

Humans are incomplete, I realized that we can never be complete. We make ideals not because we can meet those ideals but because it represents what we have to be, what we want to be. It is like a leader having a vision, a vision exists because we continually strive to achieve it. The road of life is long and treacherous, don’t lose yourself.