Socrates and Me

Zola - Columbia, Missouri
Entered on February 23, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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Adam and Eve. We all know this story. Once, long ago, Man was nothing more than an animal. He was nurtured with the sweet song of Mother Nature, basking in the warmth of this perpetual hum inherent in everything living. And then one day all of that changed. Some would say that it was the downfall of Man. Others would say that it was the peak moment in the history of the human race- but a thing happened that would change the fate of the world forever. Adam stood there, beard blowing in the wind, and for the first time, he thought something. The hum of the universe, once so unbelievably loud, had quieted, receded into its dark hole, to hide unnoticed among the ears of Men for eternity. Adam stroked his beard in deep contemplation, because for the first in his life, he knew, without a doubt, that his beard was there. He was a completely conscious being, and this knowledge reverberated throughout his body with absolute clarity. And suddenly, having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam asked humanity’s first question: why the hell am I naked?

As a young boy, I accepted my surroundings, seeing the world at face value; the grass is green, the sky is blue. Capitalism is God, and Christopher Columbus discovered America. One day, however, something snapped inside of me. Suddenly, I started to notice things that I hadn’t noticed before. I would lay on my bed for hours, throwing a ball, up and down, up and down, closely observing the way in which the ball seemed to freeze in the air for an eternity, before finally finding its way back into the palm of my hand. Watching attentively, I began to grasp the laws of physics. I was overwhelmed by a force greater than myself- an undying need to understand the workings of the universe. Questions flooded the clogged pathways of my mind, freshening and cleansing the once stagnant muscle that is my brain. How does it work? How did things get this way? Why do we do these things? These questions overwhelmed my being and soon changed the way in which I looked at the world. My reality of pure acceptance had been shattered.

You see, everything gets dirty, rotten and old. The once beautiful Swan sighs it last breath before at last reuniting with the earth that birthed it. The discarded pair of gym shorts stagnates- discarded and alone. Forgotten leftovers ferment angrily behind half-eaten crab rangoons and wilted parsley. Questions are that breath of life, that sweet smelling laundry detergent, that midnight-snack. They revive the mind, make fresh, which was once so stale. They are the root of every answer, the catalyst for change. I believe in Rosa Parks, Socrates, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, for I believe in asking questions.

I believe that to question your surroundings, your culture, your beliefs, and your perceptions is to actively participate in humankind’s highest level of intelligence. I believe that there is nothing more important than questioning, for in a time of perpetual crisis such as now, there will come a point when we will find ourselves naked and vulnerable, as Adam once found himself, and we will ask humanity’s last question: HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!?!