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Date:10/31/2014 3:45:55 AM
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"An Unexamined Life . . . "
"An unexamined life is not worth living." This quote, attributed to Socrates in the writings of Plato, has been the topic of various interpretations. The interpretation that I am made to think would be applicable to country people, which is to say, the "common sense" interpretation, is that it is important to us as human beings to take a good hard look at our lives from time to time in order to remind ourselves what we are here for and in what direction our lives are going. Heady philosophical stuff, eh? It is at this time of year that we countrymen and women have the time and inclination to re-examine our lives and ascertain what we are doing with them. The days are short, the nights are long, and we, historically speaking at least, huddle near the fire and basically, think on things.

One of the thoughts of Louis L'Amour, the penultimate Western writer, that has stuck with me was something to the effect that once a stone granary was filled with corn, and enough meat and roots were dried and cured for the winter, it was then that man fell to thinking of his place in the order of things, and in L'Amour's opinion, that man also fell to thinking about politics and how to increase his standing in the community.

The point made by others examining Socrates' quote, and implied by L'Amour, is that most of humanity is too busy striving to survive to examine their lives. The more cynical of those commenting on Socrates maintain that his statement was elitist in nature because it inferred that only those who examined their lives were truly human while the rest who didn't or couldn't were little more than animals.

The upshot of all of this is that I submit that it was the countryman who was the first to examine his place in the universe. It was he, with his flocks and stock and stored food, who was able to stare at the night sky and who could begin to imagine, and to philosophize. (You will notice that I did not mention the countrywoman, as she had most likely already figured this out long before and was probably just waiting for her man to catch up) In any event, it is significant to me that it was Abraham, a keeper of flocks and a man who grew seasonal crops, who had the sensitivity to comprehend the Lord, and who was the man the Lord chose to engage in covenant.

This is the time of year when we countryfolk ponder our relationship with the eternal and wonder what the future holds for us. It is my prayer that each of us be given the grace to understand our place in the unfolding of the universe and to remain in our Creator's care. Happy New Year! --Gary
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