By Francis Jeremiah Cabanog | November 16, 2023
“True knowledge lies in the knowledge that you know nothing.”—Socrates
Growing up, I had always been a curious kid. Back when kids my age in grade school often perceived death as a frightening stage of life, I found myself questioning death—contemplating its very nature.
Some people found it unsettling whenever my concept of outright curiosity about death’s nature was brought to the table. I always thought, “Death isn’t that scary.”
Once you die, you cease to exist. Once you cease to exist, you are a memory to the people you left. But along my journey of growth, a newfound sense of curiosity has loomed on my horizon. What if death transcends just plainly ceasing to exist? Perhaps reincarnation? Maybe an afterlife?
It was at that moment that I realized I was a thinker. I took it upon myself to philosophize the natural world— to adore knowledge. The next thing I knew, I grew to have a liking for philosophy.
Philosophy per se is a big word. But, once you come to terms with it, you’d be surprised to know that it simply means having a “love for wisdom.” In a sense, it is to think and to gain knowledge.
When one philosophizes, one opens themselves to the natural world’s wonders. You seek to excavate the abyss of curiosity, to pulse the current of reasoning, and to become better stewards of the world.
As a 16-year-old, I never would’ve realized I’d embraced a philosophical mindset.
Today, I wake up every day brimming with anticipation of what the day has in store for me. I get up, walk through the terrace of my childhood home, and feel the mesmerizing rural serenity. I miss home.
My mama makes me my favorite chocolate drink, brings me a piece of bread or two, and talks about the latest morning post. Instead of drinking it, I stop to ponder. Will the warmth of this cup and the savory bread give me the satisfaction that my body needs? Or will I be baffled that my mom forgot to add sugar again? Oh, bless her kind-hearted soul.
During my day-to-day activities, I often find myself drawn to questions that others tend to overlook. My simple cup of chocolate becomes more than a morning refreshment. It becomes a symbol of life’s unpredictability. Will it be sweet or unsweetened today? I’ll never know.
The sheer uncertainty brought by our curiosities reminds us that, even in the most familiar routines, there will always be room for surprises and self-discovery.
Perhaps Socrates was right after all. Some things ought to take us by surprise, eager to shape a different outcome contrary to what we always thought we would have wanted.
Maybe true knowledge does lie in knowing that you know nothing. Then again, the quest for understanding is an endless voyage. But as humans, predisposed to curiosity, we are bound to an ever-present thirst for answers.
To be curious, to question, and to philosophize—these are what truly make life worth living.