Doug Bruns

What do I know?

In Books, Family, Life, Literature, Memoir, Philosophy, Reading, The Examined Life on May 21, 2010 at 5:45 am

I am not a philosopher, not a historian, nor properly trained intellectual. I am a middle-aged man who has read widely, traveled widely, raised a family, started, ran and sold a business, sustained a three decades-long-and-counting marriage, escaped major illness and loss, loved dogs, privacy and leisure. I have no special training, no unique abilities. I have struggled through life like everyone else who has inherited no family wealth, no special calling, no unique talent. I have a good head on my shoulders and I have endeavored to make it better. A constant goal has been to find the world more interesting than I fear it truly is. This requires an approach that is at once creative without fancy, pragmatic without rigidity, fun without folly. In the main, I have struggled to mold a life that, at any time, should it end abruptly, I could in those waning moments of consciousness, reflect that it–my life–has indeed been full and well-lived. Life has not always been an engaging endeavor, but even when it wasn’t, even when its veneer was found dull and common, I believed that in some fashion, if I searched thoroughly enough, dug sufficiently deep, I would realize it to be more than it appeared at first blush. This motive for a life of substance has not been a random nor cursory adventure. It has been orchestrated. I drew it, as best I was able, specific to the canvas of my life, idiosyncratic and tailor-made.  As Montaigne asked, What do I know? I have attempted to know myself. That was the admonition of the Greeks and it still retains a profound timeliness. I have taken it to heart. Ultimately, it is all I have.

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