Trying to live nowadays according to some kind of «philosophical agenda» is no easy task. It may even be an impossible one. Philosophical systems seem to be unavailable since a long time ago. And before we can embrace the possibility of adopting one and adapting it to our daily lives – as if it were as easy as said and done (not to mention the amount of work involved in turning systematic into «spontaneous» philosophy) – we just face the void. There is none.
Everything that happens around us, either closer or further away plays an important role on what we are continuously becoming. We never are; we're always becoming. Therefore, we won't ever be able of getting to know ourselves the way we wish we should. The constant changing, the dynamic process of being alive won't ever allow it.
We count time only because it's effective that way. But the future has just arrived this very minute and will keep on arriving until our very last instant in this life. The constant adaptation to whatever happens to us and around us is the only measure we have, albeit subjective, to evaluate how well we can cope with both our lives and ourselves. The better we adapt, the better we feel, which doesn't necessarily mean, nevertheless, we are better. Maybe we are only becoming better, that's all. So this also means this process goes on and on indefinitely.
A Spanish philosopher – José Ortega y Gasset – once answered the question about who I am by saying «Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia» (I am myself and my circumstance). Staying on the ground of spontaneous philosophy – where we all come to stand everyday, even if some of us are convinced philosophy is not for them at all or they're just not into it – knowing who we are depends on two gigantic never‑ending discoveries: of myself and of my circumstance. Once again, no easy tasks at all.
As for the past, we have that natural tendency of looking back in time only to find out we could have done so many more things in such a better way if only… This is quite human, and we have to learn how to deal with it. Facing the past like this will end up bringing it to the present in a way that will only haunt us, that won't ever allow us to learn from what we have really done, good and bad. And this is the only reason why we should keep a special link to the past: to learn from it, not to be haunted by it.
I myself have lost some years in my life. I just threw them into the dustbin by not living at all, by just going through the days, one after another, with no sense of time or events. But I do know that has been a special period in my life, a less good one no doubt. There's no use in recriminating myself for not having lived. I didn't live, maybe because it was meant for me to go through that void period in order to better appreciate what «carpe diem» truly means.
In spite of what many people say, I don't believe we can shape our destiny; we certainly can influence the course of some events by the options we take, by means of our free will if you want, but we never get to see the full, static picture that would allow us to make the choice we would think of as the right one at that given moment. At any other time, even if we were allowed to watch the full picture again, which by the way wouldn't be the previous one anymore, our options would be other.
Some questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis can really be a waste of time, just depending on the moment we ask them. As far as many of those questions that can really turn into dangerous traps are concerned, I always try to keep in mind a sentence from the «Tractatus Logico-philosophicus» by Ludwig Wittgenstein, wishing it helps me go through the days in a less anguished state of spirit:
(Original: «Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber soll man schweigen.»)