“The Greatest Hazard of All”

In the midst of seasons of monotony or chaos, one quote frequently slips in the crowded capacity of my mind. Danish philosopher Kierkegaard speaks of this idea, “the greatest hazard of all”. You can determine for yourself if this is the greatest hazard of all. Feel free to blame Kierkegaard for this quote as it may push your soul into a spiraling existential crisis:

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.”

― Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

The truth is, losing one self is easy. Not only is it easy, but it happens frequently to many people. As 21st century humans, we are extremely good at distracting ourselves with tiny details and man-made materials. Majority of us carry around an iPhone like it is essential to our identity. This is because technology like iPhones provide us the temporary and quick fix of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. At no other time in history has primal pleasures been so easy to attain through seemingly hazardless acts. I’m not trying to say using an iPhone or technology in general is wrong. Like everything else in life, the problem is more complex. At the root of it, if one isn’t putting enough time to self-reflect and self-regulate because distracting activities are taking majority of the time, one must fear the possibility of losing one self.

Now I urge you: Look at your schedule. The truth is, what you spend your time and money on, that is where your heart and purpose is. If you as an individual realize you are not happy about what your daily activities equal to, then you need to change. You are  likely steering off the path your mind and heart desires.

This is your life. Take control of it. Without it, what do you have?

If you need help deciding whether or not something is a distracting activity, consider the following:

  1. Why am I doing this activity?
  2. Is it hurting myself? (if yes, STOP)
  3. Is it hurting others? (if yes, STOP)
  4. Is this activity constructively building me up to the person I want to be?

Find activities and tasks that marry your natural abilities and passions.

Be who you were created to be and no one else.

Break free from what the rest of society is mindlessly doing.

Put down the phone, stop the thoughtless acts. Think about your life often. Ask yourself: Are you feeling fulfilled? Are you helping others?

Develop a mind of introspection and I promise you will be safe from “the greatest hazard of all”. Don’t be so consumed by the pursuit of material things like your misplaced “five dollars” because nothing could ever be worth more than your life.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to engage in conversation in the comments below.