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Know yourself and your times, first

The last line in This Side of Paradise is: "I know myself, but that is all". The book is about the coming of age, socially and intellectually, of a young man in the 1910s. Essentially, it takes him the whole book to understand himself just a little. In trying to do so, he also has to work hard to understand his times. Those were fast-changing times: a shifting mix of remnants of the Victorian Era, Edwardian Era sensibilities, and the opening of the Jazz Age.

Most of us face the same problem in getting to a deep or deeper understanding of ourselves, what we believe in, what our times are about, how society is changing, and what it means to us. And in all that, we’re expected and we need to, be able to understand how the future is emerging.
Most of us cannot stop what we are doing to try to know ourselves better. Nor can we stop all planning and action until we understand our world and our times. But we need to keep trying to develop that understanding. It will strengthen our insights on the future (and the present). Time spent thinking with some care about these things is important to everyone, and it deserves a commitment. You can argue it is part of your work—most any professional work. Don’t neglect it.
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