Prologue

Understanding others is strenuous; Connecting with one’s self is not less arduous.

Fraught with invisible and pervasive forces of societal encounters and biological dispositions, one’s existence is explicable as an amalgam of social learning and biological determinism. Notwithstanding, it is barely satisfactory to dismiss Homo sapiens as mere concoction of instinctual drives and social pressure. As other species are also instinctual and many are gregarious, are human beings ultimately indistinguishable from non-humans?

There appears to be essences so unique that they separate humankind from other terrestrial life forms, be it man’s superior intelligence or self-imposed morality. Other physiological and behavioural features (e.g., bipedalism, manual dexterity) further the differentiation.

I would add introspection (i.e., self-reflection) to the list: to examine past experiences, contemplate conscious thoughts and feelings, explore the self’s assumptions and core values, and design future actions correspondingly. Undoubtedly, such practice is hardly observable in non-humans.

Retrospective Journal purposes to consolidate what constitutes the author’s character. It is a personal attempt to deconstruct what makes me me, furthermore, what I am. Journaling is an opportunity for self-examination that transcends sensory and emotional experiences beyond the limits of instincts and social constraints. One can re-learn what has been learned in a discursive lens with serenity and deliberation.

An unexamined life is not worth living.

Plato

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