Who/What Am I?

So. Here I am. Again. Where is “here”? Who is “I”? “I” am apparently some relatively intelligent ape (relative in terms of other life on this planet, although I think dolphins and whales are relatively intelligent as well (among other beings)). Also, relatively in terms of other apes on this planet. Is that the “here”? -a water-covered rock orbiting an insignificant star in a galaxy among potentially trillions of other galaxies? “Again”? In terms of blogging? Sitting in front of my laptop? Being human? Having this sensational experience? I am unsure of how many times I have actually performed any and all of those. I have a first-person perspective of my fingers tapping out the letters to this blog post. Who is moving the fingers? Who is tapping the keys? Am I in control of this action? Who is “I” again?

Often times I look in the mirror and I see “myself”. I see the familiar features and the familiar expressions. I see the hazel eyes that seem to change color with my mood and what I’m wearing. I see my broken nose and deviated septum. I see how I have aged. I see all of it. That’s who “I” am. Right? That is “me”. The ape. The intelligent ape on this water-covered rock. Okay. That’s fine. I’ll accept that. But, what am I doing here? What is my purpose? Why do “I” exist? Millions of years of evolution…following countless eons of matter (mostly dark) and energy (mostly dark) colliding and combining (apparently the stars, planets, and galaxies that can be seen make up only 4 percent of the known universe and the other 96 percent is made of stuff astronomers can’t see, detect, or even comprehend) to produce…me. And all of you. Okay. But, for what? To experience and learn from each other? Maybe. Maybe not.

If the known universe is mostly unknown to our sensory experience…am “I” too, unknown to myself? Can I “see” or “know” myself in my basest form? Just as astronomers cannot truly experience the cosmos for what it is, am I not a microcosm of the incomprehensible fabric from which I have sprung? Are we universal anomalies? Cosmic accidents? I mean, if you look around at the state of the globe, it makes sense as to why we may deem ourselves as accidents. What a terrible mess we have made of our planet. In the name of what? Status? Economic fame? Fame in general? Recognition? – superficial symbols that are socially constructed to begin with. What good is money when it can’t buy a functioning ecological system? What good is space travel when species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate? What good is fame when there is no clean water to drink? What good is status when it is too hot to venture outdoors? What a comical mess we have made of things here. And for what? So other “intelligent” apes will validate who “we” are and what we are doing? Disturbing at best.

The other notion that crosses my mind is solipsism. Solipsism, for those of you who don’t know, is the concept that the “self” is all that can be known to exist. All of the aforementioned concepts are constructs of my own doing. All of it. The universe. Time. Space. Self. Travel. Species. Intelligence. All of it. It is my own subjective experience and all of you reading this are as well. Bizarre. I know. I can’t truly convince myself otherwise, however, for the sake of my own mental well-being, and likely for the sake of all of you, I will refrain from crawling down that rabbit hole. Let’s just say that at the very least, all of you are experiencing your own version of solipsism…funny to think about, I know. All of you intelligent apes could think that you are the center of the universe, and no intelligent ape (or higher power of your own construction) could prove you otherwise. Comical at best.

“Consciousness just ‘is’…” I heard that from a well-known guru recently. Profound. But, also, how commonly apathetic. Okay. Awesome. This (this whole experience) just “is”. It is like the air we breathe. It is inescapable. We need not think about it because we cannot contextualize our experience without it to begin with. All of our thinking/intelligence etc. is ineffective because of well, in my opinion, technically solipsism. Lol. Also comical. But, in all due respect…aren’t all answers for our existential questions? What a terrible bore this life would be if we knew all of the answers. I can only hope that we know very little…and even at the end, we are only given enough of a sliver of information to continue our infinite journey (if our journey is actually infinite, if we need “information”, or if we are actually on a “journey” to begin with). No answers. Only questions. As of now, this experience is rather nice. Sensations are an incredible thing. If this post is making you feel down (and even if it’s not) take a second to realize all of the events and people that must have existed in order for you to come across this post. It is the most incredible thing you have ever experienced…I say this because the past may not actually exist…and neither may the future. But, thank you for joining me. I hope all is well.

Self-Awareness: Gift or Curse?

I continually feel as if I am floating above myself-as if I am watching myself from outside of my body. Is this normal? Is it healthy? There are times that I feel as if this level of self-awareness is a curse. How sweet it would be to be on autopilot; completely within the realm of the unconscious. Do most people experience the world on autopilot? Or are all of us predisposed to an experience that requires us to be permanently conscious actors? Are we in control? Or are we at the mercy of our subconscious?

I know that the unconscious mind is a determining factor in our daily lives. I know our conscious mind plays a role in that experience as well. But, to what degree? Are we conscious actors determining our fates with every “choice” that we make? Or are we destined for the hard-wiring of our brains? Is it free will? Or is it destiny?

I come back to that question time and time again. No matter how much philosophizing I take part in, that remains the fundamental question. Am I choosing to press these keys as I write? Or is my subconscious merely playing itself out in a predetermined algorithmic fashion? I like to think that I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul…but so much of my life has come to pass without my choosing.

Maybe it is just part of the human condition. Maybe we are meant to have an idea of both free will and destiny because we are not meant to know. Maybe we are supposed to continually question the meaning of our existence, and the conundrum keeps us in the present. Isn’t that where we are supposed to be? Aren’t we supposed to be in the here and now? We can’t relive the past, and we have not yet experienced the future…the present is all we truly have.

I walk, I talk, I breathe, I eat, I sleep, I experience the world around me through a narrow bandwidth of sensations. Am I experiencing reality? Or am I reality experiencing itself? Who am I? Where am I? What am I? Why am I here? Will we ever know the answers to these questions? Am I merely an intelligent ape on a watery rock cursed to a short, brutish, and finite life? Or am I an infinite spirit having a human experience to further my consciousness, in order to resonate at a higher vibration, so that I may experience a more supreme level of reality? I like to tell myself the latter, but at this rate, either one could be true. Am I choosing my reality, or is my reality choosing me? No answers. Only questions.

No Resolve In Our Resolutions

Resolutions. “I resolve to…” Why is it that man inherently feels the need to improve? Or better yet, why is it that after resolving to improve, he fails to do so, and then resolves to do so again. The struggle of consistency is more brutal than we give it credit. Are we biologically predisposed to be unworthy creatures in our own eyes? Forever seeking a better version of ourselves through planning and action?

It is a noble endeavor to improve one’s position in life, but how much of it is actually within our control? It is comforting to think that progress is within our grasp, and all we have to do is reach out and take it. Why is it then, that so few people actually achieve their desired result? Year after year people go back to “START’ only to wind up short of their destination yet again.

It is encouraging that the large majority of people refuse to pledge to be worse than they were the year before. There is certainly no lack of optimism, yet I can’t help but think that the majority stay close to a relatively flat trajectory for most of their lives. “Average” seems to be the norm for a reason I suppose.

It is interesting to note that our unrivaled ability to plan, is typically outweighed by our unnatural habit of inaction. Animals toil tirelessly with reactionary stimuli with no betterment in mind aside from nourishment, and perhaps shelter. The game of life can be broken down into simplistic components, but the friction that is created by our complex, modern world, tends to disrupt our thoughts and actions. We mean well, but for the large majority of people, their dreams will never come to fruition. Numbers don’t lie, and statistics are a harsh mistress.

Life in One Day

If life was lived in terms of one day, this is how it would play out in my eyes.

Your birth would be rousing yourself from a weary slumber in the early morning hours. Still in a dream-like state.

Your infancy would be those first few minutes of the morning, in which you’re too groggy to really be aware of what’s going on.

Your toddler days would be that first burst of shower water that awakens you to your existence.

Your youth would be the time spent prepping for your big day. Practicing hygiene, taking care of yourself, and looking forward to the day’s plan.

Your teenage years would be breakfast time. Experimenting with breakfast foods, and swigging coffee.

Your twenties would be feeling the caffeine, strapping yourself into the vehicle of life, and whizzing into the future. Finding your way.

You early thirties would be the arrival at work and settling into the office. Being polite to your coworkers, and forming a foundation for future success in the day.

Your late thirties would be the hours leading up to the lunch break. You’ve settled in, you’re grinding out work, and looking for some reprieve.

Your forties would be your lunch break. Secure in some spheres. Ready for the day to be over. Just a few more hours. Coasting.

Your fifties would be the hours just before the whistle blows. Cram some more work in. Finish what you need to, and get ready to end the day.

Your sixties would be from the time work ends to finding your way home. Get there, and you can do whatever you want.

Your seventies would be dinner. Feasting on the fruits of your labor. Plumping yourself on relaxation.

Your eighties would be the downtime before bed. Watching movies, or reading books etc.

Your nineties, if you don’t pass out on the couch before then, would be crawling into bed, and enjoying the comfort of knowing you’ll be asleep soon.

Anything beyond that, you either can’t sleep, or you’re trying to stay awake for as long as you can. Don’t worry, you’ll fall asleep eventually.

Life in one day.