David Ross (dyvyd) wrote,
David Ross

Cogito ergo sum

Central to the question of "Who am I?," is the question "Do I exist?"  The former is hardly worth solving without the latter. Thinking itself, as a proof, has never satisfied me.  The brain is a big and convoluted place (you can quote me...) and what part of it might be identified as the self continues to be elusive.  In multiple personality disorders, several selves vie for the right to be the dominant "ich."  And then,  the incomplete,
quasi-awareness that seems to hover about somewhere in the hardware-- we can barely describe it, let alone take it as our root selves.
We don't know much more about ourselves that we know about the habits of deep sea squid.  For me existence and identity cannot be separated without losing the human element.  I can neither prove nor disprove to myself that I exist.  Perhaps I am merely what rocks, water, trees, and air-- or let's just say the classic four elements, or the periodical table, take your pick-- imagine while locked in their dreaming, but stationary cells to pass the time away while the universe unwinds?  Are we individual minds, or merely the focal point for a universal mind-state, so that it may speak and move? Is it an "I" that exists, or something else entirely?

Crazy talk, yes.  But for me religion and quantum physics are full of crazy talk too.  Stone, wood, God.  We can define the first two pretty well in our mind.  The third?  I'm thinking it must be in the first two somewhere (as we learned decades ago-- we really don't know clouds at all). Our mind is the key.  And in some broad sense, any solution is part of the craft of being.

We worry about dying, when we are blessed with having only the now.  What more can matter want than adventure?  What more could it hope for?  The price and perhaps the reward of freedom is death.   Is not five minutes ago dead to us now?  Are we not, like Captain Kirk, an entirely new being, emerging from our teleporter, just a copy of ourselves?  Ourselves at five?  Surely we are not that?  We do not go back-- we change, we move on.  It is such a common belief by humans that we must change and move on.  Why?  We must get through this-- whatever it is.  Why? 

The universe is breaking down and falling apart, but we humans think we are advancing, evolving, growing toward an epiphany.  We move opposite to physics.  How can that be?  A curious back eddy, a resistance movement, is life.  Resisting but yielding finally.  What an honor to have had life, so improbable it seems, so fleeting, so extraordinary.

Some of these thoughts were engendered by finishing Love and Sleep, book two of  Crowley's Aegypt Cycle.  As Pierce (warning, spoiler) faces the thought of all the years it will take to recover from his setback in love, those of us who have been there know there is no going back, it will be a different Pierce that emerges healed someday.  Humans are no strangers to death, partly because we have already mourned for ourselves over and over in our lives.   Somebody probably said this, but I will say it too: life is a lot of little deaths, followed by one great big one...   (hopefully some of those little deaths were of the French sort) So, of course there are other things in life too.

One of the conceits of the Aegypt Cycle is that while Pierce at halfway through is not able to write the book he imagines, in the meta-fictional sense, Crowley is doing an excellent job for him of creating the book he cannot.  A nice touch that Pierce's struggles are a key component that is helping to accomplish his task even though it is on a different sphere-- the way Dr. Dee's angel uses his magic for deeper purposes that he cannot fathom. I do not doubt that Mr. Kelly has on occasion seen the angel JC in his stone peering out at him!

I have also speculated at times that humans exist for the creation of advance forms.  There is just not enough time for some effects to happen if left to chance.  Maybe we can create things that may change the universe, reality.  The whole thing.  I can not imagine any other purpose for invention, manipulation, craft, and ambition than to make something new.  I am not sure Dr. Dee ever got the knack of it.  But perhaps in the future things will be different.... and this time more to our favor?
Tags: john crowley, philosophy

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