Philosophy: The You in Everything
The philosopher Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason noted that all experience occurs in time and space. Time and space, are part of everything — at least everything we humans can experience — and come with reality like white on rice. Kant was obsessed with pointing out these sorts of required and universal similarities of all human thought and sensation.
But there’s another constant in all your experiences and it’s as unique as your fingerprints. It’s the you in everything. Every movie you see, every box of popcorn you eat, every roller coaster you ride, every perfect summer’s day, forested mountain, or distant galaxy — real or imagined — is seen only through your eyes, tasted by your tongue, and known in your mind.
What if you walked into a library or a bookstore and your name was on every book?
Now that would be strange. But even if other people wrote the books, you are always the one reading them. You are always the reader. “Your Name, Reader,” might as well be printed invisibly right there on every book. As the “author” of your every thought and sensation, you are accustomed to the you in everything.
How strange: you always end up being the same person.
Every sunset you see, there you are, and it’s the same you. Is this not incredibly strange? You are omnipresent in all your experiences and you are always yourself and no one else.
Strangeness of Being
The specificity of your being you, this time, this place, this self, is ridiculously specific. So particular and specific, and accidental, yet your existence is for you a permanent and familiar presence in all your experience. Strange that the peculiarities of your particular self — your hair color, your grade point average, your Social Security number — would be so random yet so permanent, and always along for the ride.
Appreciate for a moment the strange coincidence of being you.
Being you is nothing less than remarkable. Being you is both permanent, well, for as long as you live, and yet nearly impossible.
A roll of trillions of dice came up . . . you.
The odds of you being here are nearly zero. That the history of the Universe would include you is incalculably absurdly unlikely. Yet here you are. And now everything, including the galaxies and stars and continents and the sensation of taking a breath, are known only through you. You can imagine being someone else and assume that they can imagine being you. But you end up being the only being actually experiencing, thinking, feeling.
We each get just one conscious existence, and one linear set of experiences. You happened to get a consciousness that happened to read this article and perhaps has begun to appreciate the astounding coincidence of being you. You might even ask, “Why me?” The answer: Because you are incredibly, strangely, weirdly, impossibly lucky. The Universe rolled the dice. You won. A great deal of inanimate matter did not. Look up at the stars and try and comprehend the strangeness of always being you.
Ever wonder Who Cares About You?You could have been a tree