I like questions. The really good ones are far more interesting than quick answers. Watching the science of coronavirus unfold, I’m fascinated as I see intelligent public health officials leaning towards “I don’t know” on the knowing/not knowing spectrum. Some things are mysterious.
I like the question “Who am I?” I’ve felt into it for decades, knowing that cool answers are far beyond the realms of occupation, gender, age, physical appearance and even personality. How about that? A question whose answer remains elusive after all these years.
And sometimes I’m even more deeply lost in a question. Two of them have enthralled me ever since I was in diapers (okay … not quite). The first one seems very strange. The second one infinite.
How did I get in here?
The “here” I’m talking about is this particular human body. I seem to be inside this basket of flesh and associated structures. I turn my head to look at something and I swear that I’m behind those eyes, searching for the next new thing. But why? How come I’m not inside my neighbour or the host I see on the evening news? Did someone flick a magic switch and insert me into this body?
Could it be that I’m not really inside this fleshed-out skeleton? I see a tree out the window. Why am I not embedded within those branches instead of in this shape that’s sitting on the couch? Maybe all this interior viewpointing is a mirage. Perhaps I’m inside you when I gaze into “your” eyes.
Hmm. I’m getting confused again. I feel so localized inside this head and chest, but could it be that I’m … everywhere?
However, if I’m willing to accept the consensual wisdom that I’m in this body, may I ask a simple question? Who put me in here?
Okay. Enough of that. Time for question number two:
Does the universe end?
I look around at things. Take that tree for instance. I’m staring at it now. No leaves yet so the branches are in sharp relief. The wooden parts are “tree”. The spaces around the wooden parts – grass and sky – are “not tree”. Same with me when I look in the mirror. I see Bruce and the shower curtain behind. That curtain is clearly “not Bruce”. There’s a point where I end.
Seems clear enough. But what about the universe? Does it end somewhere? If so, what’s outside of the universe?! The question stops my mind. It throws me into a spasm of “Where am I? Where are we?” Doesn’t everything have to end somewhere? (I don’t know.)
Woh. Too much thinking. Too many explosions inside wherever I am. Maybe I should just hunker down with a Captain America movie … and a hot chocolate. Much simpler.