So this is what it’s like to be dead. Well not dead exactly, more like I don’t exist anymore. Yesterday I was thinking of re-inventing myself, but somehow I went a little too far and erased myself right out of existence completely. That’s the trouble when you think too much, you start asking too many questions and then wham, you ask the million dollar question that invalidates your whole existence.
Look what happened to Job. He asked so many questions that God had to come down out of Heaven to shut the boy up before he made the whole system collapse. God was furious over that one. He kept muttering to Job to gird up his loins like a man and justify why he felt qualified to question God’s ways. Job was lucky; he got off with a warning.
Descartes tried it too. He locked himself in his room and decided he was going to figure this whole idea of existence out, maybe even prove that God did in fact exists and that the only reason nobody had seen him since Moses was because he was on holiday in some far off corner of the universe. Descartes nearly erased himself as well. He asked so many questions that the only thing left in existence was him on a tiny island, no birds, no trees, no ocean, no sky – nothing. He would have done it too, but at the last minute he suddenly remembered an important meeting he didn’t want to miss. He rescued himself by uttering, ‘I think; therefore I am.’
For me it started out rather innocently. It was a nice day. Unseasonably warm according to the weatherman, so I decided to take a walk down to the little stream in the woods behind my house. The woods were quiet, peaceful even. It was the kind of quiet that almost begs you to stop and think. And that should have been my clue to turn around and go home, but I lingered on. I saw a rabbit basking in a patch of sun. With the purest of intentions, I simply wondered out loud, ‘what is it like to be rabbit from the rabbit’s point of view? If I could talk to it, how would it describe reality?’
Then like poking a hole in a damn, more questions followed. What is reality? How do I know these woods and that rabbit are real?
I took out some loose change in my pocket; is money real?
I looked up at the sky; what are space and time?
Am I dreaming or am I awake?
And it went on like that for hours. Question after question I asked, and for every answer I came up with, more questions followed. I became obsessed with questions. I walked home and questioned everything on the way back.
It was then that I made the fatal mistake. I looked in the mirror and asked the one question that has ruined many a good man: Who am I?
Whoever said that ignorance is bliss was right. I wish now that I had heeded their wise counsel, because who I thought I was turned out not to be who I am.0