Where Are You?

landscape

When you look at, hear, smell, taste or touch something, you think, “That’s the outside world.” It’s common sense. It’s beyond question. You feel yourself inside your body and think, “I’m in here, behind the eyes and that out there, that’s the outside world.” There are parts of the outside world you like better than others, but if anyone asks where you are, you can point to yourself and say, “I’m in here.” Wherever your body is, there you are too. You are, in effect, a point of awareness of here.

If you are a point of awareness, the question then becomes: how aware are you? It’s an important question because awareness and enjoyment go together. You don’t go somewhere to find enjoyment, you take it with you.

control-towerIt feels like we live in control towers at the top of our bodies. There’s a little man in a turtle-neck sweater with binoculars and headphones looking out a tower window and at a radar screen. He relays messages to you with a microphone. That’s Jimmy. He’s your brain. Sometimes he makes decisions (why wear turtleneck sweaters?) and sometimes a body part does the work, like when a ball is tossed at you and your hand catches it without Jimmy even noticing.

Is that how it works? Do you think that you are a little man (or woman) within? Is that who is behind your eyes? Are you as Descartes thought, “I think therefore I am“? Are you separated into yourself by your brain?

fractal

When you look at the outside world, it comes inside of you in reduced form. The outside world is there outside your skin. You see it and it goes within. Without you to receive, your world would not be realized. Written as a mathematical equation it is: 1 (you) + 1 (world) = 2 (your life). You are the world to yourself and an aspect of the external world to others. You are a point of awareness and so are all the other living creatures with varying degrees of awareness.

If you are the little man (or woman) within, you are inside your brain, your brain is inside your body and your body is inside the world. You can’t see your head, but you know it’s there because when you look down, you see body parts. You’ve seen yourself in reflections so you know there’s a head on top of your neck, like a cherry on top. You’ve seen your eyes – you know what colour they are – but you, as the looker, you can’t see who’s looking.

It’s like an exchange. In an exchange one person makes shoes for another person to provide produce in exchange for those shoes, but you can’t buy something unless someone has something to sell. You can’t see something unless there are eyes and something to see. What each person sees is more or less the same, except in reverse. If you are in a forest, you are the eyes of that forest, just like squirrels or owls or any other living animal is.

rainbowThink of a rainbow. A rainbow is formed by illuminated droplets centered on a line from the sun and an observer’s eye. A rainbow isn’t a rainbow without this triad. Similarly, a person can’t hear the sound of footfalls crunching on dried leaves without there being leaves, feet to crunch those leaves and hearing. For something to be heard there must be a sound and a hearer. For something to be seen there must be a seer. The world is perceived by you for you and so it is for all the other you’s like you.

A rainbow would not be visible without your angle of seeing, but why does this matter? Why should you care? Assuming you do, why do you enjoy seeing a rainbow? Do you enjoy rainbows because they are beautiful or are rainbows beautiful because you enjoy seeing them? Rainbows, like enjoyment, are ethereal. Rainbows are reminders. They are there because you see them.

Take away opinions and the ideas we have about each other and there you have it: the famous it as found in the sentence, “It is snowing,” or “It feels good.” What is this it?

It is enjoyment.

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Published by

Darrel

A Philosopher of Enjoyment.

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