So many of us stumble through life doing what we’re told is right, doing what we think the world expects of us or simply doing what feels right. Very few actually ask the question ‘why?’ for all these actions. Those who do often mire themselves in existential ennui. The crux of the question is not directed at a system of beliefs or the universality of certain requirements that society presents to an individual. No, the question is an attack at the heart of all that constitutes the human experience, ‘ Who am I? ‘. Over the millennia of civilization society has attempted to desensitize the individual to this query. We are given an easy road to follow, take these many turns at these points in your life and you will eventually land up at the end, reasonably satisfied. Don’t as the difficult question, it’s just a trap. Yes, ignorance is bliss.
It makes me wonder what exactly would happen if the people inhabiting the planet were to accurately identify their inner selves. It’s in a way analogous to fully knowing how your biological self functions, with the added twist that knowing how your body functions doesn’t give you autonomy over the functions in most cases. Knowing your desires, needs, triggers and fears in full clarity would result in a beautifully recursive process. Looking at yourself unbound of the other parts hindering you and shielding you, with enough resolve it would allow you to reshape yourself as needed. But what is doing the reshaping? Is it the present you or the future you, or a portion separate that cannot be known?
Perhaps that is why it is a difficult question that is so often left aside for safer intellectual pursuits. It’s an ever-shifting maze designed specifically to keep you trapped. It’s an outcome of the observer effect compounded tenfold. Not only does the subject change as it is being observed, but the observer is the subject as well. No wonder then that the existential crisis can be a maddening black hole. But this cannot be an excuse that lets us shy away from a challenge that is hiding away one of the most crucial truths of what it means to be human.
Kapil is a member of LSD. He likes diving into philosophical topics a little too much.