“Cogito Ergo Sum” or “I think therefore I am” is the famous quote by Descartes, which is also said to define existentialism. But what if our ability to think were only another tool at our disposal, and not at all what defines us?
Then what would define us? Something else? And what would that something else be? Can it be defined? If it can be defined, then only with our thoughts, which is then no longer valid, so how do I define who I am?
Without getting stuck in semantics, or an intellectual ride which takes us for a loop, which can be interesting, but leaves us where we began, I believe this is a very important question that should be addressed through dialogue. Will you join me?
Do we define ourselves by not defining ourselves?
Maybe we should only allow ourselves to go as far as to defining who we aren’t and leave the self-confidence of who we are just “be” without definition, definition of thought of action of belongings? Will I all of a sudden dissolve, evaporate, appear in a distant galaxy if I don’t define myself? Would my entire existence be erased if I didn’t think? Has anyone tried?
Ok, I’ve tried. Imagining myself being like an onion. Peeling off layer after layer after layer, after layer, after layer after layer. Consciously and slowly imagining myself with one less layer after the other, the goal being to get to a layerless hub of some kind.
I’m peeling off the layers that “I am defined by”. Starting with my physical appearance, the way I dress, the way I keep my hair, then my skin and eye color, the shape of my body and of my face, peeling it off. The way I speak, my humor, my educational background, my family background, the part of my family, the part of my friends, the part of my lovers that defines me, peeling it off. My lifestyle, how and where I live, how i choose to spend my day, my hobbies, my work, peeling it off. My desires, hopes, dreams, insecurities and fears, peeling them off. All until what’s left is my confused thoughts. The tiny naked part of the onion still left floating in nothingness, in relation to nothing, hearing its thoughts louder than ever.
That’s how far I’ve come.
But with my thoughts I could theorize, intellectualize about the possibility that even beyond the naked little onion core without even my thoughts I couldn’t be nothing and would still have to be (something). I guess intellectualizing about a thoughtless state is a paradox. But what is left to us when mere thought is the adversary; endless meditation?
In the words of a great thinker; “choiceless awareness”.
“I relate, therefore I am”….How about knowing through relating to others, to environments and to situations? Could that be a possible definition of “beingness”?
Although, I agree with the comment from Alexandra, that maybe we are scared to stop defining ourselves? At least, in the western notion, are we constantly occupied with categorizing so that we can define ourselves and others. And maybe, categorizing so that we can tell us apart.
I’m interested in looking at things through the eyes of others. Maybe, if we stoped categorizing, and started to get to know our world through others, we could get a step farther in the learning process. My suggestion is; not to assume that everything has to be in order of what I know and I learned previously so It can fit into my personal cosmos. My suggestion is that we open our minds and try to look and learn things in our nature by looking at it through others. My suggestion is that we could learn a great deal about human kind and environments when we start to relate and not be so scared of stepping over categories.
I agree; every relationship helps me define who I am, and that is ultimately of the highest value. Thank you!