I should know better than to read existentialism before bed. I’ve been thinking recently about the problem of individuality. I’m convinced that different people experience the world in vastly different ways, but we’re doomed to spend our lives as just one mind and body.
There’s a maxim that you don’t get to join any group; only groups with you then in them. Every relationship (friendship, chance meeting) you have is irreparably marked by you, to the point that you can never know anyone the way someone else would. Every sensation, idea, and understanding you have is forever bound by the deepest quirks of your psychology. The most essential aspects of our selves are forever hidden from us because they’re built into the foundations of how we experience our lives. We’re forced to infer the basics of who we are by seeing how people react to us and who they react similarly to, and what those people are like.
Two weeks ago I was tearing my hair out thinking that what I found myself to be was so different from what I thought I was, but I decided that the situation is not as bad as I thought. As an intellectual, a kind of friend, and a citizen of the world, I’m pleased with what I am. But as a social creature? A source of creativity? A man? I see in my place a shallow husk of the creature I meant to be and it makes me sad.
So does anyone want to temporarily merge consciousness with me, so I know what it’s like to be you (and you, me)? I’ve read some experiments that suggest it’s possible, but I need a willing