Sunday, January 27, 2008
Quiet places fit the mood for some recollection. The only question now is: what is there to recollect? Times like this had me inescapably turning deep into myself to think profoundly about, well, myself. Who am I? Why am I here? What direction am I heading to? After much pondering, a few answers descend upon me, although some leave more questions, which required more recollections as time allows.
I shift my weight on one side of the seat. I look around. The birds flying, the trees swaying like some friends who can’t run to one another’s side to have a group hug, the rocks strewn upon the earth—do they also recollect as I do now? If no, bless their souls, given that they have souls. If yes, what do they gather? Do they look deep into themselves? Or do they explore outside realities?
It’s amazing when I come to think of myself and leave recollecting but wanting to know more. There is not just enough time or opportunity to explore myself, to know the real me. There is this self that I know that others know as well. There is this self that I know that others don’t. Then there is this self that others know but I don’t. And then this self that neither I nor others are even aware of. Nothing’s just perfect. No matter how much time or energy I invest in philosophizing, I can only make a close approach to knowing. Although I am left wanting, I paradoxically get satisfied. Why won’t I, when many things like philosophy are always farther away? It’s enough to approximate, than never being able to come close to anything at all.
Close. Just when is something close? Even as I lay down the questions to gather the answers later, there is no guarantee I can have these answers. But I can get close. I think deeply of myself, then assume I get enlightened enough to have come close to knowing myself more. If I think hard enough about others, can I also approximate enough to know them more? Outside myself are the realities of God, my family, my friends. If I ponder upon my relationships with them, will I become enlightened about who they really are, and why they are ever related to me at all?
There are times when I think that I’m better off alone. I don’t have to pick up the phone and connect with contacts, force a smile when I chance upon someone I know in the mall, join my family for dinner. I’m better off alone because I can think more of myself without having to bother that others exist outside myself. Perhaps, when others don’t exist, I will discover so much more about the real me. When I think get started thinking about myself, outside realities force themselves in, asking in SMS the assignment some professor had us read, or commenting how sleep-deprived I look while groceries are waiting to be picked, or telling me to lead the prayer before meals.
On the other hand, perhaps this is really the point why others exist in my life: for them to complete my profile. That I actually need them to define myself. That without their influence, I will not be who I really am. That each time they text me, come across me in all places, bond with me, they are actually contributing to the self I think hard of knowing. In which case, I’m better off alone only if and when relationships cease to define humankind altogether. I assume that I can only exist relative to the existence of others.
Maybe this is the point of having to reflect about the person that I am. I am being called to relate to others to fulfill this end. I can be the person others help mold into existence, hence the need to relate to them lovingly. On the other hand, this relationship with others is an end in itself, for as motives of my existence, others—God, family, friends—are only different from me because we are independent ideal entities. Otherwise, we are all one and the same, bound by the common search for identity.