December 3, 2020

We are neither mirror, nor carbon paper, nor kodak fixation

We are systems of mediations of immediacy

Fusions of action, feeling, meaning

— Dewey

EDIT: This thought was longer. It doesn’t need to be. Instead of the whole tree, here’s a seed.

Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

These questions are compelling. And misleading. They assume self the center of it’s own universe.

I don’t believe it is.

I believe identity is a by-product. An interactional phenomenon.

There’s this organism (a human body) interacting with it’s environment (the world). The interaction between body and world produces me.

In other words:

I don’t have a body so much as a body has me in response to it’s environment.

What happens when an organism, with a massive brain acts in the world, and has time to reflect: Me.

I’m not a question. I’m answer.

That’s a bit heady. Let’s get concrete:

A seed is planted.

With soil, rain, and sun it grows: root, stalk, stem.

Finally, fruit.

If it helps, you can think of your body as a tree. Your identity, a bit of fruit, dangling.

(Or maybe a blossom. Pick your fauna. It’s just a metaphor.)

What does it mean to believe I’m a byproduct?

A lot.

Here’s one thing I think it means:

When my body dies so do I.

The interaction between body and world ceases. The byproduct of that interaction ceases.

The tree dies, the fruit dies with it.

No whafty essence. No ethereal afterlife.

The only life after your death are the seeds you sow.

If it helps you can think of the interaction like a conversation. Might as well make it an interesting one.