Who are you?

Parts of this writing was inspired by memories of a lecture by Alan Watts

Who are you? You are just an organism living on a planet in a solar system in a galaxy in a cluster in a supercluster in a universe…and who is to say that there aren’t bigger levels than a universe that we just cannot detect with light (energy)? We know that you as an organism can be divided into organs, composed of tissue, made of cells, governed by DNA, which is made of atoms, made of electrons, protons, and neutrons, which are made of quarks, and who is to say that this too doesn’t continue infinitely.

But as an organism, living on a planet for a finite amount of time, there are only three things that matter in your life. Your experiences, your memories, and your predictions.

Your experiences are a series of events which occur at a particular location in space, at a particular moment in time. Some experiences span large distances of space and time, others not. Whenever you remember something, the event occurring is “experiencing a memory”. The only memories that you experience (for any duration of time) are the significant ones - the ones that have shaped your life...or is it the other way around? The only experiences that you remember (for any duration of time) are the significant ones, the ones that will shape your life. Both statements must be true.

So with increasing time, only the most significant events remain remembered. And as you experience events in present time, only the most significant events are committed to memory for any length of time. The less significant the event, the sooner it is forgotten.

Experiencing a memory is living in the past, experiencing an event is living in the present. Using your memories of experiences in the past to predict the event that will occur is living in the future.

Knowledge is nothing more than a set of rules deduced from events to help predict future events. The better you understand the true physical nature of events which occur, the more accurately you will be able to predict future events / the more knowledge and understanding you have. But then you just spend your whole life dissecting past events, instead of living in the present.

So life is a balance, a yin and a yang. During events that you decide are enjoyable, you want to experience the events and not worry about remembering them…but then after the event you want to be able to remember experiencing it. What governs whether or not we enjoy an event/experience? Our predictions based on the memories of similar events in the past.

For an event experienced for the first time, there is a large amount of uncertainty, which leads to fear in most organisms, and bravery/aggression in some. The more knowledge/understanding an organism has, the more likely that they will have some memory of a similar event to base predictions off of. The less knowledgeable the organism, the more likely it will interpret events with uncertainty and caution.

So events are more likely to be enjoyable the better you understand them, however the more you understand the less there is to enjoy. Getting there is the fun part. The mystery is what keeps it interesting. But perhaps it reaches a plateau, a point where you have reached equilibrium. This is the tipping point, so to speak. Now the more you understand, the less you can enjoy. You have to find the balance.