In his novel, The Midnight Library, Matt Haig writes that “We only need to be one person” and yet, Duke University Professor of Philosophy and Neurobiology, Owen Flanagan, writes that “we are not one thing”. We are never just one thing, never just one personality, never even just one self. You are not only “Your current self”, as John Green explains, but also “all the selves you used to be “. We are legion, for we are many. “[We are] large,” as Walt Whitman says, we “contain multitudes”. We are not individual. We are not indivisible. We are a collected amalgamation. The magic of reading then isn’t so much that a single self can seep inside an autonomous other, but that our multiplicity of personalities can meet, mix, and mingle inside the heart and mind of another person whose many selves so closely mirror and match our own. We are can never be everything because at our most fundamental we are nothing, that is, we are no-thing. Flanagan writes that “what there is, and all there is, is an unfolding” and “what we call and conceive as ‘things’ are relatively stable processes or events inside the Mother of all unfoldings” This summation includes ourselves. We are not things or objects. We are not concrete fixtures of static solidity. We are fibrous and fluctuating. We are fluid and fluxing. We are the process of a personage made present. We are subjects, but even then we are subjects only in so far as we are subject to the event of our own unfolding subjectivity. And perhaps, we are simply so unaccustomed to knowing how to inhabit all of our no-thing-ness.
We are the unfolding singularity that leads us to love. Whatever we were, whatever we have been prior is simply an iterative fluxing in the process of bending towards this moment. Whatever we become now will only be a result of that expanding epoch unfurling us further into the fabric of our us-ness… and the universe itself is better for it.
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