The Illusion of You: Finding Meaning in Not Existing
I heard that every 7 years that all the cells in your body are replaced. There’s been studies done on that. Old cells get replaced, so the physical version of you that exists now is literally completely different to the one that existed 7 years ago. If you want more definitive evidence, find some text conversations you had from 7 years ago and you’ll see that you are not the same person today (And you will undoubtedly cringe). The Illusion of You is powerful.
I am comfortable admitting that there are at least 9 versions of me that I am aware of, and I am also confident that the version of me that you know is exactly none of them. Such is life. There are no two people alive or dead who know the same version of you. You don’t even know an exact version of you, which means that ‘You’ don’t exist at all. The ‘You’ you know is just a placeholder to make yourself feel more comfortable. Now, there’s an idea we all love to avoid.
Naturally, I would also instinctively lean towards viewing this as a negative. It’s not exactly fun to acknowledge the non-existence of yourself. Yet, you don’t really exist, mainly because it’s impossible to pin down exactly who ‘you’ are.
But is that really a bad thing? You aren’t the you which you think you are, which can be devastating, but that also means you could be anybody, and that’s liberating. The you who you believe yourself to be is only the you which you want other people to see, but it’s really who you are. It’s a simulation of you. It’s not the full picture. It is not a true objective observation – it is the observation you wish to see. It is important that we consider this more frequently.
You don’t know exactly who you are, and you never will. There are blind spots in your mind that stretch out for eternity. You will have to accept that. There are also far bigger blind spots that other people will have for you. Other people will summarize you in seconds. They’ll project a version of you that they need, rather than one that is true. This is why some people will hate you no matter what you do – people need their villains.
At least we can hope that your inaccurate depiction of yourself will give you longer than a moment’s consideration, and ideally you’ll give yourself more slack and understanding, but often your summary gives far less leeway than other people will allow you. The important part to remember is that no one will get it right entirely, not even you. You can’t equate the complexity of you into a few short sentences. It’s a one dimensional answer to a multi-dimensional question.
So if no one can pin you down correctly, not even yourself, what exactly is there to worry about? Someone will always get it wrong, no matter what it is that you do. There will be misconceptions, and poor judgements. You will make most of them yourself. You will do things and people will draw conclusions about you from those actions. And so what? That makes none of them true. You will never know your true nature. And that is literally the entire point. Your true nature is a chameleon, rather than a rigid formulation.
This life is not about you or me. It is about the people we affect. The truest definition of you is not to be found in how people think about you, it is found in how you make other people feel. Because how people feel about you is not rationalised, or debated, or considered. It develops naturally, unconsciously, which means that even if you’re a prick sometimes, they will still feel the same way about you generally, despite some glaring inconsistencies on your account. A temporary idea of you will not distort the way a person feels about you. The feeling is fundamental. It’s almost impossible to shake off. Our favourite people can wrong us a thousand times and we’ll still love them, even if we don’t wish to.
This is why the gut feeling is so essential. It will tell you exactly how you feel about a person from the first moment. We often choose to ignore it because we are told to. We’re told to listen to words instead paying attention to actions, and this is misleading. Observation is far more important than hearing is. You know straight away whether you consider a person to be good or bad. And you should listen to this intuition regardless of what your mind has to say about it.
There is no true You. It doesn’t exist. You are malleable and subject to context and reflective. You don’t exist any more than I do. Which means who You are has no limitations. We’re the only ones who set the limits, and we do it often. You are fluid, so it’s up to you to choose how that fluid looks. You can either put it in a small bottle and cork it, or you fill and entire ocean. It’s up to You, even if You aren’t real.
Be good, drink water,