Who Am I?

September 23, 2004

Have you ever considered the question where are you really?

Let’s start by defining a house: What is a house? Usually it
is built for a purpose—it has some relevance and function. A
house is built up from various different components that are
combined and put together from basic materials and miner-
als. In other words, a combination of materials put together in
a certain order is called a house. This house is not outside of
the world from which it is put together. A house can be old,
young, stylish, ugly, ruined, or abandoned. At the end of its
existence, it is again just various materials in another order
that is no longer called a house. So what was the house?

OK, back to us. Who am I? Am I the body that is com-
bined in a particular order from stem cells? Now we have
learned to replace our broken arms, hearts, and other organs
with new ones. We can even start to grow entirely new body
parts from our very own stem cells. We can be young, old,
beautiful, ugly, sick, or healthy. And at the end of the day we
are just a bunch of materials in different order and we are
called dead. So what was me?

As we defined, a house is a combination of things from its
surroundings. It is not outside of the world. It is part of the
world. But still the house is something that is separate
because we call it a house. If it were not separate, why should
it have a name? Something nonexistent cannot be seen or
realized. A separation means that it has boundaries and can
be put in relation to something.

When we are very young we do not know the difference
between our own body and the outside world. We learn this
separation from others. We can observe and sense things
around us that are not us. We do not feel them or cannot con-
trol them. So we come to a conclusion that they must not be
us. Similarly, in the way we call a bunch of materials laid
together in a particular order a house, other people call us by
name. Other people define us and we learn to be that whatev-
they have given us.

House has a particular function or purpose. But what is
our purpose? Why are we at the same time separate from the
world but still part of the world as well (we do not live outside
of the world)? We are a bunch of materials put together in a
particular order and we have a certain concentration of atoms
or energy from which other people recognize us. So could this
separation serve a purpose? Why should we be separated from
the world if that would not be meaningful? No one would
build a house if the house would not have any function. There
would not even be a word house in that case. A separation
named house within the world serves a purpose for us—it
shelters and gives us a place to stay. But a house cannot
acknowledge itself. We can. Why should we be aware of our
separation and existence if that would not serve a purpose? It
would be totally strange to use energy to put something
together without any purpose.

So, who am I? For sure I am this separation called by my
name. I should be also part of the world because I’m built
upon the materials found in the world. But when my heart is
replaced or my leg is lost I do not vanish with them. So they
are not me. There seems to be other people like me. They
behave the same, they talk and communicate. Their existence
seems similar to mine. Still, they seem not to be me. There are
also other living things that are called animals and plants. I’m
not so sure of them because they do not communicate like
humans do. But I’m sure they exist as well. They live outside
of me.

Somehow it is difficult to go further from here. There
really does not seem to be a me, only this separation within
the world that is recognized by others. They have defined me,
and I am built upon things found in the world. My conclusion
is that there is no me or I could say as well that I am the world
because I’m part of it and live in it. This temporary separation
called me is like a house. But what is a house? My purpose is
to realize the separation as an illusion and as not more than
atoms laid in a particular order. A temporary concept built
upon to realize the concept of me—and its oneness with the
world. A separation to realize its oneness. And then shall I be
no more separated.

This is the original text, and an edited version can be found in the Fragments of Reality -book.