Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?Tom Bombadil, The Lord of The Rings, page 131
I don’t know whether I ask myself who am I? too many times or if others don’t ask that of themselves enough. Though, I suspect I have asked too many times because I am starting to feel like Zoolander.
Have you asked yourself who, or what, you are when you’re not compared against, or connected to, something else? I am a dad because I have children. Being a father requires the existence of, and connection, to children. Otherwise, the meaning of the term father loses its meaning. What does it mean to be me?
I ran across a fanfic of The Lord of The Rings where after Tom asks the question, Sam, or Frodo, turns to the other. Sam/Frodo proceeds to offer a confession of love, and the mini-story ends with, Who am I, alone, and Nameless? I am yours.
As romantic as that is, it doesn’t get to the root of the question. That romantic sentiment highlights the requirement that identity be tied exclusively to the connection or opposition to others. It requires that I am be forever connected to you, or I am ceases to exist because it becomes we are. It sidesteps the question. Or, at worst, It avoids the question via romance.
There should be no question among those who have read my blog posts, or are friends, family, and acquaintances, that I subscribe to the belief that there is no self – that feeling of being behind your face or inside your head, that sense of being located. When you search for the seat of attention, the thinker, the observer, the self, there is nothing to find. After all, how can that feeling, that sensation, etc., be anything more than an appearance in consciousness?
If the sense of self is an illusion, doesn’t that suggest that other identities are constructs and illusions as well? Caucasian (race), Mormon (religion), Democratic Anarchist (politics), whatever, are all labels, concepts, and illusory identities. Why do we cling to them? Why do we allow these various identities to possess us?
I continue to ask the question, who am I, alone and nameless, to see if there is an answer other than the one at which I keep arriving. What is that answer? I am Nothing, I am everything; I AM.