“Our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing,” Alan Watts
When I was about 10 sitting in class the girl sitting behind me pulled me back to tell me some little secret. I remember that the sudden movement made me feel dizzy and for what was probably a few seconds but felt like it would become permanent, I thought I had traveled outside myself and was experiencing whatever was happening in class from above. I think this was the first time my wild imaginative child mind came to the conclusion that I couldn’t actually be sure that reality was real.
This experience, coupled with years of being an extremely shy and introverted little girl who spent hours reading whatever books I could find and talking to all the characters that came out of all those pages, resulted in the conviction that indeed the world must be only a stage and we have our entrances and get to play a character, sometimes even an interesting one, and we have our exits and get to seat in the audience and just watch while others dazzle or scare us or are just unable to make us feel anything with their performance.
Not that I ever read Shakespeare when I was 10. I was never that precocious.
If this was so there was also, I thought at the time, little proof of my existence and this conviction has lead to the creation of all the different characters that have helped hide, protect and accept myself in order to keep going. In doing so, I created a multitude of characters some of which did not even get as far enough as the dress rehearsal. Their wardrobe was ready but it never left the archival depths of countless steam trunks and old leather bags. I will have plenty of time to experiment with all that, I thought. I will just get ready for whatever or whomever it is I might feel like playing . This delusional fantasy has resulted in an “identity superflux“.
It would have probably been easier to settle for “the desirable and permanent order of things”, to follow Polonius advice and be true to my own self, but I never managed to understand how it would be possible to be just one. Facing the plurality of the world how can it be that being singular is enough?
And then you actually Realize that even if most days you still might feel that you are 10, time has passed and there might not be enough of it to stage all the plays you have been rehearsing for. Maybe only a few of us are meant for reality but life doe manage to find all of us.
The book of disquiet