Sunday, May 16, 2021

The paradox of me

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“And this is the strangest of all paradoxes of the human adventure; we live inside all experience, but we are permitted to bear witness only to the outside. Such is the riddle of life and the story of the passing of our days.”
― Howard Thurman

Who are you?


There are multiple possible answers to this question, and I dare to say that most of them are probably wrong. I could define myself by my name, but this wouldn't set me apart from all other people who bear the same name. Even first and last name - fun fact: I've had contact with two Ricardo Prins already, one in South Africa, and another in Amsterdam (and I know there are others).

Another possibility would be my beruf, my profession, my trade: I am a Software Engineer...but is it really a characteristic that can represent the full extent of my existence? After all, I haven't always been it. I was once a student, I am still a student, I was once a fool, I am still a fool, and so on. The list is really long.

I can't define myself. Perhaps I am, at the same time, the collection of all individual moments from birth till death - millisecond by millisecond in an individual manner, as well as the sum of all these moments viewed from an external perspective, when time ends for me. This second way of viewing my existence would also require a third person with a full knowledge of things: God.

My sleepless nights have grown more constant, just as they had been in my teenage years. With them, many hours of philosophical pondering, TV series, books, nice discussions with my friends from the other side of the world, and so on. I'm here now: one o'clock in the morning, after thirty minutes scraping information about the people who had studied with me in high school. 

Who was I back then? A fool, for sure. Youth was terrible for me, in all possible aspects. Why then was I reminiscing about such a terrible period of my life? I don't know. I've hesitated even in hitting the friendship request button on Facebook. Actually, I haven't added a single person as a friend. That didn't make any sense for me, having them as friends I mean.

I have been building a life for myself - even that sentence doesn't make any sense to me - but I still have no idea who that 'self' is.

All I know is this: I am, even if I have no idea what that means. I cannot remember not being, and I'm probably stuck with being, forever. Perhaps one day I'll know who (or what) am I, really.


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About Ricardo Prins
Ricardo Prins is a Software Engineer who thinks that technology is not the answer to all our problems.

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