I want to get a few ideas written now, quick notes, before they fade. I was outside taking a walk. It was freezing cold, but I had the urge to dwell on this topic of who am I, really. I believe that anxiety, the unnamed fear or threat we feel (perhaps when we wake up in the morning), is actually a problem of self-identity.
It used to frighten me, the unknown feelings I had. I couldn’t pin them or give the sense a name. It was dark, weirdly hazy.
I think the answer to the question “who am I?” can’t really be self-discovered. It has to be taught. Something outside of me has to teach me or reveal my identity. It’s kind of hard to explain, so let me posit a story instead:
The world has only two people left alive. They are locked in a room and can’t get out. If they had a moral disagreement on how to live the rest of their lives, there would be no way to determine objectively who was right or wrong. There would be no consensus. There is no arbiter, no third party. It would be one word against another.
This is a standstill. This is paralysis.
When these two people meet, in this hypothetical world, and have no common point, a resolution is impossible. They eventually have to choose three basic options. First, they leave each other and live alone for the rest of their lives. Second, one removes the other from the equation (i.e., one kills the other). Third, they both commit suicide. Isn’t this a hopeless situation?
But, what if somehow, appearing from thin air, a piece of paper falls on the floor. On the paper, it is written at the top:
Stop struggling with each other. If you read these instructions carefully. I’ll let you out of the room.
My point is that in this story, my mind is the room in which the two people are trapped. In this room (my mind), there is a war between personalities, ideas, and desires. It is paralyzing. For example, today, I wake up and I think this is what I am. The next day, I feel like somebody else. The only way I’ll find my sure footing is if I realize that something else is giving me an extra option: go outside.
Anxiety is solved by going outside.