The world has gone crazy, nearly everyone agrees.
‘This is unprecedented!’ People exclaim, forgetting that every moment is unprecedented.
What they mean when they say the world has gone crazy is that things are not normal, and, combine that with unprecedented, it means, for the first time, there is no normal!
Now, I’ve always wondered why there are not more movies where the main character has amnesia, because amnesia is a fascinating condition: the past is gone!
What would happen without that? Not to mention all the emotional baggage I drag behind me as I enter a new relationship? And all the failures I painfully live with every day?
A tiny problem: if I can’t remember anything about anything how can I function in society? Identity! Identity! Identity! My ID includes my name and address, Date of Birth, gender, ethnicity, marital status, criminal record – all documented! All on a large sign outside my house and all in government computers.
(And my personal history, which hopefully is not on a government computer. )
OMG! I am nothing!
I happen to know someone who went through all that loss of identity. It was my brother, three years younger than me. He lived alone, in the country, in an old house on a farm with a few cattle and his dog. He’d sit under a persimmon tree with his book, and his hand on the head of his pet bull which sat down just like a dog beside him. He had a good friend – an ex-rally driver – who lived on a farm close by and he’d go over there and watch rally videos.
One night he went to bed without tending the kitchen fire. He woke to the house on fire. I saw it afterwards and it had burnt to the ground. He first went to go out the door but was burned on his face and hands so climbed out a window; blackberry bushes grew close to the house and he was scratched as he struggled through them. He next drove to his friend’s house and was driven to hospital.
Ending up in ICU in a special burns unit in Sydney, he slowly recovered. But he had lost his Birth Certificate, Driver Licence, Deeds to his farm, everything – every document that had identified his life.
He was dead within the year.
Within six months he had died of some sort of organ failure: he was admitted to hospital finding it hard to breathe; on morning of his death he fully expected to go home. But the ‘cause’ of death was not known, the policeman told me and that was why his body was held and would most likely be autopsied, and why ‘unknown cause’ (or something like that) was noted by the hospital, and the death treated as suspicious. In the end there was no autopsy and the body was released and I arranged his funeral.
What was the ‘cause of death’? I wondered if it was ‘loss of identity’, because he seemed to be only partly alive after the burns and the house and everything going. His ‘me’ had vanished on him!
He could have embraced an entirely fresh start, and was beginning to; we were talking about him buying a boat and living on it, and I wanted to help him do that, using my experience of cruising yachts, but it wasn’t to be. At the age of 73, this was still possible!
Enlightenment is letting go of the past, or having no past, it’s being in the present, being an amnesiac! Being with whatever is, with no resistance. Without a ‘me’, without an identity, because your ‘you’ is a story, a movie, and is all made up, is false, a phantom, a fantasy.
Dear brother, you are here with me now, that’s where you are. Where else could you be? And you are what you are.
Brother, you lived life as you chose, including (I could say) self-immolation. Why don’t you come and tell me what it’s like, on the other side of that?
Before death of the ‘me’, drink coffee and go wee-wee. After death of the ‘me’, drink coffee and go wee-wee.