How many times do I ask myself who I am? I live a life and only occasionally wonder about what should be the surest thing in that life, my being. What do I know better than my to be or not? What could I know as well? Why being at all seems never a question I raise, yet should be the first question I ask. I am, therefore I think. A new first philosophy? Being is what is, is all there is if anything is at all. My being is in itself, apart from necessity, without cause.
Hamlet’s dilemma is a decisive moment in the history of consciousness. His to be or not to be is the question, and not just in its relationship to suicide, which, if it happens or not, if it is fulfilled either way, is less important than the question is in its most overarching and far-reaching implications. Shakespeare was far too intelligent to restrict such a question as Hamlet’s to suicide and suicide alone. Everything I do has being wrapped up in it; the move toward being or non-being is essential in everyone’s life.
The question of whether to be or not to be is also asked by the contrastive pair of whether to be or to become for becoming is also not being. This does not mean that being and becoming are mutually exclusive–they are not, mutually exclusive. But they are nevertheless separate, self-contained. To become is to be, for certain, but coming is never arriving. To arrive is to have reached a destination. Being is either a destination or a persistent immutable state, I can ask. Now if life is a journey, no one could be said to be in anything other than that journey; as you travel to your destination, you are not at the destination, on your plane to Paris you are only on your plane to Paris, you are going as you are coming, but you have yet to arrive. Being can not be a destination.
One is as one becomes; they are mutual as they are coexistent, co-spatial, co-temporal. They are contained in the I am and the I am not, both of which coexist simultaneously for everyone. God, the Absolute, the One and Transcendent, is in no part becoming. He, She or It is pure being, pure actuality, in no part potential. The further we swing from the God-like in the formation of our humanity, the more we are bound by animal potential.
The crux in the to be or not to be, though, is that no one can assess his being fully until he is dead, just at the time when he ceases both to become and to be. It is only at Death that one brings a halt to the stage of becoming that always interrupts one’s being.What then do we? How then? A contemporary American Hamlet would ask himself, to do or not to do? For Americans, utility is the thing.
How has doing supplanted being and becoming in our world, and America is a world as dense as the earth herself, and Earth is she, not it; but then I also insist that God is He, She and It, all three, mutually and simultaneously. If He can be Father, Son and Holy Ghost all of them all at once entirely each together as one, then God can also be He, She and It the same way. But then we would have to understand pronominal references differently; we would have to think of our being differently than we do, than we have for more than a hundred years.
American dilemmas aside and not displacing of the weightier human dilemmas facing everyone; the paradox of being and becoming reveals itself perpetually, day-to-day . . . the petty pace, you know, how it comes by tomorrow after tomorrow . . . and everyone’s petty paces are as significant as Macbeth’s. Macbeth and Hamlet, my brothers, as are you, my hypocrite readers, all my sisters as well. However . . .