Ontological Self; or, Transcendental Me

Where and when are here and now. All writing has immediacy, an unavoidable presentness about it, and what I say here in words on a page, printed for easy reading because my handwriting is shit, is in the moment. I am who I am even when I am not being the me I have been before, a me correlative only to a contingent I, an I that others I know might not recognize. I am me with every stranger I meet even if with that stranger I lie through my teeth and tell no truth in the factual sense of truth we sometimes hold too pedantically dear, close without feeling.

I am. This is simple enough because all lists of attributes are modes of subtraction, really. I am unable to be sum-totaled; I am macrocosmic to all microcosms, the microcosm of history, the one of state, of government, of gender, of sexual orientation, of religion, of politics, of political affiliation, of job, of class, et cetera.Who am I? I do not ask this question because as I have said above, I am that I am when I am who and what I am wherever I am however it is that I am me. I am subject and object and subject complement and every other way of stating my being in words, which means language, which means in grammar, which exists independent of politics, if you will, before it, although rhetoric is not.

Do you need an answer to each of these questions now that I am herein mentioning them as not having the relevance you insist they have. Now that it has come to the fore that I have not before answered or even attempted to answer any of these questions you think are useful–unless what I have thus far said could be said to have some say in the matter of my who and my what, at least in the ways you prefer to frame discussions of being, because you do discuss being even when you argue that being is impossible, or improbable, and the only thing we have is perpetual becoming into becoming into becoming yet again, all of it without gain.

You have decided you do not need to ask yourself the once pressing questions of being, whether existence precedes essence or vice-versa, and all the essences, the prefab essentials of our being precede the existence I have, and determine who I am, certainly what I am. You probably haven’t realized that you decided this, or why you might have, if that is in fact what has been done. The only determinism of your being, though, is the fact that you believe your life has been horribly determined, which coincides with a culture that gorges itself on victimhood and philosophies of victimization. These determinisms you believe you uncover, are in fact created by a system of belief you have firmly placed yourself inside of, and this self enclosure masquerades in your diction as inescapable determinism.

I am who I am that I am when I am how I am where I am even why I am, I say, I think, therefore I believe; belief displaces dialectic in me. What then do I say about all the interrogatives that can be extended from eacc relative pronominal relationship to my I. Everyone thinks that who what when where and why are important, very important, but then I am who I am, as I am what am I, where I am, and so on. I have not answered these questions in any way that proves overarching to my becoming; to my being is another thing, another essay, perhaps. You probably haven’t asked yet these questions ontologically. What are our theories of being? Do we have them, or do we only have theories of becoming, perpetual, endless becoming.

To philosophize is to learn how to die we know from Montaigne, but imagination is necessary to philosophize I learned from Doc Green as I called him, Doc. Imagination most people do not associate with philosophy, nor do they with eternity, as Blake reminds us time and again that imagination is the doorway to the eternal. Imagination was a faculty of mind most highly prized by the Romantics, suspicious of rationality as they were, or how the rational was used s a tool against humanity, the great human humane when human is only human when humane, as the French distinguish duality between the two in one word, humaine, and we Anglo saxon speakers create dichotomy with our tongue. But then I suspect this is why in a country so seemingly committed to democracy and freedom we can speak out of the mouths of our leaders with forked tongues. The Nazis and the Bolsheviks were both hyper-rational, not imaginative, unless it was in the expenditures on torture, oppression, and murder.

Yet, who I am, when I am, where I am, with whom I am, how I am before I become what I am–yes, I am and I am not simultaneously. All is lost to other loses. I will be, but I will not be as well. This question of identity; you know Identity spells id entity. The it within; monsters again arising inside of me. Round and round I go, the Italians say, gira, gira . . . each pose I take posits somewhere outside of me something imposed inside of me. Imposing, posing, positing, depositing, a repository of a kind, this Self of selves within. What do I gain by the poses I take? Each intake, each out-take, put as it might be. Again, who am I? is the question who are we? I am once again . . .

Wondering who I am within who we are, this who we are by who I am all about when I am or where I am, and when and where I am going; to come and go. I become when I be-go. I am a cosmogony that does not get repeated; yet I am also all of humanity. The fact that I am cosmogonic allows me to stand in for all human beings, a posture I take, and I do take postures as well as pose them, put them on as I put on everyone else–all the world’s a stage . . . I do become anyone I need to be. I am many; thus I am we. But what I need to be is often a mystery to me.

Every time I look in the mirror with the question, who am I, I get a different answer. The I I am depends on coordinates of time and space drawn by another hand. Eternity lurks in me, I have assumed, like a trace of the background radiation on spectral analysis of the cosmos. To be or to become is present in my choice now, and we always choose to be or to become, we cannot avoid choosing. Choice is always for the taking; each choice a chance we encounter; every chance results in our fortune or misfortune. Who I am trips me up. I’m not especially clumsy, but all this wondering about who I am what I have been when I will be what and where, how or why . . . I never watch my feet as I walk down a flight of stairs. You know why the lisper lisps.

I determine who I am, or what I become, I assume; I am as much Everyman as I am unique in the entire history of the cosmos. I am unique in this way. No one who has ever lived, who lives now, or will ever live is me. No one in any of these times or places–no one–occupies the coordinates of space and time as I do in this spot at this moment. All is ephemeral, though.

I stand at the shore in Montauk looking up at the swath of white in the night sky, looking dead center into the galactic plane, a squirt from Hera’s tit, my father had told me when I was a boy. In all of the North eastern United States, Montauk Point is one of the darkest spots at night–great star-gazing.

My to be or to become arises like a particle in the vacuum of space-time. The question crosses my mind from time to time, has crossed my mind, has crossed everyone’s mind. I look to the stars as I had when I was a boy and I feel a strange peace and yet a familiar one, first one then the other then the other again and then a mixture of both, awash in the vastness of the night sky, its depth, something that tears away the consciousness of flesh, at first thought, a liberation, at next, transcendence.

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