May 3, 2014

Ironically, I am not me: I am an “eye” observing “me”

I am not me, but I am I? I am not even sure if “I” exist but “me” does. “I” as the subject is merely a hollow observer of its objectified version “me”. So what I am, is what others perceive “me” to be and “I” am just there to observe “me”, the symbolic reference point to the “I”. 

It’s only in the presence of the “other” that the “I” is objectified into “me” and “me” is born. Since the subject (“I”) is empty and hollow within, it has to rely on the reflection of external identifiers, memes and perceptions in the mirror of the “other” to create the illusion of its unique existence, packaged together as “me”. As such, the “I” is only an “eye”, watching the perception of “me” through the prism of others.

This is why everything is enjoyed or experienced, not directly by the subject “I”, but rather through its perception prism of “me”. I don't know how to enjoy but “me” does that’s why I post my cool vacation pics on instagram to observe the virtual “me” receive likes and comments to validate and verify the enjoyment of this experience. Why couldn't I simply enjoy the vacation with no pictures or memories to share? Because the “I” is a hollow eye and can only experience things virtually through its objective self: me. “I” doesn’t know who “I” is or what “I” likes but “I” can observe what “me” likes or should like because “I” attempts to shape “me” through societal norms it projects onto “me”. Here, society and our social networks act as the mirror that “me” is defined by/through. It can be said that “me” is a function of societal and social connections, norms and memes. Here social media is the best virtual test environment for the “me”. Social media, however, while it starts out as a sandbox for prototyping and testing the “me”, it evolves often into a permanent venue for the “I” to observe and reprogram its virtual representation “me” and gage people’s perception on social media of this “me” in the making.

This does not mean that the “me” is the fake societal constructed façade, beyond which the “real” I exists. To the contrary, the “me” is real, the “I” being simply a hollow observer (eye). I am what others make me through their perceptions. There is no “I” per se. It is not ME (our facades and virtual profiles) that hides the real “I” (self) within, it is this very notion that there is a real “I” (self) beyond the simulacrum of “me” that hides its fallacy. The façade that makes up the objective me is the real. The subjective “I” is an illusion beyond its “eye”. As such, I never was me. I've simply been “eyeing” “me”. Only through the mirror of society and the other, the “me” becomes observable to the I’s eye. It is, hence, most disturbingly depressing when in complete alienation and isolation, in the absence of the other and hence the “me” (=objective I), the self or the I’s “eye” is forced to turn its lens on itself and face its own hollowness and emptiness.

Equally, you = you but “I” does not equal “me”. You = you because I, the “other” created “you” so my perception of you, from I’s perspective, is “you”. When we interact, the subject “you”, is not interacting with the subject “I”, but rather, it’s our “me”s that are tangled in a dance of some sort, while being observed by our subjects that are attempting to build a narrative in memory to capture and symbolize the nature of our relationship.

Marriage here is the perfect arrangement for the long term survival of the “me”. A man is a man in the presence of a woman where the “I” becomes the objectified, society determined “me” and vise versa. Just like a single adult “me” evolves into a husband “me” upon marriage (because society says so), the husband “me” becomes a father “me” in the presence of a child, the irony being that throughout this evolution, the “I” simply remaining as such: a hollow observer with a flawed memory saying things like: “I am a husband and a father” when what he really means is: “I am watching “me” and in the presence of a child and a woman I cohabit with, society dictates “me” to be a husband and father”, two identifiers that simply have no meaning to the “I” (eye) other than symbolic references to societal models for the “me”.

Ironically, “I” [beyond the eye] do not exist but “me” does and I am not me. I am just a camera recording “me”.

Here I am reminded of a story of a competition between Zeuxis and Parrhasios, two painters from the ancient Greece, about who will paint a more convincing illusion. One paints grapes on a wall so real that birds try to eat it. The other paints a curtain on a wall so real that when people see it, they complain: “okay stop bullshiting around and move the curtain so we can see your work”. This is how ideology functions today. Everyone is obsessed with pulling the consciousness curtain and finding their “true” self, the “real” “I” to know their real passions, likes, thoughts and deeper motivations. However, this very search for the “I” beyond the eye hides the reality that the “I’ is a hollow and empty observer, a curtain beyond which there is nothingness. This very self-obsessed struggle to find “meaning” and “passion” becomes the end and means by which the “me” is created, sustained and evolved. God didn't create the “I” because just like the “I”, god is an illusion beyond its facade, however this very facade is necessary to sustain “me”, because “me” needs god as the “Big Other” to exist and survive.

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