Do I exist?

I questioned my own existence for a moment last week. It only lasted for a second, but it was quite terrifying. While in conversation on MSN with one of my friends back home, she asked “Sholeh, is that you talking to me, or someone pretending to be you?”

I sat back and thought about it for a second. Was I really carrying on a conversation, or had my body been taken over by aliens or evil spirits or a person with a talent for such things? A million questions ran through my head as I sat there, stunned.

It was extremely disconcerting. It turns out that I had been giving one-syllable answers to her conversation, and this worried her since most of my friends know that I rarely stop talking.

Hello to all of you BWC folks discovering my blog. 🙂 Don’t be shy to make comments or come up randomly to me in the lunchroom. I’m only a little scary, I promise. We can have awkward conversations and smile across our trays of food.

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  1. I hope you exist, or else you are a figment of a whole communities’ collective imagination, and the thought of collective imaginations just creeps me out.

  2. A good follow-up to your experience of existential discombobulation would be Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy.

    You might want to stop sniffing glue as well.

  3. The conception of annihilation is a factor in human degradation, a cause of human debasement and lowliness, a source of human fear and abjection. It has been conducive to the dispersion and weakening of human thought whereas the realization of existence and continuity has upraised man to sublimity of ideals, established the foundations of human progress and stimulated the development of heavenly virtues; therefore it behoves man to abandon thoughts of non-existence and death which are absolutely imaginary and see himself ever living, everlasting in the divine purpose of his creation. He must turn away from ideas which degrade the human soul, so that day by day and hour by hour he may advance upward and higher to spiritual perception of the continuity of the human reality. If he dwells upon the thought of non-existence he will become utterly incompetent; with weakened will-power his ambition for progress will be lessened and the acquisition of human virtues will cease.

    ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – ‘Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 265

  4. I know EXACTLY how earth-shattering that thought is. Consider yourself lucky that it only lasted a moment. Try dealing with it for years; you’ll quickly descend down that spiral that ‘Abdu’l-Baha is talking about in Dan’s comment.

    Reza’s comment cracks me up. But I never got anywhere with Descartes. Or any other shoe-gazing philosopher.

  5. Mojan: Because I was multi-tasking hehe.

    George: Yeah it gave me a little insight into that type of thinking, and no wonder people get so depressed when they get too far into it. 🙂