Are we simply our personal selves? Are we what our self-consciousness vision believes itself to be? Is this flesh and blood that compose our bodies all that we are?
The chemicals we are made of are replenished daily and most of the cells in our bodies renew often. Obviously, we are not simply that which we call our body. Most of our perceptions are mental. We live in a dual mental and physical world. We look in the mirror and see only a portion of ourselves. Neither that self-reflected person in the mirror nor the deepest imagined self buried within us is our whole being. Our lives are the stories of our personal changes.
Once Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”
Did Shakespeare see life as a play, a dream played out on a cosmic stage? Then who is the dreamer? Are we both the dream and the dreamer, if the universe about us is a play? Does another force dream us into being?
Hindu beliefs tell us that all is an illusion. Modern physicists will tell us of the strange quantum world where imaginary virtual electrons pop in and out of existence and only have a defined reality when measured and observed.
For objectivity to exist, there must be a subject as well as an object. Every object must have a subject. Ultimately, if the object and the subject are the same, then neither are truly substantial. That is one reason why many people believe that we live in a world of illusion, Hindus among them.
Attempts at rationality and logic all lead to a leap of faith—then to assumptions and beliefs. Logic cannot come to our rescue. We cannot logically prove anything exists but our own thoughts and consciousness. We know that something is being observed and we call it the world. We know that something is thinking and something is recording our perceptions. We call it our brains.
Even that is a leap of faith, as we cannot even prove that we actually do the thinking. Thoughts come and go at random as our attention refocuses. Because we perceive others with the same perceptions that we perceive ourselves, we can validate their independent existence. Only a nonphysical approach—metaphysical means above the physical—can lead to answers to the timeless questions about our own existence.