Conundrum: Yet, Still, We Must Understand

Today, or maybe it was yesterday, I came to the realization that the only way to understand myself is to understand others. It seems so utterly contradictory, yet as I sit here typing this, I believe it to be factual in ways that facts seldom are. Solid. Hard. Unmovable. Concrete.

You see, I am nothing more than a reflection of others, modified slightly to fit my brain or my body, perhaps, but just a reflection, nevertheless. Were it not for others, I would have no models, no mirrors, no measurements against which to compare myself. I am, indeed, a mirror.

So, all of that being said, how do I understand others? The only way to do that, of course, is to come to a perfect understanding of myself, which cannot happen, of course, until I know others.

This sounds silly. Inane. Stupid, even. But it is true. We live in a world in which we cannot understand ourselves without first understanding the world, but the only way to make sense of the world is to first fully comprehend the way in which the world shapes oneself. It is madness and perfection, all wrapped around something hard and cold and unwilling to be known.

I will not fashion myself after other writers, or even after readers who know what they want. The only way to be honest, if I have any hope of ever being honest, is to be who I am. Even without knowing who I am.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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