Sunday, April 08, 2007

I Am You

I'm reading Douglas Hofstadter's new book I Am A Strange Loop, and hope to review it here soon. One of the works he references (skeptically) is I Am You, by a philosopher named Daniel Kolak who I hadn't heard of before. Apparently Kolak's thesis is that there is exactly one person in the universe and we are all him/her/it. This is a strange idea but one that occurred to me years ago as a possible consequence of reincarnation.

Actually, this is an old idea that has occurred to many, from the writers of the Upanishads to Wittgenstein and Freeman Dyson, so it isn't that weird.

I recall a passage from Illuminatus:
"If all is one, then all violence is masochism."
"Yes, and all sex is masturbation."

But it's too easy to do reductio ad absurdums to this, and I admire anybody who would devote themselves to such an easily-mockable idea. I'd like to check out his book but it's $300 on Amazon, out of my price range for something of only whimsical interest. But when I thought about it, I realized that I didn't need to read the book since if its thesis is true, I've not only already read it, I've written it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The celebrated Indologist Ananda K. Coomaraswamy is one among many to wrote about this idea. His essay us titled: "the One and Only Transmigrant."

He asserts that "no doctrine of reincarnation... has ever been taught in India," and that a person only "reincarnates" in the sense that she/he lives on in her/his descendants; otherwise the Hindu scriptures teach that there is "one and only one transmigrant" - "the Lord...the Supreme and Solar Self, Atman, Brahman, Indra." who is one and who lives in all beings perpetually.

Anonymous said...

Learn how to spell, dumbass! And get some grammer too... sheesh.

Anonymous said...

You're talkin' to yerself, omniversal transmigratory FOOL!

Anonymous said...

You can download a copy if you want. If the author complains about copyright infringement, tell him you're stealing from yourself.

mtraven said...

Thank you (that is to say, me)!