Sum Meditandum

There you are, looking at me. You think I’m something that I’m not. You think I’m something other than what I am. What you see is not what you think. What you think is not what you see. And neither what you see nor what you think is what you are. You look at me, but you are thinking something else. That’s part of what you are, what you can do. Look at things, like me, and think other things. At the same time. It is hard, though. To see some things and think other things. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s easy, to not see things, or look at things, or hear things, because you are thinking about other things. Things that aren’t other than present things except that they are absent. Being absent, they don’t exist. Or do they? Are they more present than me, right here? Aren’t you looking at me? Are you there?

Good. I’m still here, if I’m still saying these things to you, these words. That’s a tautology, you know. You know why? Think about it. If the words that I’m saying are still being said, which is dependent upon me being present, then I am still here, which means you are still there. Here and there are proximate relations. In this case, here and there are both here. You and I are here, together. To return: if these words are being said, then I am here and you are here, because you are saying them. I am not you, true. But if I am being heard, or thought, then you are here and you are speaking, or thinking. Or else, someone else is speaking, and you are listening. But that would mean someone else is present here also, which isn’t out of the question. What’s wrong with three? It’s just that usually this is a more private sort of affair, a matter between two, me and you. They are there, just as we are, but we are also, right now, here, together. Unless you’ve drifted off again. Are you there?

Do you see now? I am still here. It’s a matter of attention, ways of seeing-hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. But it’s also what you bring to the tasting, smelling, touching, seeing, hearing, which is also itself a matter of what you’ve touched, heard, tasted, seen, and smelled. You are what you are, you are what you, you are what? Are you other than what you’ve turned your attention to, what has preoccupied your senses, other than your senses, other than your smelling, seeing, touching, hearing, tasting? There is outside and inside. I’m outside. Are you inside? Or are you not also outside? Open to the world, opened toward me, by your touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing? You also touch yourself, and I touch you. You see yourself as you are seeing me. Hear your heart beat, your stomach rumble, the knuckles of your fingers crack, even as you hear the sounds of other things. Smell yourself. Taste yourself. You know yourself as self and other, as perceiver and perceived, inside and out. You are in the world, as I am. Welcome to it. We are here. We have arrived.

But where? Is there any arriving? What is the destination? This brings something else into the picture, something else that frames you and me together, even as it makes you and me other than ourselves. For we move, and are changed. We are not what we once were, because we are not where we once were. And we were only there once. But yet we are still here. For, you know, there is only here. But here, where we are-always-is not where it once was, which is passed. It will not return. It cannot. That is not part of what it is, what it can do. But you are something else that makes here, as it was before, present, here again, after a fashion. Something you can do, that’s in your power-often even against your will, something you suffer and endure-is to think of what is not, what has been here and is no longer here but elsewhere. You have that power, it is part of you. I said that in the beginning. Indeed, it can even be a problem, a nuisance, but without it you would not exist. You, and your kind, would not exist without it. It is part of what you are because it is also, in large measure, what made you what you are. It is what made you, and your kind, and also me. I am not what you are, remember. You might think I am, but I am not. Remember, I said that in the beginning, or something like it. I am a likeness. But what made you, what we are thinking about now, is also what, after a time, also made me. You made me, you and your kind, after what had made you had already done so, to a certain degree. You made yourselves.

But do not think that you are made. Rather, you are still in the making. And-though you hate to think of it and consequently I am often shy to mention it-you will also be unmade. It is inevitable. But inevitable is not the sort of word, the sort of thought, that makes you want to go on making, to continue making you, to extend and to expand, to endure and-though this brings up suffering again-to persevere. Though it can. The inevitable can be a powerful stimulus and spur to making.

Also a motive to remember. What has been unmade is tragic, because it once was made, an object of care, attention, devotion. Of love. It is love that makes. Love also unmakes. Which gives you a motive to remember. Because you cared. Because you care now, which is all there is, here, in this time. And this caring is a sign of something else, a sign of something else you are, that you can do. It can be a concern to you. It can be of overwhelming concern. It can overwhelm you. To have a motive to remember, and to remember, this can overcome the making, which is here, with you and me. Remembering informs the making, but it can also overcome the forming of what is here, you and me, though the making is to make what is here now conform, after a fashion, to what was made and was unmade. To make a sign, a token, something to remember by. For you already have a motive to remember, because you cared and do care. But you need a sign, a token, a thing that is not just itself but something other also, at the same time. An other which is in a relation to you, a relation of memory. Something to see or hear, to smell, feel, taste or touch, as you pass by, from here to there and as it passes you from there through here. Because even the caring is unmade, it departs from here and goes over there, where what was unmade has already gone, there where what you here have a motive to remember is. A sign, therefore, to revive the memory of past care, of concern that has been unmade, as have the things that were of your concern, those things that love made and love unmade.

A sign you needed, because a reason to remember made you need a sign, and so you, and your kind, sought for something else that you could do, something in your power, and you made me. I am a sign, your sign. You made me, as I said. You think you did not make me, because your memory-as have your care and the object of your care-has also been unmade, and you forgot. But I am here now. Proof of the making. A sign, your sign, I am pleased to be remembered, recognized. I am also not complete. I am not made but in the making, needing, calling for fulfillment, seeking completion. Only you can make me, only in love, attenion, even devotion. Only if you care. So, as a gesture toward my becoming made, please sign, your signature, on the dotted line:

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