A Very Short Quiz to Help You Figure Out Where You Are at Right Now

Read each question slowly, and respond honestly.

1) If it is in fact the case that you are, right at this moment, occupying a very definite volume of space, then why is it that you do not know, without first taking a moment to reflect upon it, the exact position of your feet?

2) Before you drew your attention to your feet, were they a part of you—or just appendages attached to you?

3) Do you count your feet in the volume of what you occupy at this very moment? Or could you live without them—your feet—and would you still be you—without your feet?

4) Obviously, all of your body parts could be whittled away from you by such questions as those above, so let’s cut to the chase and talk about your head. Perhaps you are just in your head. If so, do you occupy a very specific place within your head, or are you dispersed all throughout your head (as odd pieces of furniture are strewn about a room)?

5) Do you move about in your head, or are you stationary?

6) If you could have an electrical light and a tiny Victorian mirror placed in your head, could you see yourself? What would you look like? And when you moved up there, what is it that would be moving, and is that you?

7) Are you something occupying a definite volume of space—or are you nothing and nowhere? And if you are nothing and nowhere, then who is reading this quiz, and if you are something and somewhere, what and where are you, exactly?

End of quiz.

_____________________________________

I’m sorry if this quiz did not help you find yourself. But keep looking. Augustine wrote: “God, I pray you to let me know my self.” And the man who brought Buddhism to China, Bodhidharma, once told a student that he would pacify his mind if he went in search for it. When the student protested that he had searched for his mind but could not find it, Bodhidharma said to him: “There, you see, it is pacified.”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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