When I was a young child, I would try to look as far as I could to either side of my head in hopes of somehow seeing my self (note: Not “myself”). Even at age five or six, I was aware of my mind (or consciousness or soul or identity or whatever you want to refer to it as). What I was curious about was where it resided.
Clearly behind my eyeballs, but specifically where? I could look at my hands and feet, even my own face in the mirror, and know where they were located physically.
I was even aware of internal organs: Heart, stomach, longs. I could feel my heart beat, see my chest rise and fall with each breath, feel around my abdomen to feel my stomach when it rumbled and gurgled during digestion.
Even at age five I could describe those organs and indicate where they were located physically.
But my mind? It was like there was some vast grey cavern behind my eyes, a cavern that stretched off to infinity and was filled with memories, knowledge, and experiences.
Call it my “mindspace”.
This cavern had no physical reality, obviously. Despite an overexposure to cartoon physics, at age five I knew I couldn’t be carting a cavern around with me, if for no other reason then how could I lie down with my head on a pillow when I went to bed?
Despite that lack of physicality, my mindspace was and is very, very real. It seems to me that my mindspace is where “I” exist. My physical form is real, but there have been times when I’ve been sick or under a doctor’s medication when my body seemed to be detached but my mindspace stayed in place.
I describe my mindspace as a cavern, but that’s imprecise. It seems to be a vast space, but there’s no direction or dimension to it: There is no up or down, near or far. When I dredge up a memory, or create a conversation between two characters in a story, it exists in the same place in my mindspace.
My question of the day is whether or not everyone else experiences a similar mindspace, or does each individual experience their self in a different manner?
In other words: Where”is” “you”?
art by Alex Sharpe Ross