I had to spend the afternoon at the DMV today. And I spent much of it reading (or trying to read) Why Does the World Exist? There is perhaps no more bizarre place to contemplate the nature of existence. At least for me. Because I have a natural tendency to get captured by solipsism. When you get right down to it, I’m not too sure that you exist. And just to show you how outside of normal thought I have gone, although I think I may well be alone in the universe—perhaps a dream of the universe itself—I fully accept that you too are alone in the universe.
At the DMV, the nature of existence takes on an intense “in your face” form. I spent most of the time there right behind a 60-year-old man who was getting an identification card. Apparently, the government had taken his driver’s license away from him for good. But the people at the convenience store would not take his expired driver’s license to prove that he was over 18 and thus allowed to buy cigarettes. If ever there were proof that I am a subset of the universe, there it was! Alone with my little brain, I never would have conceived of such a character.
It isn’t that the guy was strange. I’m actually rather good at creating very interesting and unusual characters. But I would never conceive of a character that had such a ridiculously trivial motivation. In fact, since hearing his story, I’ve been trying to spice it up. Surely the cigarette thing was a ruse. For one thing, I know that it will take him up to four weeks to get his card. Yet he had cigarettes. He was smoking at the bus stop. There is definitely more there than meets the eye. He’s up to no good.
Or was he? One thing I’ve learned during this “life” is that “God” is a terrible story teller. He is always creating two-dimensional characters in plots that are complicated without being interesting. Or so they seem to me. It is very clear that the stories and character I create are much better. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe it is just the limitations of my little brain—or the fact that I have a brain at all. This is, after all, the same brain that thinks (despite all the obviously contrary evidence) that nothing ought to exist.
I think, therefore I am confused.