I have these moments sometimes of incomprehension. They feel like what I imagine a hunter-gatherer, or someone from a very different culture, might experience if dropped into the middle of this one; or perhaps more like aphasia in an adult, a sudden inability to decode symbols that once were meaningful. They happen perhaps when Iâ€™m depressed, or when Iâ€™ve had a few drinks and Iâ€™m tired. All of a sudden, nothing makes sense. Why are there roads? How can there be all these plants in tidy organization? Who takes care of them? Why do people live in houses? I have a house? Why do I have a house, surely I canâ€™t possibly need one? How am I allowed to have all these things when other people donâ€™t have them? What is other peopleâ€™s experience like? How could I possibly know? How can I imagine that I know anything at all? What was I doing at work today, acting like I knew things? Why does it matter what my opinion of anything is?
My thoughts remind me of the kind sometimes reported by people meditating deeply, or otherwise having a profound spiritual experience, except that they lack the sense of connection that those same people report, a sense of everything in the universe being one. Itâ€™s possible that this is what is happening, neurologically. The temporal lobes control that sense of oneness; Iâ€™m not sure anyone knows exactly what part of the brain controls the belief that your life experience is perfectly normal and your cultural benchmarks have value.
Youâ€™d think these episodes would be useful, but they arenâ€™t. Perhaps universal lessons are best served with a side of oneness.