The world that lives in you

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, 
but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, 
because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”

― Frederick Buechner

There is truth in this statement from Frederick Buechner, Presbyterian minister and writer. We live in the world in a physical sense--our bodies are located in a plane of reality that we do not control. We are here in the same way a tree is here. Why we are here and not somewhere else is a mystery we can't solve, so we simply accept it. We (our conscious mind) live in a body, which lives in a world.

But more importantly, a world lives in us. This is the world we perceive and create in our imagination, our mind, and our sense of self. It's our interpretation of the world we live in, not identical to the world we live in, which is an objective reality (outside our own consciousness). At least we think it's objective in the sense that it exists independent of ourselves--it existed before we became cognizant of our own life (are born) and will exist after we depart from it (after we die). So we think.

As we can't be sure we truly know reality (there being so many interpretations and depictions of reality that don't agree with each other--just consider the debate on climate change as an example of competing views of reality), the world that lives in us is the true world for most of us. It becomes seamless--our thoughts, memories, perceptions, beliefs, experiences, values, and ideas are where most of us live, day by day. Few people pull themselves outside of their inner frame of reference. It's a rather uncomfortable place to be: looking at yourself from outside yourself.

But for me, looking at myself and my inner world form the outside is the perspective that comes most naturally. I see, from the outside, the world inside me that Buechner suggests. The people I know and have known move in my world as characters in a story move through history.

This is why I write. These stories, so penetrating and full of wisdom, will die with me unless I somehow communicate them. I'd make films if I had a different kind of creativity, as I find film to be the most moving means of communication: images, sounds, and motion put together is the best way I know to create and share entire worlds. But I must work with the creative skills I have, not the ones I wish I had, so I write.

So I write, which is my way to trying to make sure that the world inside me, full of fascinating people and events, does not disappear when I die.


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