Frontpage Summary Full text (free) Audiobook (free) Buy the book Videos Podcasts

21.9. The child discovers the body and the world

The baby is born. It is a trauma, a dramatic, violent experience. Almost everything is new and must be understood when the child comes out of the stomach.

What impressions do you receive, newborn as you are?

You suddenly experienced light and shadows all around you.

These flashes of light, you thought, what are they?

There were lots of them. You experienced that they form patterns. In some places, there were groups of glimpses or thick connections.

You experienced flavours and pressures. You experienced that you saw shapes. Many of these were different and further away.

They formed an experience of distances, later also time. You had to be several years old before properly understanding time and space. It actually took twelve years. Only then were you safe on a bicycle in the traffic.

But long before that, at just a few months old, something strange happened.

All these impressions began to make sense.

You experienced the same things over and over again. These repetitions took on a kind of higher significance. You learned, you remembered.

You remembered that when you thought of this lump of something moving in front of you, it looked like ... an arm! And a foot and a hand! You did not have words yet, but you could conceptualise because the Experiencer can.

You could imagine that you grabbed something, and this something, you imagined, followed with your hand up to your mouth. You tried, quite directly, to make external things become a part of yourself. You thought that everything is a part of «one» because you still did not interpret yourself as something separate.

All this is emergence, a higher understanding that arises, an interpretation of something that is not necessarily «true». Even if the child sees a troll in the clouds, there is no troll in the clouds.

You experienced the fully interpreted sensory impressions – and your thoughts.

So what are you?

You are an experience.

You do not walk around, do nothing, are not in a body. You are not in time or space, not on a planet, nor in a universe.

Your experience simply is.

It is part of the great experience that also is.

It is the same experience; there is only one experience – which dissociates, fragments, without pause.

You experience very strongly that you are conscious. That's how it feels.

You see a table in front of you. This table is an interpretation of patterns in a long and complex series of emergent notions and experiences.

Your body is the same. You even have an experience of your thinking.

The thought can also experience itself; why shouldn't it be so?

You can think about everything else, so why should you not also experience concepts, emotions, insights, connections, aesthetics, morals, music, magic – all this insane richness.

This experience of experiencing is you.

This is your life.

It's pretty hefty, isn't it? But it is logical.

It is impossible to explain your conscious existence and ability to think from dead matter. But the opposite is almost trivial because you are fundamentally conscious and thinking, and thoughts are without limits.

You also think – imagine, conceive of – yourself.

You are an experience, which is of the same kind as the experience you have of everything else, only that the experience of you is more credible than the experience of everything surrounding you – because that is where your dissociation began, with the zygote, with what gradually became the idea of you.