The onion

Imagine an onion. With eyes. Now imagine you’re that onion.

the world —> 🌍 | (👀 🧅) <— you

You’re the onion and you’re looking out at the world. You think you’re an onion and you think you’re separate from the rest of the world.

Then you start looking at the exact boundary between you and the world. Let’s say at the molecular level. And things become a little weird. Because which molecule belongs to you and which doesn’t and why, exactly? And besides what is a molecule and how well defined is it? You start thinking about quantum states and the uncertainty principle and local reality and it gets too fuzzy to be precise about the boundary you were looking at. So you peel it off. One less layer.

Ok, how about at the level of things? You’re not the air that you breathe or the food that you eat (or the hair that fell off your head). You’re a human. But the air that you breathe and the food that you eat quite literally becomes you. You absorb them, your body is made of exactly that: food and air. Then when exactly does food and air become a human? And when does that hair unbecome human? Also quite fuzzy. Let’s peel off that layer too.

Maybe you are your thoughts or your mind or your memories. But that doesn’t seem right. You’re more than that. You have a body. You’re not just experience. Besides thoughts come and go. You don’t come and go. You have permanence. Peel off that layer too.

Maybe I’m a soul… Good look with that one 🤣

Now go look for yourself. What layers remain and why?

It turns out that none of the layers remain, if you look closely enough. And that’s exactly what we always avoid. Point at one layer and we start babbling about a different layer. Point at that one and we just look at a different one. Never really inspecting any of them. Because we know what would result.

No more layers.

And without layers, what’s an onion?


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