Becoming Myself (Existential Reflections)

Bremer Acosta
18 min readOct 31, 2023

I live on Earth. Earth is located in the outer spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. There are hundreds of billions of other galaxies in the known universe. I’m an expression of the cosmos, part of a process that began with the Big Bang (around 13.8 billion years ago) (Britannica).

As Alan Watts, philosophical entertainer and rascal, wrote in The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are:

We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. (9)

From an anthropological perspective, my species (Homo sapiens) is “classified in the sub-group of primates known as the Great Apes” due to our genetic/structural similarities with chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans (Blaxland). Some of the traits that I share with other humans are self-recognition, imagination, bipedalism, tool making, language (the ability to share complex ideas), cooperation, and adaptation (Herrero) (Ruth).

For 97% of our history (roughly 300,000 years), we survived as hunter-gatherers in the Pleistocene (Gowdy). Climate change has been one of the major drivers for our socio-biological evolution (Gowdy).

Biologists estimate that 99 percent of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct (Hamer). My species has only been around for a few hundred thousand years, which is a minuscule amount of time when compared with the age of the universe (National Museum of Natural History).

Even though the Earth has gone through five mass extinction events, life has not been extinguished yet (Hamer). While we Homo sapiens share this planet with millions of other species, we make up such a tiny fraction of life (.01% when using the metric of biomass) (Ritchie).

Because I am a human, and not a sunflower or a boulder or a clod of dirt, I have a certain kind of consciousness.

While I may feel like a “skin-encapsulated ego,” my consciousness is not separate from the rest of the universe (Watts)…