If you consider two rugs woven with identical patterns, do you believe they are the same, or different rugs?

If you believe they are different, then you must also consider yourself to be purely energy (matter) which just so happens to be flowing through a human process, in the same way that water flows through a whirlpool. According to science it takes approximately seven years for every piece of matter in your body to be renewed, which is much longer than for water to pass through a whirlpool, though principally the same. So if you believe the rugs are different then you will be 50% you three and a half years from now, and someone else after seven years. And that someone may look and act like you, but won’t be you.

If you consider the rugs to be the same and instead identify as the pattern or process of your mind and body rather than the energy that flows through it, then you could consider yourself seven years from now or seven years prior, to be you, however you would also have to concede that if you were somehow cloned using hypothetically conceivable technology, then that clone would be as much you as you are you.

What may be the most elegant solution is to identify your fundamental substance and nature to be the whole energy of the universe, and your body and mind as simply the pattern that energy has arranged itself in to, and flows through. Seen this way you are not only yourself for your entire lifetime, but you are also every other person, animal, plant and star that has ever, and will ever exist. For as a river does a whirpool, and a dancer dances, the universe peoples.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” ~ Rumi

Scales of Life

Universal consciousness can be considered as one considers their own body, except on a different scale. For in the same way a human is the result of individual cells and neurons communicating, the universe can too be thought of as the result of individual parts such as animals or plants communicating using with fundamentally the same physical laws which apply to the cellular level. So while a cell, if it were capable of self-reflection might consider itself an individual and the body its universe, we know as the resulting net process that the product of the communication of individual parts leads to an integrated whole which is aware of all its parts. And so in the same way we too can think of ourselves not only as individuals, but also as the the whole of reality itself.

Best Defence is a Bad Offense

As creatures wired for survival it’s a natural consequence that insincerity, cynicism and irony are often useful tools as they can make us cold and ruthless, allowing us to do what needs to be done. For that reason large cultures such as the one we live in today tend to glorify the ‘humble one-upmanship’ and social ladder that aids individuals in achieving material goals. But given what separates life from non-life is the ability to feel, it is important to prioritise feeling over the apathy necessary for selfish behaviour, wherever possible. For when you diminish love and beauty in favour of survival efficiency, you disregard the fruits of survival, and when these richest of bounties are ignored, one finds themselves only partially alive.