This is a revelation I imagine many people have had. I have it multiple times a year, and it is this: everyone has a mind.
It’s a very Matrix-y, Sci-Fi sort of thing to think about. On one hand, you could say everyone has a mind, everyone thinks, everyone talks to themselves and wonders about things. The problem is there’s no proof of that, and this is where the conspiracies come in, the ones saying the whole world is a computer program, or we’re all just brains in jars, basically every possible way of thinking that means the world is fake except for your mind.
I think that’s a very selfish way of viewing things. Why on earth would I be the chosen mind to be the real mind? And if I were making up the world I live in, wouldn’t I make it better? Eliminate the suffering? If I made up the universe and all that is in it, that must mean I’m a very cruel person.
There is a short story called The Egg by Andy Weir. It’s found free online, if you want to read it. The basic concept, spoiler alert, is that when you die you reincarnate as another person. You have done this many times, and will continue to do this until you have learned enough to become a god. You have to learn so much that you have had to reincarnate billions of times. Overall, every single person on earth, both alive today and throughout history, is a reincarnation of you.
I like this concept best, because it says a lot about nature versus nurture, the human spirit, and adaptability. It speaks of how we’re all the same deep down. I hate when people blame the badness in the world on monsters, curses, or the will of god, or search for something inhuman in our Hitlers. The scariest thing about Hitler was that he was human. We should not try to separate people like him from humanity. We have to realize they are part of us, and if we were in the same circumstances we very well may have grown up to be just like them.
So, while I like what The Egg teaches us, I don’t particularly think it’s true. I think each person has a mind and thinks complex thoughts. I think they’re all separate people, and I don’t think they’re all one reincarnated soul. But I also think if you look deeply enough you can find bits of yourself in everyone else.
Whenever I have the revelation that everyone thinks, that everyone is alive, I feel myself grow kinder, more patient, more forgiving. The fact that other people are alive is a fact we forget far too often. It’s such a simple fact, but hard to remember that others feel pain, and think, and feel, and love, just like we do.