BY KENNETH KERN
Let’s begin right at the beginning. The usually reliable Bible tells us that life begins with the first
breath. Not with conception as some mere mortals would have us believe, not with the viability of the fetus as the scientifically inclined like to say, but with the first breath. It says it right there in black and white, at the bottom of page one, Genesis 2:7, “and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” What could be more clear?
Moving right along in his typically mysterious way, God then leaps to the establishment of a garden somewhere east of Eden, and drops Man right down in the middle of it, leaving us to wonder what was it that Man said upon taking in the breath of life and opening his eyes for the first time?
Well, I’ll tell you. But first, let’s give credit where credit is due.
The secret magic words are not to be found in the Bible. If all the answers were to be found in the Bible we wouldn’t have to read anything else, would we? So, in his infinite wisdom, God planted answers in all sorts of sources, so we’d have to go about reading everything we can get our hands on
and thus become the well-rounded, multi-faceted, broad-minded, tolerant followers He wants us to be, not that you’d notice from looking at the narrow-minded, intolerant, dim-witted beasts we’ve all become. After all, how can you have all the answers if you read only one book?
Thus it came to pass that I discovered the secret words while studying an obscure eastern text. Not
that I actually read the text. A guru told me about it. Surely, a guru wouldn’t lie about such things. And so, here they are.
“Who am I?”
Those are the very first words every soul utters upon opening the eyes and gazing at the wonder of the creation. (The second, by the way, being, “Where am I?” and the third being, “What am I supposed to do, now that I’m here?”)
For best effect, pause here, and contemplate the question, “Who am I?” before continuing.
Well, who are you? If you replied to this question with the name on your passport, you are far too
shallow to continue with this exercise. Kindly turn to another article, or another website, or go get a cup of coffee.
If, however, you replied by falling into a state of wonder, congratulations! You are curious, imaginative, and probably reasonably intelligent. Just the sort of folks I’ve been meaning to talk to.
Years ago when editors wore ties, from time to time at social gatherings of the educated class,someone would say in conversation, “all the world’s a stage...” All those present would nod in assent as though they had understood something, and move on.
Though no more understood now than they were then, these words are still true. You see, the fact of the matter is, it’s all one big masquerade. I’m playing the role of myself. You’re playing the role of whomever it is you think you are, and there you have it. In a nutshell, “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.” (I don’t have to tell you where this is from, do I? It’s Shakespeare.Go and look it up!) What the old bard himself is saying is, we aren’t really who we appear to be. We just pretend we are. Life is all just one big masquerade. I pretend to be me, you pretend to be you, and
we mind our entrances and exits.