I'm sitting alone in my bedroom. Right now as I type this, I exist and know I exist because I know that I exist. But I don't know what an “I” is or what it means for an “I” to exist. Existing means having "objective reality". But "objective" means "not dependent on the mind for existence”, and reality means "the state of having existence". So to exist is to have existence independent of the mind for existence? Existence is a fucking infinite matryoshka doll. And that is ignoring the obvious problem of anything being independent of the mind when nothing can be observed without the mind, and thus nothing can be proven to exist independent of the mind. Existence is literally meaningless.
So I can't know that I exist because I don't know what it means to exist, but also what is an “I”? When I say “I”, what do I mean? Am I a narrative constructed from the sensory data my body has collected over time? That is to say, is the self nothing more than a story based on curated experience? This can't be true because who is curating? Is the curator the “I”? I can't easily put this into language but basically: I don't know where I end and where everything that is not “I” begins. And is there a delineation between “I” and else? Or is everything just everything? If I were born a thousand years ago, would I still be me? Any definition of me would have to include the accumulated experiences that have shaped my responses to stimuli. My experiences in, e.g., Prehistoric North America would have created an assemblage of thoughts/feelings/physical-health that would be so different as to be unrecognisable as the “I” that is typing to you at present. And if experience is intrinsic to selfhood, the environment in which one experiences is also intrinsic to selfhood as environment is intrinsic to experience.
And so: Is there a difference between the “I” that exists and the environment in which the “I” exists? And if there is no difference, then the act of acknowledging my own existence with thought (“Cogito, ergo sum”) is in fact proof of objective reality because an “I” can only exist in relation to an “else”. Nothing exists independent of the mind, and the mind exists independent of nothing. The “I” that is writing to you right now could not have existed independent of you because you are part of the experiences that formed this “I”. And even if we lose touch and I one day become unrecognisable to you, that future “I” will still be built on the foundation of this present “I”. And because you make me feel like I am a better person than I believe myself to be, because you make me want to live up to your expectations, to create something worthy of your attention, to say something worthy of your response, because you are something to which I will always look forward, I am so goddamned happy that we both exist.
Anyways, I love you.