The Perils of “I Am” – 3

There are perhaps only three statements one can honestly make about oneself in the so-called English present simple. (So-called because the statement “I leave tomorrow” is grammatically correct.) These three are:

  • “I am here”, and by extension,
  • “I am of the world”, and,
  • “I am mortal”.

Philosophy, theology, ecology, and physics might quibble, but whatever they have to say about the continuity of the self, the soul, matter or energy, death renders grammar redundant.

More prosaically, what does “I am here” mean on a Zoom call? Even if we call the internet a physical place, a “here”, experience tells us that physical presence is no guarantee of mental presence or that we pay attention to the present of the here and now. 

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