Today’s 'still yet even MORE further' hunches and speculations build on my previous essays, entitled "Further Hunches" (LINK) and "Even Further Hunches" (LINK) and "Yet Even Further Hunches" (LINK) and Still Yet Even Further Hunches (LINK). If you don't buy the wild notions I toss out there, you surely won't catch what I'm pitching today. The premises of those essays can be summarized as follows (you can read the rest at the foregoing links):

  • There is something special, deserving special explanation, about the fact that, in a seemingly wild and largely random universe, you find yourself to be a self-aware being able now to imagine and contemplate any point in time in the history of this universe, beginning from a moment after the Big Bang, continuing on through 13.7 billion years to the moment of your conception when, according to our currently accepted notions of physics, chemistry, stellar and planetary development, biology and evolution, the intricate sequence of events headed in precisely a direction necessary for your eventual existence despite the seemingly far greater likelihood time-and-time again that any single event amid the ages-long unbroken chain could, it would be thought, have turned in another direction among the vast set of directions which would have foreclosed your eventual existence, all as proven by the simple fact that here you are, alive and pondering your existence and all it required.

  • Although the same unlikelihood could be claimed for any sentient being, creature or thing that has come into existence at this now current moment of universal history, the fact that the contemplator is not just someone or some creature or something, but rather, you yourself now subjectively contemplating your own personal fortune is a special phenomenon deserving special explanation.

  • You are not the winner of a single lottery (something not particularly amazing), but the always and each-and-every time winner after winner of a string of constant lotteries within lotteries, one after the other in sequence and often entwined in complex parallel, stretching through all time from cosmic expansion to sperm meets egg, which unbroken chain of a googol of wins resulted in you, no step skipped or tripped over, bar none, not a single miss as proven conclusively just by your present contemplation of the most personal outcome.

  • This outcome, if more than brute fact, may point to a mechanism, as yet unknown but open to conjecture, which has served to weight nature’s dice, tilt the roulette wheel, limit the possible results, fix the game. If such a mechanism exists, it need not always remain unknown, its nature can be the subject of theory and, hopefully, testing and demonstration.

  • Though beings identical to you, or extremely close, may have appeared time and again in an infinite universe or ensemble of universes where like circumstances endlessly happen, their existence would not explain your existence, here and now, in this place and timeline where you apparently need to find yourself to be this you right here and now. The others might be doppelgängers or twins, but that would be different from this very you which you need right now in order to be experiencing you.

  • While Buddhism is generally not concerned with "where we all came from," being content in guiding us to Liberation here and now however we got here, Buddhism also does not forbid our investigating such matters. In fact, Buddhism is based on certain suppositions about reality, our deep connection and inter-identity with the universe, and even a "built in" system of ethics/Karma, which overlaps with many of my speculations.
Prior essays are based on the assumption, given our present understanding and your immediate experience of what it means for "you" (the reader of these words) to be subjectively experiencing being "you," that a being somewhere else (e.g., across the galaxy or 1000 years in the future) who happens to look like you with a similar life, would nonetheless not be this "you" which you are experiencing. They would be experiencing being themselves, much as you are experiencing yourself, but their experience of being them is not your experience of being "you" (and visa-versa) ... so they would be more like a twin or clone or doppleganger. That is true even if their body and brain is otherwise identical to yours, and their experience of being them is identical in all qualitative ways to your experience right now (including their reading words like these right now somewhere else, written by some identical "Jundo" I suppose.) Still, they are there not here (i.e., somewhere else distant in this vast universe or a multi-verse, or in the past or future of time) so whatever they experience ... even if absolutely identical to what you are experiencing right now ... that just is not this most personal to you experience that you are having within you right now.

But this leads to another observation, so obvious that we might not even give it any thought:

Why is this very body and brain right here and now (the body and brain which you are using to read these words right now) experiencing doing so as "you," and not as somebody else experiencing reading these words and feeling as "you" with this very same body and brain you are presently occupying (not some twin across space and time, but the particular "body and brain" set you are presently employing). There could be something like a different self-awareness in there, experiencing precisely what you are experiencing now, but just not you: something like two taxi drivers who might drive the very same taxi, down the very same street, both while named "Burt Smith" while married to the same spouse, picking up the very same passengers on the very same shifts but, despite driving the same vehicle (your body and brain) and having identical experiences, one driver would not be the other.

In fact, it could even be an "automaton" you with -nobody- experiencing anything, but merely a body and brain with no self-awareness, just going through the motions and looking like it is aware. Who needs "you" in the driver's seat at all, when there could be a different driver in that seat or, in this age of automated taxis, a mannequin with no sentient driver at all?

This is a bit of a different question from the so-called "hard problem," which wonders how anyone's consciousness appears from any material brain. Instead, I ask why the taxi of your body and brain needed you as the driver, rather than some other driver in the same driver's seat, looking out the same windshield of experience through your eyes, feeling that "they" are "you" exactly as much as you do right now. It would seem that, in fact, if you had never been born at all (born into your conscious experience of you), some other "driver" (someone without your present self-awareness of "you" even if the identical self-awareness of "you-ness") could have filled in to drive your present "body and brain" taxi (meaning the very body and brain which you are now "driving" to read these words.)

As I have pointed out in previous installments of this essay series, we can also ask the question of why the universe needed any "you" at all, even one of you (sorry), not to mention the particular one reading these words now. It would seem to me that the universe could have gotten along quiet well without any "you" at all, not even one (sorry), or with some "you" without you driving.

This is on top of the fact that your having this particular body and brain "taxi" on this particular road is the outcome of billions of years of prior events having worked out just so: Not only is there a particular "taxi" on this particular road because everything else in history worked out just right to allow that to happen, but "you" (this one) find yourself as the driver! I feel that too much of a coincidence to be shrugged off.

I propose that, as the most likely explanation, there must be some mechanism to the universe, some "dispatcher" process (possibly self-aware itself, but not necessarily so) which assigns particular drivers to particular routes in some way. Furthermore, any "driver" of a certain body and brain vehicle, on a certain road, at a certain point in time and space (as opposed to identical vehicles on identical roads, but at other points in time and space) had to be you, this very driver, because you ARE this particular vehicle and this particular road and this particular point in time (not just someone riding in the vehicle moving along the road, but the vehicle-road-time themselves.)

In fact, in all likelihood, you are EVERYTHING in the universe ... every possible permutation of some taxi or other vehicle on some road somewhere, from here to the farthest star ... but this particular body and brain taxi somehow shuts off and limits your awareness of that fact to only this particular body and brain taxi. The other countless vehicles on the universal highway system ... endless lorries, cars, tractors and fire trucks on some other roads far away ... is/are also "you," but you cannot experience that. The reason that you cannot experience that is something like saying that a driver of a taxi can look out the front window, or look out the side window, or look in the mirror out the back window, or look at the speedometer or at the floor ... but cannot do all that at once. She could do so at different times, or multiple people in the car (either simultaneously or riding at different times) could do each of those things at once or sequentially, but one person cannot do all that at once. What we fail to realize is that the multiple people in the car, whether all riding together now and at different times, are the same person in multiple forms at their individual places and times.

Either that, or there is a garage somewhere where drivers (like souls) wait for their number to be called, whereupon they hop in a vehicle, turn the key, and take off on their route for the day, returning to the garage at night.

Whatever the case, it is quite doubtful that it was random chance for you to end up in this driver's seat experiencing this drive.

Gassho, J