Containing Multitudes

This post is inspired by a quote I heard in some interview on Youtube. I’m not able to clearly recollect the video or else I could link it here. It’s a very interesting thing to ruminate over. It’s about multitudes in ourselves.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

“Song of Myself – Leaves of Grass” (1892-92) | The Walt Whitman

If we think about it, that’s a truly profound talk. We are different versions of ourselves in different arenas of our lives. There’s a version of yourself that talks to a better half and there’s a version of yourself interacting with a colleague and it’s the same you who can chat with a 5-year-old and it’s again the same you who can play with a pet dog.  In fact all of the people whom we meet in our lives, be it anywhere has a different version of “you”. A person may be outgoing and talkative at home whereas he may be reserved and and introvert at school or work.  Likewise, we have different point of views which may not necessarily mesh or intertwine together.  Every human is a universe unto themselves. The same goes true with a book or a piece of art. It’s basically about being embracive about the innate nature of being self-contradictory instead of being embarrassed by it.

Quoting from a very interesting article on the same,

And yet, in the privacy of our interior lives, the reality of the self seems inescapable — sometimes maddeningly so. For each of us, the entire enormity of life unfolds within the tiny locus of consciousness we experience as our very own self. So where is the line between the inevitability of the self as a focal point of experience and its mutation into an imprisoning ego-shell which, in the words of the great Zen teacher D.T. Suzuki, “is the hardest thing to outgrow”?

By large, containing multitudes and having these contradictions within ourselves would be perhaps the most moving part of the human experience and existence. Have a beautiful day.

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