What makes you exactly you and not someone else? What separates where the world ends and you begin? Are we just meat harbouring the ego and is the line that separates the margin of the skin? How do we come to consider some things as ours and others as not and why is there a need to separate the world into balkanized us vs. them rifts?
All valid questions and with infinite explanations, depending from what doctrine, teaching or set of evidence, postulates and philosophies you choose to view them from. A biologist and physiologist would see you as primarily just a body and machinery, their friends the psychologists or neurologists would consider you a collage of neurosis, experiences and behaviour patterns, traumas and inclinations or would deem your consciousness just as an emergent quality of brain complexity, a set of electrical signals and neural pathways. And then you take a psychedelic and the container that makes the margins of you melts, dissolves into nothing, the membrane pops an you’re left experiencing the whole without the self you’ve constructed, observing as a child, unencumbered by skin and isolation of one singular brain and experience.
There is so much we don’t understand and maybe never will because how can you see your own eyes without a tool standing in between as a camera lens or a mirror. There are things that completely baffle us still, like the infinite source of collective information where we know things we had no rational way of knowing with such certainty, as if all information was floating somewhere in a cloud and is there to tap into. How can that be if we’re doomed to only this body and a lonely experience of one? It is sometimes called the gut feeling (which is in fact correct, the gut is far more aware of what you’re feeling that the brain which tries to rationalize and verbalize things that elude it), or intuition, which picks up on thigs so far below the conscious level of thought (about 5% of our thoughts and actions in a day are conscious and voluntary).
As we perceive ourselves as separate fragment, isolated event residing within an equally isolated body, we start to feel alone surrounded by people. On a larger scale we start to form clans with all that are similar, no matter if the similarity is skin deep or geographically related or a philosophical, political or any other kind of alignment. The moment you have the “us” all others that are in any form different from “us” are labelled “them”. This “them” is something strange, alien to us, our opponent, enemy or someone to contend with. We set boundaries, rules, develop aversions or downright disgust, we hate, judge and separate. Most of what you look like, believe in and think you want is conditioned by the accidental roulette of birth.
There is no separation, only consciousness that got a few neat senses to experience the world around it and the things we feel and live through are pretty much universal no matter at which corner of the world our ancestry planted us in. None are alone because the really big questions concern all of us. They are not quibbles over a few kilometres of dust where we draw imaginary lines. They are far greater things pertaining to meaning of the experiences and this is universal. All other constructs we stick to the experiences themselves are just stories we tell ourselves to make sense of things, and only the stories vary. The fears, love and hope are universal to the human experience in the heart of New York just as in the last remaining tribal societies. The lines between in and out and us or them are just constructs, they are simply not there, there is no “us” and “them”. There is just ”human” and “alive”.