I’m not sure how, exactly, to write this post nor how to put into words what I’m trying to express. It all sounds so trite when I put it to paper. I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with me for thinking this is a sort of revelation or something wrong with me for having this sort of revelation. I think it’s an experience of what Lacan calls the “real” in one of its variations, but who knows? Every so many years I have a sort of “revelation”, not unlike Pascal’s horror before the infinite, that hits me like a kick in the gut and that sends me reeling. I’ve never fully understood it, still struggle to understand it, and it sounds trite and obvious when I put it into words (interpretation: I feel very vulnerable talking about this). It happened, perhaps, for the first time when I was 14 or 15 years old; though I remember experiences as far back as kindergarten. I had recently moved to a new town and my friend was coming to visit me that day. I was very excited to see my friend as I was lonely in this new town. As I recall, at the time, I was reading Sartre’s Nausea or Heidegger’s Being and Time. As I was standing at the locker to get my books between classes, it suddenly hit me that as he was driving he was experiencing and thinking entirely different things than I was experiencing at that moment. We were somehow a part of the same world, yet entirely different and disparate worlds at the same time. And then it washed over me. This wasn’t simply true of me and my friend, but of everyone in that bustling hallway, everyone on the road, everyone on the planet. All of us are seeing a different world, interpreting things differently, noticing different things, and are filled with different desires, longings, worries, anxieties, loves, hatreds, and all the rest. We seem to occupy the same world, but really it’s a pluraverse, not a world.
I was overwhelmed to the point I could hardly breath. The world that had once thought was common or the same was really a set of– as Deleuze says –divergent series without any sort of overarching unity. A trite observation. Sure, I had known it. I still know it. Yet what was different about this traumatic experience was that I really felt and experienced it. I experienced the dissolution or the collapse of the world in this plurality of perspectives. I felt it’s collapse into a chaotic kaleidoscope without unity.