“Who is it?””You. For that is all it can be.””Surely not! Were I to speak so candidly to myself, I would be judged insane, and rightly so!””But I am indeed you. No malicious little troglodyte, I. Else I had a body of my own, I would dash it on the rocks.””What rocks? I see no splashing shore, no mountain ranges or precarious cliffs leading to the demise you wish to inflict upon ourselves. What is your game.””I have none. You still do not see, that I am you.””Stop talking nonsense. This gibbering foolishness does not become me, and it embarrasses me a figment of my imagination could lack such imagination or awash itself in such idiocy.””Ah, but I am you. This idiocy you speak of is none but your own. I take only what is supplied, and feed amply upon the dregs of your deepest fears and ambitions. My lack of education or lyrical whit are none but yours.””So be it then. Explain yourself. I demand to know what you desire of me, to hound my life so wrongfully.””Hound you? Surely not! I did not seek equal time of you, nor did I request a single favor. You found me out! But I did not present myself. I merely want my privacy.””Privacy!? But I am me, not you! This is my home, feeble and sluggish as it may be. This thing I call my sanity and self. You can not have it. I know not what may have spawned you: perhaps a strong piece of fish, or a bad yam, but no matter! I will hear no more, for I was here first, and this is my brain!””Yours? I must admit that is an absurd observation. It is ours, quite obviously. This is not my choice, for I do not wish to be here. Alas, be it through your own loneliness or a quirk of genetic fate, I am here to stay. Please be so kind as to leave me some peace occasionally.””Peace. You want peace? Do I stop thinking? Maybe speak aloud any idle thought I should keep to myself?””It matters not to me, dear friend. I asked not for this, and I do not desire your company. It is simple: I am you, so leave me be.””I see. On to other things then. Should we speak of the recent sporting events? The weather? I know a few good recipes I could share, should you inquire.””I care not. Please know there is no disrespect implied, but I do not desire your company. I was quite fond of your general obliviousness to my existence. So, why not leave things as they were?””Fine then. Earlier, you spoke of rocks. This you never explained, so I will have it.””Do you not yet understand? Please comprehend that I do not enjoy this life, but I do not control it. I do not wish your demise, merely my own. For my deconstruction is not death, but an undoing of some strange witchcraft. You know as well that I am an unnatural thing.””Yes. But I’m starting to understand you. Would it help if I placed a jagged cliff in my mind, complete with rough edges and juts for you to dash yourself upon? It is not in me to impose, so I’ll assist where I can.””Sometimes in your dreams, you have tried this. We speak in them often. While asleep, you tire me endlessly with your adventures and quests. There is never a moment of peace! But I am contrite, for I know the reason for your woes, yet care not.””Woes? What I lack in commonality, I have in sheer abundance. Well… maybe that is too simple an evaluation. Should I say I am tired? Bored? I’m not really sure.””But I am! I am you! I am not a manifestation of some aspect, your subconscious, or even a split personality bent on world domination. I am you in the purest sense. Everything that makes you unique frames my content, though I have no subconscious, so I am the whole you. All of it, and yet none of it.””What? How can you be none of me?””Fool! Would you speak to yourself twenty years ago as an equal? Could that person understand you, though everything they were, you are? You are but a piece of the whole, twisting as a paper in a storm. You fly from one thing to another, uncaring in the path, for you do not control the elements. You lack wisdom, though you sense it in yourself. I am that wisdom, I am everything you wish you could be, save the strength or resolve necessary to accomplish or complete the resemblance.””You need not be so harsh…””No? I am tired. You were here first. You were here always. I am new, yet I am old. I am already tired and beaten. Weak and worn, yet careful and diligent in my techniques in hiding it from even myself that has no cover. My life is endless whilst you live; but like you, that alone makes me content, though trivial and empty.””Tis a sad way to live. I do not believe I could content myself with merely drawing breath. Though you say you are me, that is something I do not accept. How can I acquiesce defeat to that which bore me? To overcome defeat and hardship only to be consumed by oblivion? Hardly.””You are right. But unfortunately you are mistaken beyond measure. I wish you would understand, but know you can not. It is as beyond you as quantum physics is daunting to newborn babes. You have the potential, for I am the result of that potential, yet it is not enough.””So it seems.””But put your mind at ease. Nothing is out of place. Forget my location, forget my presence, press it deep within the recesses of you capacious mind. I will always be here, providing that deeper sense of understanding you feel is unattainably within your grasp. This is no taunt, but a promise that a semblance of you will evolve a greater understanding of all things. Of Zen, some wisdom, and a little peace and tranquility you seek so desperately.””Is such within the realms of possibility? Forget a second self so painfully beyond my ken?””Be well, for I will contribute to the effort. For I am all that is or was within you, so also your mind is my will. There is no hypnosis deeper, or meditation nearly so fulfilling. I can not stop your racing mind, those spinning images that relentlessly flood your thoughts, clashing and forging instances of simultaneous contemplation and staggering scenarios. Nor would I dare try. Those things, random and pointless as they seem, may provide true salvation for us.””Sometimes, I would get that feeling. With my mind racing while I fight for the escape of sleep, I sense an inner calm, as if I could flip a switch and instantly rise beyond the petty happenings of the world. Somewhere within me, you, and that spinning maelstrom is the answer, were I ready to take it.””And that, my friend, is why I am here. You are almost ready. You are no monk, and I doubt we will ascend to a higher plane of reality, but a glimmer of the answer is there for both of us, all of us, really.””So what was the point of all this?””Nothing. I’m not really here, you know. You’re just talking to yourself because you’re tired. Get some sleep; I’ll see you there.”

Shadow of the Self