Apr 5, 2019
When a book comes to an end, where do the characters go? Do they die and go to heaven if they were good, or hell if they were bad? Are they perhaps waiting to be reborn into another book until they finally learn that they are only fictional characters in a made-up story?
Obviously, the answer is nowhere, they don’t go anywhere because they were only imagined. They only existed as long as words were giving them a semblance of reality. When those words cease at the end of the book, so does their world of make-believe.
The same goes for the imagined thinker of thoughts, the 'I'. If mental narrative were to cease, where would the supposed thinker of thoughts go? The answer is nowhere, because this one never existed except in imagination. Without thoughts, there would be no thinker, for there would be no story creating this identity.
Thoughts build up the idea of a thinker, just as words create the idea of a book’s narrator. The narrator in a book might appear to be telling the book’s story from some lofty or detached place, but the narrator is really just another character in the book. There is no narrator, just narrative.
Likewise, the thinker of thoughts, the ‘I’, might appear to be thinking the stories in thought, somehow above or beyond the stories it supposedly tells, but is actually just another character within the story being developed by thoughts. There is no thinker, just thoughts.