The night sky bears down on us with its scattering of diamonds on black velvet. The pale smear of the Milky Way slips in and out of vision, frustrating and captivating all at once. In the fleeting moments where the Via Lactea can be seen it is brought home with dizzying impact that everything in the Universe is either You or Not-You. Such thoughts either evoke laughter or consternation.
You or Not-You. The imperial absurdity of it comes clear if "potato" is substituted for You. Everything in the Universe is either a potato or not a potato. An internet meme thus becomes the cornerstone of a new philosophy of self-awareness. It can be safely said by us all that "I am not a potato, therefore I am!"
Silliness, indeed. Such thoughts on an icy winter night turn life into an extended Monty Python skit, a theater of the absurd in which we all star. "I am not a potato," we mutter into the cold air whilst shaking our relatively tiny fists at the sky. It all becomes meta. A conflation of the Universe in its immensity with tubers and all the things we are not but which we consume. We may not be potatoes or air or books, but these things become part of us the instant we chew, breathe, or read. Sometimes all those at once.
To stand under the stars and revel in the mundanity of a humble tuber as being you and not-you is profound and absurd. The paradoxes within can make the head spin and the mind marvel at the amount of energy we expend on the maintenance of partitions between ourselves and our circumstances. By such fiction we strive to convince ourselves we can be masters of the universe.
To see the stars above and the ground below is to know, however, that we are not potatoes. We are not the Universe. We eat the one and curse and praise the other. This assures us that we are human, even if potatoes and galaxies do not seem to know we exist. We consume them both, and are consumed by the imperial and the ridiculous.