Photo on 2014-03-25 at 14.53 #5


Our What if? essay series encourages you to embark on philosophical adventures more frequently and motivates you to regularly push past the boundaries of conventional thought. To read previous submissions, click here

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JULIA M. KELLEY is a a 20 year old philosophy and German student born on April Fools Day. She likes to bake bread, brew beer, and play women’s rugby. Her dream is to open a restaurant called Hot Dogs or Legs or a bagel shop called Hegel’s Bagels and, of course, to change the world. 



What if?

What if every time you touched another human you could hear all of their thoughts? All of their thoughts would rush into your mind. Everything they were feeling or thinking or even those parts of yourself that you know are there and sometimes try to hide and sometimes don’t try to hide but you know what I mean those parts of you that you try to express to someone else using words and the words are wrong so instead you express the wrong feeling and then the frustration at expressing the wrong feeling muddles the more pure first expression that you wanted to express in the first place so then you must go back and try again but should you acknowledge the expression or should you just try to use words again or maybe words are not enough and you need another medium like maybe you could pull out a violin and express that one thought with a sad song or maybe you’re not even feeling sad and you just want someone to hear what you are saying the way that you are saying it to yourself but the problem is that you are not saying it to yourself it is just there and when you say it it isn’t there anymore it is in the word and not all of it is in the word but the word takes it outside of there and so the words are not enough. So then you reach out your hand and you touch someone else and all of that that is there is still there in you and there in them at the same time. I don’t know how it happens okay but what if? Would you like it? When you’re laying in bed next to your lover and you want to tell them that you love them and you want to tell them that their touch, their touch, it is the best thing ever but that’s not really what you want to tell them right? Because that sounds stupid and cliché and if you just said that sex was great that’s not really what you meant, there is more than words; there is more to everything we say. So if we just touched someone and they knew what we were trying to say would we be and feel less alone? Or would we feel empty inside, like something has been taken from us that was never supposed to leave. But why can’t you share? Why do you have to have these secret parts of yourself that you can’t express? Does it make you more interesting? Or is that what everyone is doing when they are being creative? Just reaching into those places, those unique little places, those dark (or light) crevasses and dead space inside of us and we try to express them, make them intelligible, to someone else, to everyone. So when we do, we hope that we can open up someone else’s crevasses and maybe that person did not know that they had that crevasse in the first place. So if we could always just express everything, if you could reach out and touch someone’s hand and know everything, then there would be no crevasse. We would be raw, open, there. So would there be art? Would we paint or write or play music? Would we fight? Would we read less books and watch less movies? Or would that still not be enough? Would the crevasse still exist, just deeper, or on another level or in another form. So then we would have to keep looking, keep probing, keep trying to express ourselves in any way we knew how but this time it would be different. Do you know what I mean? No? What if you could just reach out and touch my arm and know it all. Would you? I would let you.

What if?



Published: April 1st, 2014

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One Comment

  1. After reading your article I thought about how God is mysterious, “speaks” to us in our silence, and creates abundantly and outrageously! We yearn to be understood, as you said say yes to anyone who would carefully and honestly (are those adverbs my insert?) care to know your thoughts. But you raise a good thought: will we then lose our interest in the creative act, of making art, or music, or poetry, or making a beautiful child? Aren’t all these acts our expression and exploration, discovery and DESIRE TO MAKE CONNECTION WITH OTHERS of our uniqueness, and of our connectedness to the mysteriousness and sacredness of life? Just as I would not have the urge to creative if you knowing me completely, so pwrhaps God would not need to create to express Herself if we could know Her completely. I am thankful to love the mysterious Julia!

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