(She has) or rather I have spent an inordinate amount of time here on earth trying to answer that question, to corral the diverse elements of my psyche, explore the contours of the self I inhabit at any given moment and, ideally, learn how to run with the particular body/mind continuum I’ve been given.
This has essentially boiled down to a daemon hunt. Not a snark – a daemon (or daimon) is an ancient Greek concept that encompasses, depending who you’re reading, one’s animating spirit, one’s soul, or one’s true character. An illusion, an hallucination, an idea… whatever it is, my daemon has continued to beckon to me, and given me no surcease from the chase. (Actually the damn thing still drags me out of bed in the morning and badgers me through til midnight….)
This sort of quest left me little choice but to become an artist. Although I’ve often tried to intervene in this trajectory, it just seems to be my nature. (Wait, who is the I here? And who the mysterious figure lurking behind ‘my nature?’ This is just the sort of quandary one winds up in when exploring the nature of identity and the location of the self – a primary vector of this book.)
In this strange, often solitary, sometimes egotistical pursuit, I’ve leapt from medium to medium, from painting underwater polar bears and monkeys in armored helmets to shooting idiosyncratic art videos, from interviewing neuroscientists, to juggling ideas in this book. All these genres present different ways of wondering about life, in all its manifold mysteries, different paths taken to unearth meaning, to discover my true self and, while I’m at it, to be able to play.