The Riddle of “I” (2002)

(Jagets gåta) Lena Einhorn Film for Sveriges Television; 57 min.
Writer: Lena Einhorn
Producer: Lena Einhorn
Photographers: Dick Yngwe, Lars Persson-Tille and Lena Einhorn
Editor: Benny Karlsson

Life is a journey, and each of us travel through this life as if in a boat, which we try to control as best we can – but that often, and especially if we allow it, all on its own takes us to strange and unknown places.

The boat is “my” body, which was given the “me” for this journey, for as long as it lasts. But who, then, is this ‘I’, traveller – and sometime captain – on this boat?

Through the ages, and in most world cultures, people have tended to develop a belief in a separate life force within us all. This life force has been called the soul, or, in more modern ways of thinking, simply “the Self”. We have always been reluctant to look at ourselves as only “body”, only matter. For we know that unlike a tree or a stone, each of us has his or her own will, which is above, and apparently distinct from, the body’s vegetative patterns. We experience the presence of an I, which, at least partly, has power over our matter, our bodies – and to some extent over our surroundings.

What, then, is this we call “I”? What constitutes the force that controls our bodies, giving us our very own private experience, and which even makes us wonder if the body could be something outside of pure matter? The mysterious and wonderful self has been at the center of humanity’s thoughts as long as we have existed – and dominated religious thought as well as psychology and brain research. And, in fact, do they all not actually pose the same question?

Lena Einhorn has taken a journey through the wondrous winding corridors of the “I”.