Goofus: This is all presumably about my “self.” And there, just now, I added that supplement, “A Point of Order.” It wasn’t really a part of this. [This originally referred to a brief post that is now lost, apparently.]
Gallant: Sure. I understood that.
Goofus: But then there it was!
Gallant: There what was?
Goofus: My self.
Goofus: No, not myself, my self!
Gallant: Your self was where?
Goofus: In that supplement, in that part that wasn’t really part of it. But there, just now, I had to call it a part!
Gallant: I’m very confused. You had to call what a part?
Goofus: The very thing that I had said was NOT a part of it!
Gallant (scratching head): Ok, Uh…, a part of what?
Goofus: A part of the “this” that opened our little chat here.
Gallant: We’re having a chat? Oh yeah, I guess we are. But I can’t look back at the opening. I’m being written, as opposed to reading.
Goofus: Ah, well it was the first word I used. I said “This is all presumably about my self.”
Gallant: Yes, I remember now. And you were saying that the “Point of Order” part was not part of it, but then you still called it a “part,” right?
Gallant: And the thing that you are saying was there in that “part” was your self?
Gallant: Well, let’s be careful here. If what you called a “part” is not actually a part, would it follow from this that we should not expect to find your self there?
Goofus (pondering): Um… uh…
Gallant: What I mean is, you seem to think that if something is not a part of that which is ABOUT your self, then you wouldn’t expect to find your self there. I don’t believe that necessarily follows.
Goofus: Huh. Perhaps you’re right about that.
Gallant: Now, I also wonder what you mean when you say that your self was there in the… What was the other thing you called it? Supplement?
Goofus: Correct. What I meant was that my self was… uh… Expressed? Manifest? Present? Something… IN the supplement. It was presented as if by some narrator or referee, but it was me, and that means it was my self… But… I’m pretty sure I’m beginning to see what you mean that this shouldn’t be any surprise. At least not for the reason I thought.
Gallant: Just so. But on the other hand, one might say that it is ALWAYS a surprise when one finds one’s self, no?
Goofus (furrowing brow): Well, that would be a whole other logical problem, wouldn’t it?
Gallant: How do you mean?
Goofus: How could something always be a surprise? If it were always a surprise, then it would no longer be surprising even if it were surprising at first.
Gallant (closing eyes to think): Well… Saying that would seem to involve conflating the idea of surprise with something like “meta-surprise,” that is, with being surprised about whether or not something is surprising.
Gallant: Or try this: When you talked about the surprise no longer being a surprise, you used the phrase “at first.”
Goofus: Sure. At first it’s a surprise, but it would no longer be a surprise after it happened a time or two.
Gallant (more confidently): Ah! But if we are talking about the self, is there an “at first”?
Goofus: I don’t follow you.
Gallant: What if, when we are talking about one’s self (as opposed to talking about oneself), there is really no such thing as “at first”? Or… I guess what I have in mind is that, when considering the self, there may be no “first this, then that” at all.
Goofus: Do you mean no time reference, or no logical order?
Gallant (hesitating): Hmmm. I’m not really sure which I meant. Maybe both?
Goofus: Wait! I think I know!
Goofus: Maybe in the case of the self, it is ALWAYS “at first.”
Gallant: Then… that could be either temporal or logical, or both?
Goofus: I think so.
Gallant: Then… it would FOLLOW that the self would always be a surprise?