“To understand me, you’ll have to swallow a world”

From Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children:
(Note that the grammatical eccentricities are Rushdie’s own!)

I no longer want to be anything except what who I am.  Who what am I?  My answer:  I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me.  I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine.  I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come.  Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each “I”, every one of the now-six-hundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude.  I repeat for the last time:  to understand me, you’ll have to swallow a world.

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