Bobbing around Digby Maxwell’s estimable bag of mental tricks is his uncanny ability to see himself objectively–quite literally, as an object. With an almost negligible neuronal nudge, he can leap into the very opposite of a solipsistic universe, one without an “I” anywhere to be found, but nonetheless a universe that contains this fellow Digby Maxwell.
Digby considers this trick of his to be a singular talent, in fact the fount of his success–such as it is or, at least, such as it was. But other people, like, say, his former wife, Fanny, see it as just one more example of his lack of personal identity. “Underneath all that devil-may-care charm and self-depricating wit,” she says, “there’s just no ‘there’ there. And, of course, philosophically speaking, the Cartesians on campus would insist that there has to be an “I” who perceives this objective Digby: Cogito Ergo, etcetera.