Thursday, January 4, 2007

Eternity

I consider it one of my peculiarities that my life taken as a whole is depressing, heavy, chaotic, disorganized, in a word, ugly. My life considered as a grand story with a direction and a plot, as something that ought to be "meaningful," is a tale told by an idiot. However, when I consider my life as a series of minor events, conversations with friends, a half hour in a coffee bar before work, a poem, daydreaming, and the list seems endless, I find the same life to be light, pleasant, and full of surprises each better than the last.



In those little experiences, I find intimations of eternity. It is not fashionable to talk about this in our proudly secular age, but there is no better word to describe the experience of timelessness that comes on my sunnier days.



It was Spinoza who made it clear to me that time and existence are independent of one another. He defined the universe as everything that had ever existed, presently exists, and will ever exist. The universe so understood is timeless. What I experience at any given moment is a tiny sliver of all that exists. When I no longer experience something, that does not mean that those experiences are destroyed. Those things that brought droplets of happiness still exist. Nothing is truly lost. The coming to be and passing away of things in the universe does not pertain to the whole. We live in eternity.



Unfortunately for some, and fortunate for others, this eternity is not the promise of the unending duration of a different mode of existence after death, but the timelessness of this life. The eternity of the universe guarantees the eternity of my life, of all those loves and hates, fears and dreams, all that I hold dear, only because they are part of this selfsame universe, and most definitely not hints of some other, "better," kind of existence. These intimations of eternity do not make me a better person. They have no monetary value and in themselves produce no insight. Nor do they even serve to ward off the inclement weather of all too frequent bad moods.



One would do well to think of them as expressive of a happiness and even of the good luck to be born Bob, son of Marysol & Lliam.




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