It has been an interesting week and a half. I’m still coughing out the lingering cold that has been sucking marrow from my bones. Last week a career opportunity beaned me out of left field and yesterday I gave notice to my friend and current employer, which was a good step for me pragmatically but not exactly what I would classify as a satisfying emotional experience (Poem, David, Nakey, Mason: I’m going to miss you). The stock markets are a disaster area. The federal budget is totally hosed. Global warming seems intent on making Roland Emmerich look subtle. Oh, and my house still feels a lot like a hotel: I have no idea where my clothes are, and I keep looking in the wrong places for dishes and the garbage bin.
My sister wrote a blog post today. It’s title, fittingly enough, was “Fuck It.” Her bitterness today makes my own look like the carefree ramblings of a gradeschooler
I have NO CONTROL over the bad things in the world, the shit that people do to each other, over cancer, and pollution and violence and that ASSHOLE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD THAT DOESN’T USE HIS TURN SIGNAL…I only have control over how I react to to these things. (Emma Bush, http://emmabush.com/?p=946)
Strangely enough, this sounds a lot like the thesis I started writing for my final paper back at UW 8 years ago — the one I never finished, thus failing to achieve my all important diploma. How droll.
Today, I went to my favorite beach — my place for walking in solitude, for contemplation, for stepping out of the world — and found that someone had tagged the shoulder with the phrase “Hello Coal. G’bye Beach.” Could my beach actually go away? In any case, we’ll become strangers: I’m moving south this winter, with no plans for an immediate return.
Is the world ending?
The answer is yes, but not the way you’d think. War, hatred, intolerance, stupidity, ignorance — these things are simply not the villainous forces that we have taken them for. Do a google image search for the phrase “apocalypse” and take note of what you see. Mushroom clouds, superheroes, zombies, and desolated cities — a lot of them. No real people. These notions of destruction are a distraction from the real force actively aging you, eroding you, and with almost imperceptible slowness destroying your world. The truth is, most dramatic acts of distraction have the effect of stopping time, and slowing it down — keeping the real force of destruction at bay. Organizational skills, indifference, distraction, and efficiency are the servants of the true destroyer.
Namely, Time. An parade consisting of an infinite succession of horses. Each horse signifies a moment passed, never to return. Some of them will bring you gifts; some will carry your children to you. One of them will nuzzle you insistently, and you will ride away with it. They carry the world away, but no faster than they bring replacements for everything they take. They destroy the world, and recreate it, one grain of sand at a time.
Eight years ago, I was philosophically distressed. This sort of conception of the singularity of every life and every minute felt weighted, depressing. I am thankful to have shaken free of this sort of fatalism, which did neither more nor the world any good whatsoever. Instead, I am glad to be destroyed, to be part of the process.
If you live on the assumption that the world is constantly ending/ended/rebooting/starting again, that means that every day is new. Slavery to the past, to history, to habit — these are all a misconception created by the illusion that you’re still living in the same world you lived in yesterday. We are freer than we feel.
Embrace your freedom, and your time: appreciate every microcosm you can.