Looking at my post list I had quite forgotten this one has been waiting some time for my personal comments. I finished this book last year. I put in my favorite quotes but then it just sat, forgotten. So without further delay let me get to it and post it.
While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back.
– Middle age is a time when people stop and reflect on their own lives. They look back to their youth, when things were exciting and the future full of possibility. They look to those times and wonder how they ended up as they did. Life is no longer exciting, the vast array of future possibilities have all dried up and there is a feeling of sadness. Then, without warning, five more years have passed and they’re even older. Time is not influenced by the feelings and emotions of anyone. It continues on without care.
Each person knows that somewhere is recorded the moment she was born, the moment she took her first step, the moment of her first passion, the moment she said goodbye to her parents.
– This makes me smile because yes, my life is recorded somewhere, it is recorded right in this very blog! So if the universe is always recording that would be great as I have a big gap from when I was born to about 17 years old when I didn’t write much at all. I like to imagine that I’m an immortal being and this life is just one of an infinite many that is recorded in a book and placed on a divine bookshelf. I can either re-read it or relive it if I wish. I like this thought better than there being just nothing upon death.
Each section of the village is fastened to a different time.
So, too, individual people become stuck in some point of their lives and do not get free.
– This is true. Many are in situations that they never really grew past a certain time period in their lives. Some grew a little but the effects of that time period caused any growth to be severely stunted. It is no surprise that the experience of high school continue to influence and weigh heavily on how people turn out. Yes, time marched on and everyone got older but it is still very easy to see their experience in high school in their character. Some people believe growing is to completely forget certain periods in their past. These people like to forget and it seems their lives are one episode after another that the person living it wasn’t to continually erase. Growing is not about forgetting your past, it is about embracing it and using it to make more informed choices in the future. It is part of your ‘life book’ whether you want a specific chapter to be there or not.
The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone.
– We are inherently alone. The lives we live and the thoughts we have are ours and ours alone. To combat this we as humans like to be with others and strive to build familial and social supports. Life has no joy if we do not have people to share experiences with. Yet, all things considered we inhabit our own worlds and our minds are worlds unto themselves exclusive only to the owner.
For it is only habit and memory that dulls the physical passion. Without memory, each night is the first night, each morning is the first morning, each kiss and touch are the first.
– Memory is a sedative. Does anyone middle age remember how exciting a first kiss or (first you know what) was? I remember speaking with an older work colleague who said he’s probably rather watch the World Series than have sex. At 18 I thought this man was absolutely mad. Well, I still think he is crazy but at 42 I can understand his point much better. New experiences are exciting. They lose their luster after a while.
A world without memory is a world of the present. The past exists only in books, in documents. In order to know himself, each person carries his own Book of Life, which is filled with the history of his life.
– The past still only exists in books and documents. Here we are in the age of the internet, with all human knowledge at our fingertips. Yet, humanity uses the internet primarily for social media, arguing, and the selling of products. How disappointing. The past is being forgotten at a faster pace now, with all the knowledge readily available, than it was pre-internet. Experts have been replaced with the opinions of friends on social media. Friend’s opinions used to be kept much more close to the chest, now they are spread like a barrage of cannon fire to everyone and anyone whether they are wanted or not.
– This very blog is my Book of Life. Its existence is so I can continue to know myself and not forget. That is its main purpose.
The Nows and Laters have one thing in common. With infinite life comes an infinite list of relatives. Grandparents never die, nor do great-grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, great-great-aunts, and so on, back through the generations, all alive and offering advice. Sons never escape from the shadows of their fathers. Nor do daughters of their mothers. No one ever comes into his own.
– This is true now and I can think of no better example than religion. People adhere to their particular brand of religion because it was the religion of their parents and their parents before them and so on. They were taught the faith by their parents and it has been passed down from generation to generation. That’s it! That is why most people are religious and it is not complicated to understand.
Such is the costs of immortality. No person is whole. No person is free. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die. In death, a man or a woman is free of the weight of the past.
– Sometimes the past will weigh people down indefinitely. They can no longer grow. I have seen many examples of this.
Some people fear traveling far from a comfortable moment. They remain close to a temporal location, barely crawling past a familiar occasion. Other gallop recklessly into the future, without preparation for the rapid sequence of passing events.
– Reading the above I think of Christmas. I never want the season to end and I hate taking down decorations. But I know if I do not and if I could remain at that comfortable moment then I’d never get to the next holiday or fun experience. I would in fact, stop growing. This is the same on New Years Day when I’m comfortable with the past, it is familiar to me. The New Year is the unknown and causes concern because we do not know what it will bring. The year 2020 has so far shown this concern is not without good reason. You can take all the precautions in the world yet everything could still fall apart.
While his teacher is speaking, the young man gazes out the window, studies the way snow clings to the spruce beside the building, wonders how he will manage on his own once he has received his degree. Sitting in his chair; the young man steps hesitantly forward in time, only minutes into the future, shudders at the cold and uncertainty. He pulls back. Much better to stay in this moment, beside the warm fire, beside the warm help of his mentor: Much better to stop movement in time. And so, on this day in the small library, the young man remains. His friends pass by, look in briefly to see him stopped in this moment, continue on to the future at their own paces.
– If I had the power to do this then there are more than a few times I would have remained in a cozy spot not wanting to advance. Here are the moments:
– Sitting on the furnace vent when I was about 5 at 4:00 AM among the presents on Christmas morning. It was cold outside and snow had blanketed everything. The air blowing up warmed me and I was dazzled by the Christmas tree lights. If I could have stayed in that moment forever I would have. But if I did, I’d still be 5 and not have experienced the wonder that is so many foreign countries, people and experiences.
– Sitting with my girlfriend in front of the grill at Kyu-Kaku in Tokyo. We were at the communal table next to a big window. It was cold outside and we could watch people hurry past in their winter coats and hats. But there I was with my girlfriend (now wife) in front of a warm grill and a large mug of frosty beer. If I could have stayed in that moment I would have.
– Taking a warm shower at home before a wrestling meet. I hated wrestling meets and the warm shower was so comforting. I didn’t want to end the shower and start the day.
The memory has become his life. When he wakes up in the morning, he is the boy who urinated in his pants. When he passes people on the street, he knows they see the wet spot on his pants.
– Like the influence of high school I mentioned above, some memories are so strong that like a black hole they influence an entire life. This is why I’m so concerned with ensuring my own kids have a great childhood. I need to know what is going on in their world to guard against painful experiences. It is my opinion that painful experiences in childhood leave lasting scars, much deeper than bad experiences when older. I need to help them with their confidence so that they can more readily protect themselves.
But what is the past? Could it be, the firmness of the past is just illusion? Could the past be a kaleidoscope, a pattern of images that shift with each disturbance of a sudden breeze, a laugh, a thought? And if the shift is everywhere, how would we know?
– I know because I wrote it down as it happened in this very blog.
The trapped moment grows withered and without life.
– Nothing further needs to be said. Do not cling to moments, appreciate the day as it comes both good and bad. We are all lucky to be alive.