It’s been said that humans are the eyes of the Universe, looking in upon itself. I suppose it explains why so many of us mirror the act by looking in upon our own selves, rather than remaining attentive to the World around us. We caught the habit from the atmosphere itself, and such a wretched habit it is!
It is our awareness of time which distinguishes us within the animal kingdom. I’ve wondered at times if science might one day develop a way to turn off the portion of the brain which detects the passage of time. If suddenly I had no concept of past or future, how carefree my life would be! Alas, apparently our time awareness is the only thing that keeps us from unwittingly stepping out into traffic, unmindful of the fact that all those speeding cars are mere seconds from turning us to soup. I’ve heard accounts of people who purposely step out into traffic as a form of therapy. It must be their way of flipping the bird to the time sensors in their brains.
I’ve never summoned the fortitude to hazard a casual stroll across a busy interstate. I think I’ll leave that act to the Nietzsche disciples of the World. I think I’m better suited for the “looking in” job left to us by the Universe – the massive, ever-growing creature we find ourselves riding upon. Perhaps we are the Universe’s sole method for knowing time itself. It’s a stricken thing, the Universe – stricken by the ravages of entropy – the inevitable product of beginning and end. And so the Universe looks inward, through us, and this act of looking and seeing – this act of awareness of the now – is perhaps the only salve for the burn that comes in knowing time’s existence.
If only awareness were not such a temporal thing. It flickers briefly in the mind, then zips off in an instant, like a frightened bird. Fortunately, I’ve come to know where that frightened little bird lives; rather, I know when it lives.
She lives now, only now.
And what a lovely little bird she is.