A fleeting Life / Ein flüchtiges Leben / Uma vida Passageira / Una vida fugaz

An 80-year lifespan is 960 months or about 29,000 days long. Think of that, an entire life. If you are middle-aged and will live another 40 years that’s only 480 months or about 15,000 days.

And for someone my age with a life expectancy of maybe 20 years, that’s 240 months or about 7,000 days. This is shockingly brief.

Part of what is so compelling about this brevity is that the stream we are floating down, slowly, inexorably, and without our control or consent is … life.

We are thrown into the World, imagine endless possibilities if we are lucky and then, suddenly, time has passed. You can nt stop it, rewind it, or fast forward it even if you want to.

When I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and of the hopes that I have had … my own life seems to me a preparation for something that never happens.

Perhaps this is what is so disturbing about time. It refers to a now unreal past, a vanishingly short present, all while leading to a future that quickly disappears.

Perhaps something is amiss in life, and part of what is missing manifests itself in time’s flow. Immortality has been proposed to ameliorate our worries, but I reject the comfort of charlatans, of purveyors of salves.

Lost in an immense forest during the night I have only a small light to guide me. An unknown man appears and says to me: ‘My friend blow out your candle so you can better find your way.’ This unknown man is a theologian. – Diderot

Today we have many cults from which to choose. But I reject them all. Instead, I will keep my candle, my little light of reason, even though I am lost in time. No longer in the Dark Ages, I will not be guided by the blind. I will be, as Buddha counseled, a lamp unto myself.

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