Our lives disconnect and reconnect, we move on, and later we may again touch one another, again bounce away. This is the shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive nor endlessly bifurcating, but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into and tumblings-apart.
— Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present - either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity … It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time - for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence the encouragement we have given to all those schemes of thought such as Creative Evolution, Scientific Humanism, or Communism, which fix men’s affections on the Future, on the very core of temporality. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead. Do not think lust anexception. When the present pleasure arrives, the sin (which alone interests us) is already over. The pleasure is just the part of the process which we regret and would exclude if we could do so without losing the sin; it is the part contributed by the Enemy, and therefore experienced in a Present. The sin, which is our contribution, looked forward.
To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too - just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is not straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future - haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth - ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other - dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.
It follows then, in general, and other things being equal, that it is better for your patient to be filled with anxiety or hope (it doesn’t much matter which) about this war than for him to be living in the present. But the phrase “living in the present” is ambiguous. It may describe a process which is really just as much concerned with the Future as anxiety itself. Your man may be untroubled about the Future, not because he is concerned with the Present, but because he has persuaded himself that the Future is, going to be agreeable. As long as that is the real course of his tranquillity, his tranquillity will do us good, because it is only piling up more disappointment, and therefore more impatience, for him when his false hopes are dashed. If, on the other hand, he is aware that horrors may be in store for him and is praying for the virtues, wherewith to meet them, and meanwhile concerning himself with the Present because there, and there alone, all duty, all grace, all knowledge, and all pleasure dwell, his state is very undesirable and should be attacked at once. Here again, our Philological Arm has done good work; try the word “complacency” on him. But, of course, it is most likely that he is “living in the Present” for none of these reasons but simply because his health is good and he is enjoying his work. The phenomenon would then be merely natural. All the same, I should break it up if I were you. No natural phenomenon is really in our favour. And anyway, why should the creature be happy?
— Screwtape, the Demon. (from Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis)
Like the peculiarity of this date, the 28th of February, today started differently. For a change, I tried to wake up early and catch an early ride to the office. In contrast to my late morning rush, this time my feet are already in transit at 5:30am. I witnessed this scene for the first time this year — my fellow Filipinos from all walks of life, in transport that morning, be it by car, foot, bus, train, and other modes of transport, carrying with them that innocent aspiration for a good life. We, as humans, patiently hardworking and living this so called life, deserve so much better, I thought.
From the bus coach, king Ra started to peek. A few seconds and His sunrise bathed the pale blue horizon with its majestic spray of crimson red at first, and gradually lighting up the whole sky with an effervescent yellow.
It was a humbling experience. Once again i realized how minute and fleeting our existence is— like the rising and setting of the sun, all our hopes, dreams, and these feelings, will all fade into oblivion, but once again, emerge from the darkness.
“You love the accidental. A smile from a pretty girl in an interesting situation, a stolen glance, that is what you are hunting for, that is a motif for your aimless fantasy. You who always pride yourself on being an observateur must, in return, put up with becoming an object of observation. Ah, you are a strange fellow, one moment a child, the next an old man; one moment you are thinking most earnestly about the most important scholarly problems, how you will devote your life to them, and the next you are a lovesick fool.”
— Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
a couple of nights ago I had an unusual dream. I was on a plane as it was about to take off. The engines started, and the typical roaring sound engulfed the ascending heap of metal. A few seconds after it started shaking and the engine stopped. Everybody screamed, because it only meant one thing. We’re going to crash and die. A plane taking off and landing are the most crucial points in an aircraft. A failing engine is not an option here and It is rare for someone to survive a plane crash. At that moment, i felt a legitimate sense of fear.
I don’t really know if it is fear of dying — of what is on the other side, or what will even happen to me, or us, there inside the plane. I even thought of not accomplishing my dreams before that fateful day.
Epiphany kicked in. I only have 5 seconds or less to live, and I cannot waste it on over thinking. I only thought about being thankful, and telling myself that I had a pretty good life. My last words were “Thank you.”
After that, there was nothing, and there was light at the end of a narrow tunnel, then that’s it.
I woke up and thought about it. A mix of fear, and happiness was there. But, primarily fear. I consulted a friend and she told that a plane crash usually represents feelings of helplessness as circumstances get out of control. If you think about it, we are entirely helpless when traveling on planes, more so even than as passengers in cars. But what made me realize in the end, until now, is how short our lives are. The fleeting nature of life and the unpredictability of death unlike birth is good enough evidence to really live on and be thankful that we are given this privilege to breathe, see, taste, smell, feel, love, and be loved.
Like a mist in the breeze, his memories changed shape, and with each change they grew fainter. Each memory was now the shadow of a shadow of a shadow. The only thing that remained tangible to him was the sense of absence.
- Tony Takitani, Haruki Murakami
- Make sure you own a nice bed.
- Sleep in it frequently.
- Remember how nice it feels to flip over your pillow to the cooler side.
- Check your pulse and hum along to the rhythm because it is music.
- Write clear and make a lot of spelling errors. Get the poison out and don’t worry about it being neat.
- If you can, do not shut people out. You will have good days and they should see them.
- If you feel overwhelmed, go outside and scream. Find a nice empty park in the middle of the night and scream as loud as you can until your throat is bleeding. The world wants to hear you.
- Let yourself fall in love. Believe it or not, there are people out there who want your blacks and blues.
- Keep waking up.
- Keep waking up.
- Keep waking up. Maybe with someone next to you.