Monday, June 20, 2011

Quick trip to Tralfamadore

Lightning round: trying to catch a quick chain of thought/association:

a) Read:  "Mayor Bloomberg, who just lost his beloved mother, also used his influence with Republicans to move the needle."
b)  Thought: strange, to lose your mother when you're yourself pushing 70...must concentrate the mind on mortality.  Then thought....

c) How do we live in late life, knowing that years till death have to be more or less short?
d) How do we live at all, knowing that years till death are always, in the long view, short?
e) It doesn't seem to bother us too much, moment to moment.
f) How can anything in life really matter in light of consciousness that one will die?
g) Turn that around: maybe consciousness as experienced is a clue. We feel, as we live, that every moment matters. Maybe it does, in the most basic sense:
h) re Vonnegut's vision of eternity (which has stuck with me since about age 14): every moment is eternal.  If time as we experience it is an illusion, there is no "when" in which to be dead -- every moment is equally real. Hence what matters is the sum total of what you experience/accomplish -- it's always all there, both in the chain of experience and in the chain of causality (i.e. what you've contributed to the future of those you deal with in life and the future of humanity as a whole).

I imagine this was all triggered in part by having been at a funeral yesterday.

Vonnegut has not worn very well with me over the years. But I've always suspected that he was more or less right about time.

Perhaps trains of thought like this move so quickly in part because all or most of the thoughts are so familiar.  The mind runs on the same grooves, endlessly. It gets wearisome after a few decades.  Continuing study or stimulating work or travel or other new experiences provide at least occasional jailbreaks.  

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