How does that picture make you feel ? It's a painting, from Patrick Hughes, titled Déja Vu. In the grand non-scheme of things, we, as a species, are apparently evolving, albeit extremely slowly. And you and I ? Much to my surprise — from reading old journals I wrote while I was in high school — I haven't changed much inside. Actually, I fail to see how I have changed at all. I may only have gained a little of life know-how.
Is that a depressing thought ? It wasn't for me. As I was reading these old rants, I felt hot in the face (yes, it was close to shame, but not quite), and I was moved, seeing myself in that too-close-for-comfort ghost from the past. I kept reading on and thinking oh my God, oh my God. There are days when a seeming lack of movement forward can be discouraging, though. If I had known then that I would still struggle for another 20 years with the same issues!
But from a much larger perspective ? Things don't have to change. We don't have to go anywhere, in the absolute. (Oh, how lovely...) I don't mind seasons, cycles, éternels recommencements. How about you ?
The world out there, the one of galactic proportions, is something we can rely upon. It may be in expansion, or contracting, but to most of us it looks the same, always.
The bad news, writes Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, is that atoms are fickle and their time of devotion [to a living organism] is fleeting-fleeting [...]. Even a long human life adds up to only about 650,000 hours. (Jesus! It's still something, isn't it ?!)
Here's something I thought had changed, and I was wrong : I was already thinking about my own death at 21. Here's the big change in store for me : I will die. And there probably won't be any sort of enlightenment before my death.
So what is that picture telling you ? Here are some possible meanings for me :