Not long ago, I went on a summer stroll with a dear friend. It evolved into a hike to one of the highest, most beautiful peaks in the country. When I made it to the top, it felt as though I have surpassed a sort of threshold of breathing. Too much beauty might kill you, right?
At the top after I have settled, a cockroach takes a hold of my attention; it had been struggling while fighting the wind; it reminded me of the human animal, as Ernest Becker calls us. It reminded me of the human condition, which is the desire to be in a Godlike position yet pinned in a mortal sack, always fighting life and falling in attempts of sticking out of our nature.
One of the roles of the human condition is that it permits us to initiate our drive in our quests of immortality, by thrusting into beauty and ‘moments of now.’ My involvement in beauty rendered me, a human animal, feeling more of a God than merely a conscious being. This immersion in life and beauty, meaning and time, made me feel that I have mounted over the condition that I was so unluckily disposed to the day I was born a conscious being.
I had opened and stretched my arms as though I was symbolizing my readiness to give in, to give in to the grandiosity of the universe and life, which I have been deeply plunged in.
It’s called the “flow state”, that moment the human animal skips the ‘being’ stage and knocks out the barriers of Godhood.
However, being subjected to beauty, meaning, and life comes with a cost: time. Time is what gives way to entropy and death, time is what led the wind onto the cockroach and trembled the ground we stood upon; with no time there is no motion, no change.
Yet, a butterfly with a broken wing gives more color than an identical butterfly that is alive and free to roam with the summer breeze. The human being seeks Godhood, though conscious of his own fate. The cockroach was at a peak, higher than any other cockroach, yet paying the cost of fighting the wind.
In a moment of now, as I like to call it, time seems slower, and life seems more meaningful, as if we are destined to something other than our mortality. As I opened my arms and was prepared to give in to the power of now, and the colors of beauty, I would close my eyes and forget that I’m at a peak, until the heavy wind moves me slightly and snaps me back into my mortal body.
Why do we allow the idea of death and human condition to interfere with our moments of Godhood? Death and time have known each other “forever.” Why is our fear of death and time our biggest fear and drive? Why fear time so much when it’s what gave meaning to life? Agents of existence cannot be in two places at once; we would not have existed without this notion.
As long as time rules our universe, the clash of existence and beauty will never cease; the beauty of a flower is found at the very root of its ephemerality.
It took us 14 billion years to make it here, and our atoms have been fighting their way for all this time, for we have not been born on our birthdays, we have been born and alive for 14 billion years. What we don’t and won’t understand anytime soon, is that we are the universe because if we all die today, who will be there to define its existence tomorrow? We are the universe, we are continuity.