Friday, April 2, 2010

On the Subjective Experience of Space and Time

On the Subjective Experience of Space and Time L. Otto April 2. 2010 Good Friday message

The distance to the store where I take my walks seems shorter on the way back now that I am familiar with the way. In general one gets used to the extent and terrain and the city.

But this creative burst during my visit here seems like I have done a lot in both the compression of time felt when you view things on say a small screen that actually feels like your time was so much longer, or in a wide space or large room time seems shortened, almost to vanishing in retrospect. Of course as we age the early time seems so much longer compared with the experience of the fleeting and memory sparse last week. When we grow we seem to grow larger than the places we have been, this seems true even in adulthood we've reached full height.

So one thing that may explain this burst of creativity is that in both the large scale and the small scale for me there was simply more time. I imagine on the Savannah the early man and most of the animals that live on the plains, the seas seem to me a little more complicated, that time for them if they thought about it and looked up would be very short indeed and the attention to apply and learn to carve things, speak, make fire is a very long steep climb over time. It seems then that our attitude to time and space is as important as whatever experience we have of them. In a real sense it is as if we can relatively grow younger, at least benefit from positive moods even if this may not be the ultimate case in the cosmos.

Now, it is a profound and impressive saying to say that the greatest love from any man is that he give his life for another. This idea needs some further thought I imagine. For if life is once around and unique then in makes some sense but what does it matter if things recur or we live forever?

Whatever sorts of compassion this tells us is certainly a human thing at heart. True, out of some bounded context or scale, or in retrospect, one might say that they died in vain. In which case what did it matter how great the worth and sense of a life.

Consider the problems with the idea of a human incarnation of God. In what respects given the perfection and seemingly eternal vision of origins is that sacrifice a meaningful act of Love? How would the Christ as some see him thought about worldly space and time? Surely he experienced the human idea of time with at least the potential for keener eyes- perhaps in a way he was aware not only of a personal link to humanity but also a uniqueness rather libertarian in the transcendental sense of Emerson or Thoreau. The respect and glory of life and for other lives needs not be thought something of selfishness and comical vanity- nor all has to be tragedy. It can be the glorification of living - or else why struggle to find meaning in our living so as to continue it even against great suffering?

Certainly something of a god-with-us, perhaps a reluctant guru not self anointed, but by accident his flesh and life claimed by kings and the common people, could see as Thoreau said of the warbler when he needed a horsehair for his telescope he went to the stables but the finer sight of the warbler could find one in the road in front of his door. Yes, our conceptions of things can be too physical and mechanical- Whitman between the perfect music and the jazz had his links to gravity in the lectures on perturbations some imagine were reflections on his psychology.

It is said in the Compleat Angler that time spent fishing is not taken away from but added to one's life. Perhaps in a wider sense of our destiny and time as in Jesus and others where they really know and are sincere, or at least hope what a human heart is telling them- that while we can be thrown awhile into the belly of a fish we like him find greater fry, we fishermen.

Let us try to translate the spirit of the cosmic code, ride its creative mode, not teach others although even the Christ had to learn from his carpenter earthly father a trade, in a way that the hedgerows are not too wild in their chaos, or our dreams not trimmed into pristine and fixed mazes that we merely accept the elected paths and not the grounds of our own choosing.

In true love, our aspirations also down to earth, I would wish for more time, and I doubt by taking thought I would ever grow tired of my lover.

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