18 March 2017 4:40 am
(late entry, but written early hours this morning)
I fully expect this entry to become progressively more and more nonsensical. I need to sleep zzz
I read something today. It was a small passage of dialogue from a book that is part of a larger series called ‘Malazan Book Of The Fallen’. This particular book, Toll The Hounds, is the eighth one in this series of ten. There are other books set in the same world but they do not necessarily constitute part of the main story line. Yes, it is an entirely fictitious world full of entirely fictitious character that inhabit a world that is completely fantastical. However, that does not mean that we cannot draw parallels, learn lessons, or even divine answers from these fictitious narratives that can sometimes reflect the real world that we live in.
Why am I writing about this thing that I read that stuck in my mind? Because it asks a similar question to one that I have asked myself. Do things change? Does the world change? Do we, as people, have the capacity to truly become something other than what we are and transcend? If not physically, then at least spiritually in to something more, something better.
In this short bit of the narrative two character are talking to each other and one of them makes the statement ‘nothing changes’ and is immediately challenged by the other who replies:
‘of course it changes, it keeps getting worse‘.
The reply is what is most interesting. I don’t know if I agree or disagree…. yet. But still, it makes me wonder. The character responds with:
‘that is an illusion. Your sense of things getting worse comes with getting older. You see more, and what you see wars with your memories of how things use to be’.
We are born, we are nurtured, we grow up, we get old. All of these stages of life are unique to every individual living thing. As sentient beings of reason, of intellect, we soak up the world around us through observation and experience. Our experiences are for the most part responsible for the people we eventually become. Ultimately, all of these things shape our own little realities, our own little universes that become our world that is seen through only our eyes. Two people with different life experiences can sit in a room, watch the same movie, and come out with two very different opinions about what they had just seen because they may or may not pick up on different things that the other may not have picked up on or even been interested in.
And whilst we all live in our own little worlds; billions of them, we all live under the same sky, the same reality. As individuals, we may seem to change as we get older, or not. As we experience new things, we may become better or worse. Or maybe not change at all.
The world as a whole seems to have changed quite a bit in the last few hundred years alone. Technology has made things easier for us. As a people, we have never been closer to each other than as we are now. But at the same time we seem to be so very far apart. At the touch of a button we can have conversations with people half a world away for hours on end. At the same time we can live on the same plot of land with someone and know next to nothing about them.
Technology moves forward at such a fast pace that it can at times be quite hard to keep up. Particularly for the ‘older generation’. On the surface, we change quite drastically. A hundred years ago, fifty years ago, twenty years ago, if we wanted to talk to a friend we would have to ask for permission to use the house phone (if you had one) or literally get on your bike and go to their house. Such an undertaking would be the norm, it is simply what was done at the time. If a train was late, it was late. We all understood that it would eventually arrive and we could get to our destination… eventually.
Now, people do not need to go somewhere to see or speak to a friend. Technology has made our lives easier in that regard. Instantaneous communication. Trains are expected to run on time, without delay.
But the difference is, whilst we once would have made the effort to ‘get on our bikes’ or have waited patiently for a train, we seem to have become a lot less patient. If that train is late, even by a few minutes, annoyance often sets in. Impatience can be seen on most faces, sometimes to the point of anger.
These things are not true for everyone of course. Certainly not for people who do not necessarily have access to the things we have here in the U.K., the US etc.
Yes some things change. As individual people we change. Or don’t.
If we are to switch on the television, turn to the news, inevitably we will find that somewhere in the world there is a war or some sort of atrocity happening, right now. The world at large is in turmoil and people are suffering. And some people are not.
As far back in to history as we can look this seems to be the same old story. A cyclical evolution, if such a contradiction even makes sense. From the earliest stone tools to the latest iPhone technology evolves and to some degree we too evolve with it. But are we evolving for the better, or regressing in to fully dependant partially aware drones that are completely reliant on the tools at hand.
Global, economic, political, environmental issues that we face have been happening since history was first out to paper. The only difference is the way that things are presented. We once wore sandals, and now we wear trainers. But the person in either of those items still remains a person. A person who was born, who was nurtured, who grew up, who will hopefully grow old. And for that one person, the world will change, it will progress, and they will see wonders in their lifetime. But when they are gone and faded in to memory and a new generation comes to take their place… will they have the exact same experiences and wants and needs? Will they also wonder at the turmoil the world is in? Will they also love and smile and laugh and struggle and overcome? Most likely. Probably.
Will the only difference be the way things look. The way we/they are clothed?
The world still wars and rages and wails. But it also laughs and cries and smiles and loves and everything in between.
So do things really change? Is life cyclical? Does it even matter? Will we all just fade away and become shadows like Percy Shelly’s ‘Ozymandias’?
What is the point of all this? There isn’t one.
My eyes are burning, it’s late/early. And I may have just written a piece of nonsensical gibberish that digresses way too many times for no reason whatsoever and the sun is coming up which mean I need to wake up in a few hours.
At least it’s the weekend.
I’m off to find Hushabye Mountain and that oh so gentle breeze.