The fact that I can sit here and write words about the illusion of time and cosmic tyranny and the growth and decay of flesh means that I am at minimum very aware of the world around me and of myself.
I have been alive for 32 years. Which itself is a weird thing to think about. One year marks the earth’s orbit around the sun during which time is spun for about 365 days. A day spans 24 units of the earth’s spin. All that to say, time has no real existence beyond measuring certain celestial movements.
Why should I define my life and growth on the basis of the movement of planets and stars? Why do they get to tell me I am 32 of something? I am here on earth, existing, and the planet and star (the Sun) I am on and orbit define something essential to who I am.
But do they really? Well, they do because I relate my growth, my change to a set of consistent rotations of the earth, whether it is the earth’s spin or its orbit of the sun.
And yet they do not absolutely define something true about me, but only relatively. What I call a year really amounts to an arbitrary measure of change from one state to another. I walk across my town over 60 units of 60 other units—one hour! But all that has really happened is that I moved from one state to another, one place to another place.
The earth also moved faster than me. And so the cosmos get their win once again. The stars rule me, and I am but a speck among the cosmic movements of the celestial window above.
I suppose this should humble me. It does. It also frustrates me. I do not want my liberty curtailed by something out of my control and out of my ability to change. I do not own the calendar. We all possess it, I suppose, even if we have somewhat different calendars across the globe.
But such a frustration really is at myself not the lordly lights above. They stand there by a higher authority and have no ill will against me. It is not their fault that they guide and rule the seasons, demarcating my life.
Someone will one day know the day of birth and the day of my death on the basis of the stars, not on the basis of any absolute thing.
But will they know how I changed from birth to death? Will they know the relationships that I forged, the works I created, the effect that I had on my community? Probably not. I hope so. But realistically, the tyranny of time will continue, and I will be forgotten.
From dust I came, and to dust I go.
Life is not really an encouraging thing to consider. It basically leads to a sort of nihilistic view of nothingness. Even time does not exist, and so the four years you spent feeding the poor or gaining a degree were no time at all. You did not spend that time. You merely changed, and hopefully your change affected other people’s change in positive ways.