The Time Traveler’s Lament | 8
It has been some time, hasn’t it? I’ll admit to you, dear reader, that upon returning to the present this go around I took some time for myself, to breathe, to think.
It is so rare that I allow myself to bask in the simple pleasures of the present — in the timeline which I was born and which I should, in all honesty, remain.
Right now, my black-out curtains are drawn and I am musing on the outside world. I can hear cars zooming past and disappearing beyond my capacity to sense, multiple fans whirring quietly in my room to combat the heat, and of course, the sound of my own fingers traipsing along on my keyboard.
There is some peace in this mild cacophony around me, as though us living creatures have ceased fighting against our own nature — for a time — and have instead chosen a sleepier, slower state.
I think this is wise. The last time I was pulled away from this present reality, I found myself not only in a strange time, but in a strange land as well. Often, when we envision the past we see it as being beneath us, that because we have “advanced” along a linear time progression we must be inherently more advanced in culture, technology, and ethics.
This, my dear reader, I have learned is simply not the case.
A land rich in natural splendor — where the trees hang heavy with colorful, nutritious fruit, where the landscape is full of fauna to hunt — is not in antithesis to a highly advanced human society. The lack of the former, in all honesty, seems an indication that a particular human society is not in fact advanced by any means.
Imagine a society of people thinking they are in any way superior to their predecessors when they tolerate the theft of nigh incalculable renewable resources — and I do consider the naturally reproductive biodiversity of species outside our own to be a renewable “resource” — when they put stealing resources from the universe itself over the health of its people.
Imagine a society where people think it is alright for children to starve, to be stolen from their parents and placed in cages, sold for a few thousand dollars into the waiting arms of their adopters — a society which is baffled about how to solve human trafficking whilst also waxing nostalgic about the more “civilized” and demure culture of the antebellum gentry (and with it, the economic base it was founded upon.
In all my travels, dear reader, I have come to a singular conclusion. Time as we conceive it is a self-made illusion. We tell ourselves that the past was worse. We pride ourselves on being better than that past we claim was worse. We ingest nothing but false hope that the future will be inherently better (or else, nothing at all).
And yet, as my ancestors tell me time and time again — regardless of which epoch they proclaim it in — that there “ain’t nothing new under the sun”.
I resolve now to continue my time travels in a less linear mode. I wish to see the present for what it is, a strange and tumultuous intersection of many times — a quantum entanglement of necessary evil and justified sin — and I pray that if the divine exists in the present too and is actively wishing to impart judgment and evolution upon this world, that it sees through my eyes and hears through my ears the world around me, as it has done in so many other moments through the past.
What a stranger adventure time traveling is, that my next great task in this walk through the collective human experience is — in this time — to remain firmly grounded in my own.