Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Time

Sometimes the lack of basic human compassion in our fellow man truly infuriates me.  Why, for example, do corporate bureaucrats get so caught up in materialistic ephemeralities while assigning no effort to what should be our greater collective cause: making life better--or at least tolerable--for all humanity.  That objective starts by treating every single one of those around us with at least the minimal respect and honesty they merit as human beings, and further, with the recognition they have earned in their individual pursuits.

Just a couple days ago I was discussing some of the perils of moral deficiency with a friend when we switched topics, and I made the comment offhand that "I've got nothing but time."  Not expecting such a seemingly innocuous statement to stir subsequent philosophical discussion, I continued to ponder the notion of time as one's only possession for the remainder of the day.  As usual, I induced quite a headache while engaging in this episode of reflective solitude.

Nonetheless, the resulting metaphysical discoveries were game-changing.  What can we really claim to own other than the dimension which measures and extends our lives?  Neither our clothing, our house, our car, nor even our pets can we consider ours.  These transient objects have laced criticisms of the materialistic lifestyle for a while, but few have gone further to question whether time or anything else is really in our possession.

Almost needless to say, we can't take our money or knickknacks with us to the afterlife, but who's to say we can even retain our bodies, our experiences, our personalities, our relationships, or our memories?  We likely maintain some manifestation of a mind in any sort of life after Earth, but is this preservation a product of ownership or of pure essence?  In other words, do we own our minds or ARE we our minds?  Science and intuition suggest the latter.

Status and connections may appear inextricable components of our thought process, but how can we argue for a perfect Heaven consisting of the caste systems and power trips that mar the Earth?  It seems as though at least certain components of our mortal identities dissipate upon entrance into limbo.  Regardless of how much we accomplish or how many lives we touch on Earth, if we can't retain our positions of hierarchy, we can't retain those of honor or admiration either, right?

Suppose all of these dreadful suspicions turn out to be true.  Suppose the altruism we bestow upon this Earth does not extend into Heaven.  Suppose all of our achievements, our awards, and our accolades are not even a distant memory.  Does this mean a positive, lasting impression on this Earth is unworthy of our time and energy?

While some pronounce faith in ever-lasting life, others believe the time we have on Earth precludes any subsequent life ever after.  Given this marked disparity in opinions of human life expectancy, it seems the only logical way to reconcile the differences is to treat this life--that which we all know and feel we have--as if it is our only one.  That's not to say you can't believe in God or Heaven because I, for one, am a Lutheran who most certainly does.  All this means is that you should respect the beliefs of others in granting them the most rewarding, meaningful lives you can in whatever way you can.  Furthermore, this means you should respect your own life--the one we are living here and now--by uniting in the flawed yet spirited collective human effort to create a forgiving, fulfilling, healing world that God himself would smile upon.

So you tell me, is time really all we've got?

Sincerely and dearly,
Amanda :)

Jumpsuit: Topshop.  Necklace: J. Crew (old).  Shoes: H&M (old).  Leggings: Paperdolls Boutique (St. Louis).

All photos by Eric Pan.
Hair courtesy of Bonnie Trunfio Boze.