Longreads – To Grieve is to Carry Another Time

I read the first few sentences of this short story and I was already captivated to read the whole thing.  The limited description of this short story includes a  detail about the fourth dimension, which I know to be time, which immediately interested me.  The last essay I wrote was about traveling through time, and human nature, and, while in the process of reading this short story, I noticed some ideas I could write about connecting the two.  Another element that interested me was the inherent certainty that this short piece of literature was a fascinating personal story.  This short story was regarding man writing about the loss of his wife to cancer, and how this loss affected his outlook on life.

The story starts with the author writing about certain scientists, and how their various scientific works, such as books and theories have influenced our modern concept of time, and how it passes by.  This subject, the human concept of time,  fascinates me.  How this concept of time plays into the story, however, is part of what makes it so interesting for me.  First mentioned in the title of the story, the idea of grieving, meaning to remember someone lost, is to carry, or possess emotionally, another time.  Another time from when the person you are remembering was still with you.

This idea of remembering someone you lost some time ago ties into what I wrote briefly about in my essay about time travel.  In that essay, I wrote about how although it would certainly feel good to travel back to a time when you still had someone, it would be better to stay in the present.  I understand why some people would want to go back, and I cannot begin to blame them.  In fact, the short story which I found so interesting actually mentioned how the author wished to go back in time ” just one minute”(paragraph 9).  In this particular example, the author would be wanting to back for the purpose of seeing their significant other.

By including this short detail of wanting to go back, the author can display human emotion, which will undoubtedly make for a better story.  Regardless of what the story may be about, when told from a personal angle, it always seems to captivate us more thoroughly.  Being able to relate to characters in literature is necessary for our psychological and emotional comprehension of said literature.  When we read a story about unusual people living unconventional lives and possessing a generally unorthodox belief for life in comparison to our own, we have a lack of relatability with those characters.  In contradiction to the aforementioned abnormalities, interpreting a literary work containing characters similar to us, with lifestyles and beliefs comparable to our own, a superior sense of relatability and humanity with those characters can be established.  And for this reason; the story having characters that can be related to is an additional defining circumstance that makes the story exceptional.

We encounter good literature essentially every day.  This literature may be surrounding various subjects that we are enthusiastic about.  Good literature we encounter daily may be reflective of our own works and writings.  Or, more commonly encountered, a good piece of literature might be exceptional due to its abundance of emotion and understandability.  This piece of literature was exceptional for all of these reasons.

If Time Travel Becomes Possible, Where Would I Travel to First?

Time travel is, and has been a topic pondered by many over the years.  We see people’s imagination at work in the form of films and other media.  A multitude of people, I’m sure, have made their own attempts at the comprehension of what I would believe to be a popular question among the creative minds of the world.  The questionable proposal under discussion here would be, If time travel becomes possible, where would I travel to first?

I have an  answer to this simple, but essentially limitless question.  My answer to this question would be that I would not travel to any time, outside of right now.  I believe that to do so would go against human nature. I believe that as much as we wish that we could go back to a past moment for the sake of being ‘happier’ then, as much as this might seem all well and good, it would ultimately be best to stay in the now.  Choosing an alternate time outside of right now simply means we have fallen victim to the classic trick the human mind plays on itself.  To choose a past or future moment over this moment right now is not right in my mind.  

To begin, I believe that time traveling to an alternate time is to go against human nature.  This is because all of our lives, and certainly my life, there have been many times that I have been taught or taught myself to not wish for the past, but to learn from the past, and take the right steps to make your future better.  Time traveling to the past would go against this principle, as you would essentially be choosing to exist in a different moment than right now.  Not to mention the fact that all of our lives have taken place in an uninterrupted chronological order, and traveling to a different time would go against the natural manner of being a human, as this uninterrupted order would thus be interrupted in the natural human order.  I would not stand for this interruption in my life.

At this point, we have to ask ourselves what true happiness is.  To be truly happy in our lives, I believe would be complete satisfaction with the choices in life we have made in our lives in at least recent time.  The classic trick our brains play on ourselves is that of choosing something pleasing now, as opposed to waiting even a short amount of time for something that would be better for us in the long term.  Some decisions of something pleasing now may be minor, like choosing to read a comic book in your free time instead of a longer book, or something major, like choosing to abuse substances and do drugs, regardless of the severe and extensive health risks down the road in life.  This is also true in the case of time traveling to a time recently in which you felt happier then you do now.  Each day I try to recognize these decisions, and go against my first instinct, which is to do the easiest thing first.  Instead of investing time into traveling to the past, one should invest in making decisions today that would grant them the total happiness granted by aforementioned satisfaction with your choices in life leading to that point in time.  Choosing mindfulness is a healthy practice; a practice of living in the present.

If I could travel through time to anywhere, anytime,  I would choose to go nowhere and no other time but in the present moment.  Living in the present is something we have been encouraged to do, in the form of mindfulness.  Human nature has no need to be interrupted by choosing to exist in a moment that is outside of right now.  Decisions play an important role in our lives, and we need to have the will to live with our own.  We are the sum of all our decisions made in life leading to this moment, and this will still be true as our lives carry on.

If I could teleport to any place right now, where would I go?

I could think of a number of places I would be delighted to see.  With the power of teleportation, I could see these places for myself.  Natural wonders of the world like the Swiss Alps strike the fancy of many a modern traveler, and I would be none such an exception.  Heart-racing sports events like those held at Maple Leaf Square in Toronto would also pique my interest nonetheless.  Lastly, countless people would agree that seeing the city of Paris from on top of the Eiffel Tower would be a grand investment of time.  With the power to teleport anywhere right now,  you could make your dreams come true.

I would go to the Swiss Alps less so for being at the apex of the mountains, but rather just to see the majestic nature of these amazing land features.  Around here, most of what I see is flat ground.  Fairly flat ground flanking the highway from Fort Mac to Lethbridge, and almost everything in between.  I’ve grown up in this same geographic location, and it hasn’t changed too much.  But, if I were to just see the Swiss Alps in the event of instantaneous teleportation being possible, my life would be changed.  Images of the Alps and the drive from Fort McMurray to Lethbridge (blue line) shown here.

Me if I could teleport there (left).
Long drive. Plenty of somewhat flat ground to gaze at in awe and splendor.

I have been a witness to a variety of sporting events throughout my life thus far.  With the ability to teleport,  I could get into any sporting event at any stadium or gathering place I wanted.  The one place though, that I would desire to go, would be to Maple Leaf square, in Toronto.  Also known as Jurassic Park, this gathering place is where thousands of fans of the Toronto Raptors gather to watch NBA games live on a big screen.  I’ve seen the kind of scene that can develop when the Raptors are playing right then, and it was especially exciting in 2019 when the NBA championship game was won by the Raptors.  As of the time of me writing this essay, there is a Raptors game scheduled for tonight in Toronto, with the Raptors playing the Phoenix Suns at home.  If I could teleport anywhere right now, it would be there, in Jurassic Park, waiting for the action to start.

Jurassic Park packed with fans cheering; probably for the Raptors.  Just an educated guess.

It is a dream shared by plenty of people to see the world below them from great heights.  If I could choose a great height to see the world from, I would choose the Eiffel Tower, in Paris.  I would go there less so for just being there, but to see the city from three hundred meters up.  Additionally, imagine how much money I could save my family if I could just beam myself anywhere I wanted; namely somewhere you would normally need a plane to get to, as flights cross-continent can be pricey.  It is also interesting to think about how different something can seem when seeing it from far away.  I could see anything I want from this perspective with the power of teleportation.  A view of the greatly contrasting Seine River, France, and Battle River, Alberta can be seen below.

Yes, I know we have rivers around here, but none have the majesty shown here, nor are any surrounded by the French cityscape that displays such majesty.
A segment of the mighty Battle River in all it’s glory.  

Dreams inspire us to take action.  If your dream is seeing majestic mountains or being at the literal apex of architectural achievement, then teleportation can get you there.  There’s the odd one of us who would also choose to cheer on their favorite sports team above all else.  Teleportation might not be possible this day, and tomorrow isn’t looking so good either, but someday, it just might be.

Three Songs I Never Get Sick of Hearing

 

I’ve listened to many songs in my life, at least so so far.  Some have stuck with me, and others passed me by as a fleeting memory.  Of the many songs I’ve heard, only a select few tend to stick with me, and even fewer I end up growing fond of.  There’s the odd song I find that I love just for the pure sake of it being a well-composed song with a great melody to it.  Other songs, while also being a masterstroke of musical composition, also have lyrics in combination with a melody that can bring about a sense of reflection on one’s self.  There are other songs as well that are in somewhat of a middle ground between the two; both having a fine melody and possessing the ability to make you think about something.  I find it awe-inspiring that music can do these things.

Money For Nothing, by Dire Straits (1985).  To begin, this song would fall under the prementioned category of just being a good song, in the sense that it has a pleasing melody.  I’ve known this song for a lot of years of my life.  Through all those years I can still listen to the song and take pleasure in hearing something so nice.  Some songs tend to really stick with you, and this song has done just that by it’s nothing less than catchy melody.

Hotel California, by Eagles (1976).  This song is similar and different from the aforementioned 80s pop hit.  Similarly, in the sense of it having a very pleasing melody, with great guitars and even it’s a fair share of the mandolin.  Although similar, this piece of music is different.  The message sent by the lyrics of this hit tells us about something completely different than the former.  The lyrics of this particular song have a tone to them that brings a feeling of perhaps mystery or existentialism.  When the song talks about being “prisoners…of our own device”(3:40) this, in its own way is descriptive of the human condition.  Our lives are defined every day by the choices we make.  Whether or not our lives revolve around positive or harmful choices, we may well end up being prisoners of our own device.

Stayin’ Alive, by the BeeGees (1977).  With this song, I find it to be somewhat of a middle ground between being a song I have a fondness for because of just how it appeals to the ears, and how it appeals to the soul.  Just as with the song described in the preceding paragraph, this song also has both a fine melody and composition, as well as lyrics that can make a person think.  When the song mentions “feel the city breaking and everybody shaking, people stayin’ alive”(0:39) this may mean that when at the same time of our lives being somewhat chaotic, this sort of danger may bring out energy from those of us who may be accustomed to a monotonous lack of such energy.  The same kind of energy can be understood just from listening to this piece of music.

Of the myriad of songs, there are in the world, each day we hear more.  Even though all three of these songs I never get sick of hearing were all made well before I was born, this doesn’t stop them from being extraordinary.  From songs that are just plain fun to listen to and enjoy, we can grow fond of that music.  Furthermore, other songs that are not only possessive of the aforementioned extraordinary qualities, but also bring about certain senses within the heart and mind.  Who knows, maybe your next favourite song will be released to the world tomorrow or has been released many years ago, and you’ve yet to discover it.

 

Favourite Poems Visual

                      All of these poems have something in common, which is their profound ability to make one think.  Be it about the English language, about a snowy scene described by an author, or about the human condition itself.  All of these poems are my favourites because of their ability to make one think.