Another year of my life has past and the more I think about it – the more I realize what I’m left with is memories of yesterday. Thoughts of what happened in the years some – five, ten and even twenty years ago. When I was able to run a mile without feeling like my back was going to fall apart or even the days of my youth. The details are hazy but the picture is still there.
But the question becomes – “what is the past?” Is it anything more than something that happened the day before? As the days of a calendar go forward how do we even understand the past? All we have are our memories and sometimes those can be deceiving. Turning 40, I can remember all those times when the people who were older than me talked about that number like it was a “halfway point” or some kind of moment in life when their life would go downhill.
However, as I aged I stared into the face of time, memory and the future and asked the question – “what is reality?” It’s a question I still can’t answer. I still haven’t been able to come up with answers to questions that I’ve been asking since I was 19 years old and sitting in a philosophy class taught by a Roman Catholic priest. Most importantly “who are we” and “why are we here?” Those two questions pale in comparison to the major conundrum that I pose to the ether – “is what I see the same thing that every one else sees?”
To be fair I’ve spent the entire length of this webpage discussing sports issues with a human slant but I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t something more? With all the changes in the world and the growth as an individual I question the cosmos. The same stars that have been shining for billions of years. The same stars that may be already dead or they may be the home of a more intelligent life form (which is a completely different conversation). Imagine the thought that thousands of years before us humans saw the light from stars that have already burned out – it is an incredible and scary emotion to me.
Is there a way to answer the question of why are we here? I guess it depends on who you are and what you believe. For me, I have spent the years since that philosophy class trying to figure out what we are. Who we are. We rule this planet and destroy this planet. We enslave animals and control nature to an extent. But at what cost? What for? Sure, when my reality is long gone they say the sun will burn out. But how do I truly know that? All I know is the now. All I know is what is going on in the now. All I know is what I can control in front of me.
While that is a very selfish position it is a position I can control. I don’t know what you see when you look at a blade of grass. It might be “green” to you – but what is “green?” Green might look differently to me than you. A square might not look the same to me as you. I can describe it as four equal sides but we all know that things don’t always look the same to everyone, case in point is going to an art museum. What I see as crap you might be influenced by. Or even music. I can describe a song differently than you.
So who are we really? As individuals we stare into the abyss of death every day and brush back the clouds of doubt and fear of nothingness. No matter what situation we are presented with we seem to overcome it. Our minds put up barriers and somehow we seem to overcome them. But why? What is it that we are supposed to keep going for?
I’ve wondered at times if we aren’t an experiment – some alien race put us on this planet and is watching us from a distance. Kind of like playing a computer simulation on a larger scale than our tiny brains can comprehend. So what if we are an experiment? I’m not the first to ask the question – I’ve heard a 12 year old ask the same question. Are our memories and thoughts implanted to see how we react? Who can truly tell me they are not?
We can try as hard as we want but we don’t know what will happen when our bodies die. Is there something inside them? Is there a soul? Is it something more than the “life” that we go through every day? No one has ever come back from the “dead” to tell us what is out there.
Ask yourselves – is there anything more than the current day? The now. Who knows what we are. There are so many people in the world that have the ability to end the world as we know it – whether it is a dictator in foreign country with a nuclear weapon or the many weapons that can snuff out our lives. But yet we keep going.
Why? Is it the money? Is it the promise of a better life? Is it a guarantee of something more? Or is it the human spirit? A spirit that may or may not exist. Something that we may just be making up in “our reality.” A reality that is full of good and evil yet incomplete – because we can’t be sure it truly exists.
With all these questions being posed and no answers being presented I have nothing but a few sentences. Live every day like it is your last. For all I know, it’s already over. It may be done and I’m just looking back on what’s been done. Then again, I can’t remember a lot of what I’ve done – in many ways that’s a good thing. Maybe there will be a time when I come to find peace – but then again as a work in progress I’m just another man.