Scientists that study time tell us that time is not linear. They say it is something like looking out of the window of a moving train. You see the scenery as it passes your window – so from your perspective, each scene you pass comes “after” the scene before. But in reality, all of the scenery already exists, you only experience it in a linear fashion. Each tree is not formed for your viewing pleasure as you pass, only to dissolve into nothingness after you have passed. The tree is there, whether you are looking at it or not. The tree was there before you got there, and it is still there after you pass.
Is it possible, therefore, that all of the “live life in the moment path to happiness” gurus are wrong? Are we causing ourselves unnecessary stress and frustration by trying to follow this unnatural path? If we go against our nature and “live life in the moment” are we narrowing our field of view and throwing away one of the biggest gifts the Creator has given us, the gift of self-awareness?
If the past, present, and future are not separate things and they are part of the continuous flow of time, maybe reflecting upon your past and speculating about your future is the only rational way to experience your life.
I was thinking about this when I created this painting, which I titled “Reflecting”.
In “Reflecting” the tree exists simultaneously in five realms, the abstract (shadow of the tree on the house wall), the conceptual (reflection of the tree in the window), the tangible (fallen leaves on windowsill and tall grass), the metaphorical (the autumn colors represent the cycle of life), and the immediately relevant (the viewer, standing in the shade of the tree, feels the coolness and comfort provided by the sheltering tree).
“Reflecting” asks the question – rather than having a narrow focus on the here and now, should we be more reflective in our approach to life? Is it possible that the past is not gone, the present is not random, and the future is limited only by our ability to move towards uncertainty?
Painting and text © 2016 James Golaszewski
“Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live. A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
There are three methods to gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is limitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest.
[Could Confucious AND Einstein be wrong?]