Thursday, July 13, 2023

The River of Time: A Meditation on the Flow of Life

I had a new thought this weekend. It flowed out of a quote that went something like this: "The future is the past unfrozen."

As I reflected on this notion, however, I couldn't help but think about the behavior of water in its different states. I liked the idea that our past was frozen, and I thought about how water freezes below a specific temperature. But once it is unfrozen it can also be altered yet again when you boil it or heat it above 212 degrees F. It becomes an invisible gas at that point.

It's interesting that time therefore has three phases: past, present and future. Likewise water has three phases: solid, liquid and gas.

What we see when we apply this notion to time is that all of time is a unity, but it is experienced in different forms. Try as we might, we can't alter the past. Our achievements and mistakes leave a permanent record. They are frozen in time. Our present, on the other hand, is fluid. This fluid present is where we live and experience life. The future is invisible. It is so unformed it cannot be seen, like unpolluted air.

If the whole of time is one unit, then this would explain how God can be described as being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and be both simultaneously. Some people see a fatalism inherent in God knowing the end from the beginning, but the paradox is this: the present is ever fluid until it is past. Because the present is fluid, anything is possible. It's up to us to decide "what next." Our decisions today will determine what will be frozen in time tomorrow.

* * * * 
Is it true that what will be will be? 
What will be is up to us. 

Is the future inevitable?
Yes, but only after it has been frozen in the past.

EdNote: Top right is a painting, acrylic on panel, 24"x 36". Bottom is AI generated variation
Originally published in September, 2016

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