24 June 2009

A History of Moments

Within each and every moment, there lies an entire history, a succession of unique events whose sometimes-unlikely combination produces the quality of a thing, of an instant, or a moment. It’s these histories we so often miss, in the course of our daily movements, as we flit from one instance, one still life, to another. How much richer could our lives be -- could our experiences be -- if we recognized the bits and pieces of our present.

Indeed, I do think that this is one of the elements that plays into our sense of alienation and separation -- we see ourselves as separate and distinct from the “things” we use and encounter, never guessing the history behind them, the time and effort and love that went into creating them. We don’t see past the present, as though we were near-sighted and had put our glasses down somewhere and walked away, never to find them again. Indeed, never realizing we’d displaced them.

Or perhaps it’s more like slowly going blind -- as though our sight were progressively failing in such small increments that we hardly notice the loss until it’s too late. Or, perhaps we notice along the way that we can’t see quite as well as we used to, but no matter -- what we can see, suffices well enough, and it’s actually easier for us to not be bothered with so much detail on a regular basis. Comprehensive comprehension, we tell ourselves, is perhaps the most overrated quality one could have or experience.