Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life is fleeting---

I enjoy playing around with plants. This year a friend from work gave me some Datura seeds that have grown into some handsome plants in my patio. Yesterday I had a beautiful bloom in the morning.

But the thing about datura blooms is that they are very short-lived. So I took some pictures of them as the day progressed. They add up to being a bit of a metaphor for the transitoriness of life.

Like most people, when I was young it seemed that life could go on forever or at least for a very long time. As someone is who is now past middle-age, however, life seems to me more like a candle that is very quickly burning itself out. I suppose the reason why it seems this way is because as we grow old we gain more and more personal experience. When we compare this to today's events, the days seem relatively shorter because they become a smaller and smaller percentage of our life.

A related effect is that when I was young I was more concerned about the individual than the collective. When it seemed like I was going to live forever, my life was the most important thing. But now that I feel like a candle that merely burns for a small period of time, I more and more find myself concerned about "passing on" the flame of my life to illuminate others. (Amongst other things, that is why I bother to work on this blog.) This is a common thing in people's lives and I notice that the academic library where I work almost always has senior citizens working on historical research in order to keep the past alive for future generations.

One of the reasons why I am disengaging from politics is to find the time---while I still can---to try and share what little I have learned about Daoism with future generations. It would seem a shame to let all the endless hours of work that I have spent in study and practice fall away simply because I couldn't find the time to teach. This is especially important because Daoism is in danger of either disappearing through lack of interest or being horribly polluted by the terrible teachers that have recently appeared. I shall try if for no other reason but to honour the memory of the teachers that I have taught me.

Human effort is by its nature short-lived. Once the blossom has fallen there is nothing more that it can do. Then it is all up to future generations.

1 comment:

Chaosmonkey said...

Blindly do the people walk through life and still not see that they go no where, and that the question is the purpose and we are the answer.

Time is an illusion of man, to controll man.
We die because we live
we are born so we must die.
we return at the end of life to the nonexsistance that we came from before its start.

The way is broad, but people seem to preffer the side roads instead.