Folding Life’s Chapters
Scientists will tell you that because of Gravitational Time Dilation, time runs slower when gravity is at its strongest. In the eternal duality of the universe there is another example in the gravity and time book that takes on a more metaphysical guise but results in similar effects. In very stressful situations, people have said that they felt as though time slowed down. It’s sometimes called the Matrix Effect, harkening to the slow motion dodging of bullets, projectiles and all other manner of dangers in the movie of the same name. What is appearing in an emotional pattern like formation today to me is somewhat of a combination of the two, played out against the long count calendar.
Time, as in that piece in which we are experiencing at the moment, as part of a lifetime, doesn’t play out in one smooth motion. It is a conglomeration of pit stops, speeding passions, and agonizingly slow periods shoved together. How those play out is not a formulated recipe either, it may seem like it is all comfy, or completely insecure, that it has order to it good or bad. With any sense of perception, and a few years of experience, most folks will tell you that these things too shall change, life is not a scaling of the walls. There are many parts to life, each one can take on a meaning of its own, and in the long count calendar can appear to be different lives altogether. What I was is not who I am, but what I am is because of what I was.
Those pieces of life carry over of course, they connect to everything we do and say, think and feel. They connect the daily drag of work to the joy of a birth, the hangnails and disasters, to the sunny days of fun. In times such as these, in times such as 9/11, school shootings, and natural disasters, time itself doesn’t necessarily slow, but the context of society seemingly folds, changes grain direction and sets itself diligently away from the norm. The pattern becoming apparent at this time in this extended version of crisis has the feeling of pulling the emotional taffy through the churning time machine. The weight, the gravity of the moment, stretched through and over more time than folks are naturally, or mentally prepared. Some would argue that this is just another of the Black Swan type events we have seen in recent years. My belief is that although this “episode of time” shares some similarity to said events, the event itself is larger than any definition that can be placed on it.
“The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying that presumed black swans did not exist – a saying that became reinterpreted to teach a different lesson after the first European encounter with them.” Wikipedia
While those events tend to speak to the financial and psychological impacts on society, they also tend to focus in on events within a shorter time frame, where the traumas are more definable. What is appearing these days though is more subtle, more covert in its toll taking, but nonetheless still a toll being taken. It is an extended loss, a wealth of the unknown, and often the inability to find closure or completion to everyday tasks. It’s the realization that, to so much we have known before, a teary eyed farewell. A loss of grace, as much as character, a mourning, and a great division all at once. This is happening on the personal level of society, the smallest factors when looking at us as a whole. What we were is not who we are, but what we are is because of what we were.
Speaking with others, there are more long pauses, more reaching to find an explanation for what they are feeling. It is at once an examination of the bigness of the world and its ills, as well as the introspective bigness of people and their place in that outer world. The reflections being presented are of the philosophical kind, the sociological kind, and the spiritual kind. They are reflecting on the values of money and work versus the values of family and time spent together. The desires of wants to the necessities of need, while grounding the consumerism and greed soaked capitalism to a different level. There is a lack of words to explain the changes, the whole “never coming back” parts of this that keeps spreading to everything from businesses to mannerisms. When so much of a life was lived in a different time, this new one can seem hollow and empty. The normally smooth assemblies of day to day living reduced to disjointed accomplishments. The eulogy for a past that deserves both praise and regret is too long and painful to undertake, so what is left is just the raw emotions of it all.
The neverending human desire to place sense to things is working overtime, and in some cases erasing the connections to the real world in the process. The emerging crisis in mental health that have been highlighted for months is starting to be felt across classes. The psychological trauma is something that has not been dealt with before since the word unprecedented means we haven’t been here before. A similar event a century before can only reveal its own challenges, while today we have our own list of unknown assailants. Depression, anxiety, anger, and confusion, are only the very tip of the mountain of issues and real world problems we face. The continual sense of loss and decline has grown exponentially, while avenues of security and growth have thinned at a faster pace. These are the the big issues, the immensity of the problems unknown, and much of it will be shoved into the alleyways of society when the dust settles. We won’t know the damage when people won’t talk about it, when people stifle their short circuits in order to appease the stronger sense of it all mechanisms.
The entirety of the actions, and inactions during this worldwide phenomena has left a populace at odds with its own construct. A people out of time so to speak with various locations, vocations, and beliefs, all framing current events to their own lives and in the process experiencing this time very differently than others. The societal traffic light illuminating the Red, Yellow, and Green lights all at once. While this has always occurred, it has not been deemed an emergency measure and effected so many simultaneously. A world war with no enemies but our own nature, and no victors sans our own survival. Those are difficult concepts to comprehend, and in some cases folks don’t, or cannot, bring themselves to understand it. The false dichotomies being built will be a lasting legacy of this time we find ourselves in, no matter which color of traffic light is before us. That is the flavor of the taffy that has yet to be revealed.
The weight of our times is considerably heavier now, the gravity is strong enough to fold it over on itself. The incomplete adhesion, the slow, machine like nature of the standstills, and moving fits, make it clear how systematic our culture has become. Our lives and their automatic response to societal inputs and outputs held up, wrench applied to the gears, enter the bouts of rage, pity, sadness, and despair. History can only tell us so much about what our future holds, because we are not who we were. When we can understand that the very gravity of the situation we now find ourselves in can, and will warp time itself for some. It will slow the perceived pace, or speed it up into a rushing river, it will make us struggle to make sense, and diabolically turn an anchor of reality into an seedling of rampant imagination. Having to learn to live with ourselves in its truest form may reshape tomorrow’s more than we realize now. It may be a better world, or a world worse for wear, but it will be a different one filled with much of what we have created today. Understanding a historic time is to understand the change occurring within it, living through one is different though, and shines light on why those past events were so meaningful. We are a changed culture, a changed society, and we have yet to grasp the depths of our traumas, or the consequences of our actions. With that we can at least go forward with knowing what we are facing, how we can fold and bend rather than break, from the gravity of time.