Saturday, February 16, 2008

All We Have Is Now

Long hours of boring work and a lack of social interaction give one a lot of time to get lost in one's own thoughts. Armed with the iPod and surreptitous websurfing...

The shuffle widget today brought me "All We Have Is Now" by the Flaming Lips, a song where the narrator is told by a visitor from the future that he and whomever he is speaking to are "not going to make it" and "not going to be part of the future."

I had always through my youth told myself that knowledge was always better than ignorance. That version of me would scarcely have hesitated to opt for the affirmative if asked something like "If an omniscient being gave you the opportunity to know to the minute how long you are going to live, would you let him tell you?" (Note that I'm further assuming that the answer doesn't involve the being killing you while saying "your time is up now.")

With some more age I wonder if that's still true. I've been told that human beings have more capacity for dread and terror than other animals. I wonder now if I'm more the sort of person who's going to be counting down the days, like I used to do as a kid during the second half of summer vacations, knowing exactly when I'd need to be back in the classroom.

But knowledge can be a burden, which at one point in my life I found very tough to acknowledge.

I suppose it would be useful at some level to know that the short term was all I had to look forward to - I'd worry less about student loan payments and working more overtime and such.

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