“It dissipates day,
It shows men the thin images of appearance,
It robs men of the possibility of amusment.
It is hard as stone,
The stone of movement and sight,
And its brilliance deforms all armor, all masks.
What the hand has taken does not deign to take the shape of a hand,
What has been understood no longer exists,
The bird was confused with the wind,
The sky with its truth,
Man with his reality.”
-“The Mirror of a Moment” Paul Éluard
it is too hot. how are we expected to breathe in this way? how can we live? suppressed, as if under a cloud of haze, our movements slow; words become dull and redundant.
Have you ever considered the question of the importance in our being born when we are, this generation? To think, centuries lie behind us with countless lives lived and gone. Now it has come to us; you and I. We are the next generation to be on the earth, now. What does this mean? What is the significance of this moment?
So, life is like a person standing on the ledge of a tall building, hovering at a mid-point in indecision. Imagine the anxiety, the dread, that fills him as he contemplates his next move. Either he jumps, or he steps down. Is there any other option? Or must he stay stuck in that mid-point never committing to make the choice? No, he must choose. Feel that unexplainable, irresistible desire to jump. The possibility of actuality. How terrifying. Contemplate further, see how it begins to fill your thoughts. What must he do next?
He doesn’t jump: he steps back off the ledge. Perhaps he takes a moment to stare at the ledge and envision the possibility of what could have happened, else he should forget such a fateful moment in his life. Let us follow him and see what happens next. In choosing to step down, he has, in effect, decided the next stages of his life. His choice follows him wherever he goes, that eternal stepping-backward. He struggles to move forward and reverse this fate of his. But his forward movement always brings him back to the ledge. The paragon illuminating his choice not to act, but to step back in cowardice. Again, he cannot make the movement. Forever passes-still he cannot make movement. Once or twice, as if toying with his fate, he steps a foot on the ledge. Possibility fills him. Feel that power, that burden being placed on him. He closes his eyes and tries to picture what would happen if he were to take that step into the unknown. Yet he cannot. He senses that only one who has made the movement knows what lies beyond. At this moment, the dread creeps back in; the uncertainty. He jumps back in fear and instantly feels the regret and the sorrow of once again not being able to make the movement.
He does jump: forward he walks off the ledge into the unknown. This step, the man soon realizes, cannot be undone. He has made his choice and now that the possibility has been realized, there is no turning back. Perhaps all this man does is continually fall further and further down. This leap, however, has its consequences as well. This choice too will follow him and influence his every action. Only, don’t you feel the power he now holds? He made the bold choice and did not step back. He chose. He chose himself, for what else could he possibly choose if not himself? Now his self is confronted with the eternity in which he falls forever. Humbled, he does not regret his decision to jump. For only now has he become fully realized as an individual. He understands his self and his relation to the eternal. He is free from the sorrow and despair of being stuck behind, as with one who did not choose to jump or still waiting to make the movement. He is his own master, answering only to God and himself. He is not tied down by the sins of his father or society. He has made the choice. A positive choice of the will and only now is he able to live.
What really happens with the man who has chosen to jump, I cannot say with certainty. I have not made that step; I can only speculate. Perhaps I am on the ledge. Yes, I feel the air around me, feel the anxiety of the possibility of actuality. My choices are therefore filled with indecision and uncertainty. To no either/or have I committed. I rest in between, in that moment. The eternal moment. I must either jump, or step backward. Oh, how terrifying and important everything becomes!
-choose now. what are you waiting for?
Perhaps that voice within me would rather I didn’t jump. Then I would become its slave further. With the choice I would master that ‘demon’ on my shoulder. I would be free of his torment. I would become myself and begin understand my relation to God.
Or maybe I have already made the choice: the choice to step back. I feel the redundancy, don't I? Perhaps I merely just walk up to the ledge on occasion and like the man, I eventually step back; I always step back.
The power of the choice lies within me. I must jump. I will jump. jump jump jump…
-have you made the movement yet?... hello? …