Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Voice of the Ages

Written in 2005, age 22


Time…what a strange concept. We all see time differently, that is a given. It’s so artificial, and so susceptible to human bias. It changes, based on perception. But no matter how remarkable an individual you are, no matter how wise the years have made you, as long as you have a human brain you are caged by its confines, and by the methods it uses to understand the world. I am no different because, believe it or not, I am human.

I am now about 15,352 years old.

I have always seen time relatively differently from most humans. When I was a child, I wasn’t awed that some people can reach the age of 80, or that traditions can last thousands of years. None of that seemed very long to me. I am mentally affected by the years just the way anyone else is—the longer I live, the faster time seems to fly, and ten years don’t make too much of a difference…except in how humanity changes, which it’s been doing faster and faster each year. I don’t feel that I’m near the end of my life right now, so time doesn’t slow down for me yet the way that it does for people moving closer to death.

It amuses me how people these days love the word “progress.” Most archaeologists would say that with the onset of agriculture, or commerce, or the Industrial Revolution, humanity has “progressed.” We seem to see change as “progress.” I heard the inquisitors of medieval Spain call their new ideas and innovations “progress.”

Then there are those of us who fear change so terribly that we see it as threatening our very foundations of morality and security. Back in the days of Jesus of Nazareth, conservative Christians would have been the first people to condemn Jesus’s new, highly unconventional and non-traditional teachings, for fear of change. (Note: I am not sure of Jesus’s existence, I was in India at the time.)

Neither of these views of change are correct. Change is not always progress, nor is it always dangerous. It’s just change, and we are the fastest-changing creatures the planet has ever seen. I assure you, I have had to adapt to that more so than anyone else.

I suppose you want to hear my story. Unfortunately, my entire story wouldn’t fit in one book, or a thousand books. But I will try to condense it for you as much as I can, though even a creature from the Paleolithic Era cannot compress data the way a computer can.

Before I begin, I must once again ask you to cast your assumptions aside. You can’t know the human experience unless you’ve experienced it. Clear your mind of everything you think you know. It is far larger than you can see in one lifetime.