Thursday, 19 May 2011

Skywalker Syndrome

I have Luke Skywalker syndrome. Remember that poignant scene when he stares longingly out towards those twin suns, dreaming of the cosmos beyond? It's an image that often flares in my mind. In that moment we see a yearning that drives us all; that need to find our place, to reach out and touch the fingertips of destiny. Have you ever stared out into the night sky and felt your spine tingle? To look upon the stars and fumble to comprehend the immensity of it all? More than that, marveling at the certain fact that our ancestors would have done the same, bringing their own understanding to the moment? These days when I look up it is with the realization that the heavy elements that render life possible can only be produced within the interior of dying stars. Another thing that stirs me is the knowledge that some of the starlight bouncing off my retina is from heavenly bodies that no longer exist;  the light a residual phantom of long dead celestial events. There are other times when I connect with the transcendent; particularly when i'm walking through an ancient forest. I can imagine my ancestors foraging, hunting, carving out a precarious existence. Australapithicus Afarenis, Homo Ergastus, Homo Habilis; all the other incarnations of early man, these diminutive torch bearers that now exist only within my DNA. Surely to live is to wonder at the immensity, the intensity, and the preposterous scale of it all? How dare we, even for a moment, complain about the gift that we've acquired. We're alive. We have brains that comprehend, imaginations that enquire, and a spirit of innovation that can help us reach outward further still. I've heard it said that all we have is the present, and that our lives should be viewed as though it were a torch beam passing through the void. The past exists only as memory, whilst our future is not yet revealed. We're in the glare of this torchlight now, and to refuse to open our eyes is perhaps the greatest crime of all.

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