Alice: “How long is forever?
White Rabbit: “Sometimes, just one second”
<Tim Burton … from Alice in Wonderland movie but never in Lewis Carroll’s books>
Regardless of whether this is a made up literary quote or not … it is a thoughtful thought.
It is kind of Tim Burton’s version of Mr. Margorium’s “37 seconds is a lifetime if used well.” < http://brucemctague.com/waiting-versus-living >
I imagine I am writing about living instead of waiting … and recognizing that even if you do live … some moments in time are different than others <although they all surely look the same as they appear on the watch>.
Time is a funny thing.
It can ebb and flow all within a finite amount of time.
It can increase speed and decrease speed and yet remain an extremely identifiable finite amount of time.
It can take years of asking and creating questions … and a second to answer everything.
All of which makes me think of two things:
– Memorable moments
– Moment of clarity
Obviously they are not the same thing … but could end up being the same moment.
I sometimes call these untangled moments.
Life is a tangled snarled bunch of moments. But every once in a while you inadvertently pull the right end of the string and the knot is released … everything becomes untangled.
It can be a smile from some across the room.
It can be a falling star.
It can be something really big … a seemingly small decision made amongst many.
Frankly … you don’t notice many of these ‘one seconds’ when they happen.
“In real life turning points are sneaky. They pass by unlabeled and unheeded. Opportunities are missed, catastrophes unwittingly celebrated. Turning points are only uncovered later, by historians who seek to bring order to a lifetime of tangled moments.” —Kate Morton, The House At Riverton
It is in reflection that these seconds last forever.
A moment etched in time.
These are truly ‘a second that is forever.’
Finally an interesting paradox … explained for you.
Now you can tell someone how one second can also be forever.
Moments of clarity
Clarity is an amazing thing.
It can be forced externally <let’s call these ‘oh shit’ moments> and internally <I call these ‘lock picking’ moments>.
Oh shit moments.
Physiologically ‘oh shit’ moments actually causes the mind to become intensely focused. This physiological response actually permits our brains to record more data than normal.
Physiologically what also happens is that memory then ends up replaying the information in slow motion mostly to assimilate all the additional information stored in there.
Think of it like filming something with a high speed camera and then replaying it at a normal speed.
I cannot figure out if time slows down … or our mind speeds up … to accommodate more information.
Doesn’t really matter.
Oh shit makes us focus … and when focused our minds are pretty amazing computers. They create moments of clarity. These moments may be fleeting <and some of us actually miss the clarity moment as it passes by> and we become simply overwhelmed by all the data.
That leads me to the internally forced moment of clarity.
The first is what I just explained above. Focused minds overwhelmed by data offer an open window to a moment in clarity.
Life slams the window shut pretty frickin’ fast.
You have to almost train yourself, and your mind, to see thru the window for the moment it is open.
The second is truly the ‘lock picking’ moment.
Lock picking moments.
Why do I call it ‘lock picking’?
I don’t know how to crack a safe or pick a lock <and I imagine I wouldn’t broadcast it if I did> … but I do know what it feels like to have a moment of clarity when thinking about something. It is like having all the tumblers in the lock suddenly align and you hear the click of the lock unlocking.
And, yes, I swear I hear a sound in my head when it happens. Oh. And it is a frickin’ beautiful sound.
I am often asked to describe it … and I do so … but I cannot explain the noise of the moment of clarity when the tumblers align.
I imagine it is just in my head.
But I tell people that is what you are seeking. When everything just falls into place your mind will tell you in some form or fashion that you have entered into a moment of clarity.
Interestingly … maybe this is just me … but I have found that these moments are also very similar to the first one I described in that Life doesn’t hold that window open for long.
What I mean is that I have learned over time to write it down or say it out loud to someone when the tumblers fall into place.
Maybe the mind simply opens that door which you just unlocked and closes it behind you and you immediately enter a new hallway with dozens of other locked doors and the mind moves on.
I don’t know.
All I know is that moments of clarity are simply moments. They may echo in eternity <lasting forever> … but only if you actually recognize them.
If you don’t?
That one second just gets buried under the mound of other missed seconds.
“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
And yet … within the multitude of drops … the limitless ocean called Life …one second can be forever.
You just have to make sure you pay attention.
I will end with two relevant quotes from two great thinker/writers:
“Forever is made up of now.” – Emily Dickinson.
“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt & Emily probably loved Alice in Wonderland.
There is no why … because how can there be in a world of nonsense … where we seek to find some sense?
The ‘forever one seconds’ always end up being trapped in amber.
Here you go … the full Tim Burton script:
“It is better to be feared than loved.”
“The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would.”
“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours”
”Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second”
In the end I can only chuckle.
Of course one second can be forever.
<and I am not entirely bonkers>