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Look aheads April 13, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in contemplation.

When I wrote about the note to grandparents post, I had this extract in mind. I read this over 2 years ago when I borrowed the book ( doesn’t ever mean I read even 10% of it) from the Mugar Library, Boston University. This is an extract from Vladimir Nabukov’s ( of the Lolita fame) auto-bio.

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged — the same house, the same people — and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence.

I am no chronophobiac – I think once in a while about times before I was around or even that after I am gone with much weird curiosity and certainly without much fear or discomfort. It happened again when I read this post that asks : “Which culture-things from our era do you suspect will have a long, long life? Will still be in circulation in, say, 2300?”

Well, quite obviously a fruitless exercise, none of us are going to be around to verify or feel bad having gone wrong or feel good at having got something right. But still it makes you think along dimensions you generally don’t. Why 300 years, even when I wrote something into the yahoo time capsule , I thought things I never before ( or since ) quite spent time thinking.

Link from MR.




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