I am indebted to Robert Heinlein and to Robert Zimmerman who inspired
There's a certain background for the way we live life which isn't
defined by where we live but rather by when
we live. I'm not referring to the date or the time.
We can live rooted by the past. Incidents occur a long time ago.
Things come on us randomly yet we add meaning
to what happened which starts a lifelong chain reaction of
a skew. Whatever occurs today and whatever will occur tomorrow
is predicated on, is defined by, is explained in terms of what happened
yesterday. We learn from what happened. Man! How we learn
... At worst there's no spontaneity. At best life's predictable.
We can live in the present. Live for today! It's a great
approach. Carefree and playful. Implicit in "live for today" is
"forget the past" as well as "let tomorrow take care of
itself". Don't worry about tomorrow? It sounds risky. But who
knows: it may not be. At worst it's irresponsible. At best it's
light-hearted and happy.
We can live for the future. I don't mean for tomorrow. We can
live for way beyond tomorrow. We can live for an afterlife
or at least in
of, in the hope of an afterlife replete with
everlasting life or rewarded by seventy virgins for
every man, whichever our persuasion is. This is the option of
choice if we consider the life we live today isn't it, if
it'll only be it after we die. At worst, this is a recipe
for going through the motions throughout life without
really living fully until the afterlife is reached. At
best there's something to look forward to.
I once met a stranger out of time. I recognized him instantly even
though I'd never met him before. I could tell from the moment I first
laid eyes on him he didn't live in time. He lived out of time. The time
of his life wasn't defined by living rooted by the past nor by living
in the present nor by living for the future. I asked him about an
He said he'd considered what an afterlife could be like: a way to be, a
place to go when our lives on
end. He said if there was one, he'd get there when he got there if he
got there, whenever that was. But for the most part he was more
interested in living powerfully while he was here on the planet. He said he
wasn't in any hurry to leave to go anywhere else. He said an afterlife
might be attractive to him if he were unable to invent possibility in
this life. If he were unable to invent possibility in this life
and there wasn't an afterlife, he said then he'd
probably get stuck wondering "What's the point of it all?", he'd
be chagrined not having an explanation, a
reason for it all.
The stranger out of time, however, had had an extraordinary
breakthrough, after which an afterlife hadn't become
irrelevant as much as it had ceased being a tenet on which
the direction and purpose of his life was founded. The priorities of
living had shifted for him. He'd become complete, fulfilled, intent on
living life fully in every possible way until his life on
ended. He said it wasn't necessary for him to fill living today with
of an afterlife as something to look forward to, as something to give
life meaning. Living fully here was enough, sufficient.
He said he'd realized it's not his past which grips him, skewing his
life from what he wants. He said he'd studied karma, the eastern
notion of action and reaction ie the adage "as you sow, so shall you
reap". He said while karma explained a lot, the law of karma by
definition is a closed system. His inquiries now considered
the possibility of actions which could disrupt that closed
system ie actions which could bring forth hitherto
unpredictable results not based on anything from the past.
The concept of karma became less and less useful to him as a paradigm
to explain and to master life, so he dropped it.
He said he'd tried gestalt. He'd gained many insights from it.
Yet beyond a certain value in understanding his past, he wasn't
enrolled in the gestalt model for inventing the rest of his
life from that moment on. Gestalt didn't satisfy his inquiry
into whether or not he could bring forth entirely new
possibilities, actions and results neither predicated on the past nor
explained as a payback for some earlier action.
The breakthrough in his inquiry came when he noticed who he really
is isn't stuck in his past. He saw he wasn't stuck with a
life determined by what he'd already done. He saw his present isn't
simply the equalization of, the result of
things he'd done previously. Rather, he saw his present as he'd
lived it until then was a function of not having created a
future for himself to live into. In the absence of any created
future to live into, his present had simply rolled along on the
probable almost certain tracks already laid down by the
railroad of his life. He said he'd never ever considered
the possibility of
laying new track,
at least not until then.
He said he wasn't living for the future. He said he was living
from the future.
"What's the difference?" I asked him.
He said he wasn't posing a science fiction scenario of
coming back to
via a time warp from some future year. Rather, he said he
was inventing, right here and right now, his future,
a future worth living
He wasn't waiting for the future to come. He was inventing it as he
went along. The future he invented for himself then called
him and inspired him to live into it.
"That's what he means when he says he lives
from the future", I mused.
He lived not rooted by the past, not in the present, not for the
future. He lived from the future. The more he spoke about
it, the more the stranger out of time sounded like Merlin the
Wizard, like Yoda the Jedi
At first what he said sounded too otherworldly for me
until it dawned on me the other world he spoke about was