Human beings seem somehow incapable of fully acknowledging the fact that the gift of life does not come without a price, which grows steeper with every passing year, or an end. Probably this is a good thing, since it keeps us from worrying too much about things over which we have no control.
We each develop our own philosophy―especially as we grow older―to deal with and shield us from some of the harsher blows of reality, of which none is worse than the death of a loved one. To me, the term "loved one" extends beyond partners and close relatives to include friends and pets. (Love, after all, is love, and the fact that the love was for a pet in no way diminishes the intensity or validity of the emotion.)
I recently received an email from a friend telling me of the death of his good friend whom I did not know, and the deaths of another friend's two dogs, with whom my friend's own deeply loved and recently deceased dog had played. He was truly and understandably saddened by both occurrences, and he may well have been hard-pressed to say which sadness was greater.
To shield myself from reality, I have developed and totally accepted the concept of time as being an endlessly repeating loop not unlike a cosmic Mobius strip of movie film, each micro-nanosecond being one frame of that film, and each repeating over and over throughout eternity. But because, like watching a movie, we are unaware of the individual frames, they appear to move seamlessly from one to the next. We are unaware that the frame just shown is still there, waiting to be shown again and again.
Of course, this theory would mean that not only are we constantly reliving all the wonderful, loving, joyous moments of our existence, past and future, but that we also are and will forever be reliving all the pain and sorrow which comes as part of the price of life. And I suppose, by taking this theory one step further, one could say that the definitions of heaven and hell could be found in those repeating frames. If the total number of the frames of our life contain more joy than sorrow, that could be considered heaven; conversely, if the "movie" of one's life shows more pain and sorrow than joy, that is hell.
This idea would surely alienate organized religion, which relies to a great degree on the belief of there being something beyond death, and I readily acknowledge that there may be dimensions beyond the Mobius strip of time. But for me and those who do not hold with the concept of a specific heaven or hell, what happens after we reach the last "frame" of our particular piece of the loop of time means, in effect, nothing, since every instant of our lives still exists somewhere on the strip.
Another argument sure to be raised against the time-as-an-endless-loop theory would be that it negates the concept of free will, but I would counter that by saying that in the repeating loop of life, at each moment where a decision must be made, we of course make the same decision...but that we make it freely every time.
I try to avoid delving too deeply into philosophy, not only because I don't consider myself in any way qualified to do so, but because I too quickly lose control of my thoughts, which invariably start out slowly and methodically, but pick up speed with each factor considered, until the centrifugal force numbs the mind.
After finishing this blog and sending it to my webmaster and friend Gary for posting, he sent me this, which he found on Wikipedia: “Eternal return (also known as ‘eternal recurrence’) is a concept that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. The concept is found in Indian philosophy and in ancient Egypt and was subsequently taken up by the Pythagoreans and Stoics.”
So, while I may not be the original thinker I assumed I am, let me just say that this is, nevertheless, what I truly believe, and while I will never know if I am right or wrong―another of the frustrations of philosophy―I am comfortable with it. If you don't have a philosophy of your own, you're welcome to consider this one.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).