It’s funny to think, while watching an old movie, how everyone that was recorded on film has stopped living (even the little kids grew old and died).
Well, maybe thinking about how everybody is dead in an old movie (even the little kids who grew old) isn’t that funny, but it is fun to imagine being alive in the 1920’s. In Paris. In the rain.
If you’re a romantic and don’t mind dampness (and wool).
For more about “romantics” see Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. The reference to 1920’s Paris’ rain is a nod to American actor, producer, and screenwriter, Owen Wilson (1968- ), and the alteration of human consciousness from egocentric to universal (or something).
It’s fun to imagine how the same self-feeling that Owen Wilson feels—that feeling of being Owen, of Owen-ness, of being one’s self, a “me,” a role, a personality, a joie de vivre, a “joy of living” feeling, we who are alive feel (sometimes)—is the same self-feeling Buster Keaton (1895-1966) had and you have, only Buster was a different body living in a present we think of as past.
This self-feeling is like seeing (the act of vision with eyes).
We who see know how great seeing is. We enjoy seeing trees with flowers and bees (see also: “A Way of Seeing to Enjoy (Part 1)”.
Seeing is the thing—not what is seen (although, beauty is better).
What’s being seen is of the past (if you think about it).
Like the song says, “everybody look at your hands” (“Safety Dance”). If you have a hand, you see it and other appendages in the present at this location with your eyes (if you have them). What you see is experienced as seeing. (If there was nothing to see, seeing would be redundant.)
A goat doesn’t have horns because it butts, it butts because it has horns; likewise, we don’t have eyes because we see, we see because we have eyes. The world is literally nothing without you seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting and thinking about it. (See also “Good Morning Starshine” “Gliddy gloop gloopy. Nibby nobby nooby. La la la lo lo.”)
When we look into the sky, we see a star’s past at that location. Since nothing can travel faster than light (including what happens to us), “From where we are, the star is still in our sky, because the space we can interact with goes further into the past as its distance from us increases. In other words, we’re always surrounded by the past” (source).
(See also: Enjoy A Perfect World.)
We who are alive continue a line of life-energy passed like a torch from our parents, their parents, their parents’ parents, back to the beginning (assuming there was one)—not to mention, procreation and the torch carried into the future (assuming there is one).
The same self-feeling and awareness of aliveness that we who are alive feel was transmitted to us by those before us like a game of tag where we who are alive are it—it being an “energy” we don’t want so the game is to touch someone who, when touched, tries to touch back (for more, see: Sammy Johns “Chevy Van” (making love in)).
Like electricity in water, life-energy conducts itself in the form of a human baby (comprised primarily of water). Born into society, a “burning” biology begins in the baby whereby fuel (food) is burned (digested) creating body-energy to look for more fuel to keep the fire burning and possibly propagate the species (for the good of humanity).
(See also Billy Joel, “We Didn’t Start the Fire“.)
And so we feel our self as a body in a world, separate and alone. To breathe, sense, think, work and continue as a unit ad infinitum or forever—if possible.
Father plus mother equals child born to live, change, deteriorate and die and all of it traced out in DNA: “a double helix formed by base pairs attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone” (What is DNA?).
The body of a person is like a machine grown out of a mother who was herself grown from a mother. This machine is called Human or Homo sapiens, if you prefer (we answer to both).
Human society shapes the minds of its members and remains after individuals pass away. Like a tree lives on after its leaves fall away in the winter and are replaced, so too does society continue after individual people are gone.
Where it started no one is quite sure but every person throughout history has had a biology and the same “alive” self-feeling of being (or so one would assume).
Only the names and skeletal remains change.
In old films we see people experiencing a present moment captured like a memory.
Watching old films has a way of putting life into perspective (see also: Electric Edwardians).
One can imagine one’s self as a person back then and from this one might conclude:
Playing with cats is more fun.
We all know life is an “on” and “off” system (see also: The Essence of This). It’s just that we prefer on to off. On (alive) is the absence of “off” (not alive) but as you can see, they go together.
Those who experience stillness know the opinions and stories we tell about identity, social roles, ethnicity, philosophy, religion, politics and so on do not exist in our immediate experience.
In the immediate experience there’s not even a “you” to be found because it turns out that “you” are a story too. Being “on” is all you know and the seemingly long brevity of existence is a twinkle in an ocean of eons. (Enjoy it.)