Men, unlike animals, have one distinctive feature inherent only to them. Living for the moment, we are also capable of returning to the past and looking forth to the future. The first we achieve through our memories, the latter we approach through our plans or expectations.
We are swimming in time and that’s a fact. Living for the moment is the mantra of the day, yet those who want to make us believe that this is the cure for our pains and worries forget about the fact that our ability to re-live that which was and imagine that which might or will be, is exactly what makes us what we are – human.
As Heraclitus, ancient Greek philosopher, said – Pantha Rei (everything flows). We are in the flow of time, living only in the one direction – forward. Knowingly or not, on our way through life, we are anchoring our existence and experience in things or people, through which then, we are capable of experiencing those precious existential moments again.
These anchors are of various kinds, but seem to have one thing in common – timelessness, at least to a certain degree. The point of the anchor is that it lasts longer than our lifetime.
Think some particular place, little town or village, with its streets, which you have not seen since your early childhood. What happens when you walk those places in say forty or fifty years later? Magic happens. You are drawn back in time to relive not only the memories of the people you once met, things you saw or did when you were a child, but most importantly, you relive the way you felt about it all!
Anchors cause you not only to remember, but to feel the moment again, and perhaps can quickly bring back memories of other things relating to that one moment, too. All of a sudden you find yourself amidst the once very real world, now forever gone, and yet not forgotten.
Anchors are not the results of our intentions. We do not necessarily create them. Trees, buildings, people can act as anchors, but perhaps one of the strongest in terms of evoking certain emotions is music. And of course, one such an anchor, for instance, is undoubtedly a book.
Recently I have come across a book from my early childhood, adventures from the Wild West full of Indians and cowboys. Going through it, I remembered many things about the time during which I was reading it for the first time. Clearly unrelated to the book itself, a whole army of friends and teachers emerged from nowhere to remind me of the events I had not been thinking of all my adult life. And now they were there.
The book reminded me also of the fact that the time, when I was reading about Indians and the Wild West as the past forever gone, was now the past forever gone, too.