Thank Crunchie it’s Friday!
But haven’t Friday’s lost their magic? The days of knocking off work after lunch, early doors down the pub, the frisson of an envelope of cash and “something for the weekend”: Saturdays in town, the market, scoring in The Cups, Sunday lie-in, fry-up and a roast – hurray for the rituals of yesteryear. Whilst recent events have disrupted routines, and Mon-Fri jobs are increasingly rare, it takes a conscious effort to find something of that Friday feeling.
Memento Mori is a latin phrase resurrected in the seventeenth century by skeletons and skulls worn as fashion accessories; their significance being to remind the wearer of how tempus doesn’t half fugit and to get a wiggle on with carpeing the diem. In this post-truth, relativistic age where elder-hood is often hidden away behind smelly, magnolia painted walls and youth gives it very large most everywhere else, our inevitable demise seems somewhat removed, harder to place within life’s immutable rhythms.
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.Benjamin Franklin
Of course values, cultures and fashions change (skeletons deffo’ not a good look of late), but why shouldn’t our collective take upon time remain constant? after all, from our narrow perspective, the sun rising and setting is one of life’s few constants. In our haste for modernity do we risk losing much of that which has previously defined us.
But Heidegger made an interesting point about how we live in an ongoing state of becoming. How our own unique potential is realised each and every moment we live, until we die. Each day brings a new addition to our magnum opus as old ones fade, until we have the fullest picture of who we are and what it was all about, a brief moment to take in the view before it vanishes forever.
Observing life’s immutable rhythms has figured in every human culture and precipitated most of its greatest artefacts, so isn’t it strange how quickly they’re slipping from the collective consciousness.
It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
‘Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of lifeLion King
Graveyards fall into neglect, headstones are rarely set, treasured belongings remain top side, and the seasonal celebrations are overlooked: Lammas, Solstices, and May Day superseded by Safer Internet Day, National talk like a pirate day and National chip week (Oh My Cod!). Of course the beliefs underpinning many of those traditional ones were questionable, yet, in forgetting such ancient calendar events do we risk losing something valuable and long in the making, if in failing to observe ancient rhythms and practices we lose something of our context and thereby our significance.
A time to be born and a time to die.Ecclesiastes 3.1-8
A time to reap and a time to sow
Having children, ageing and burying loved ones are poignant reminders of how, like a river, time flows in only one direction, irrigating entropy along the way. We make children that will die and that’s hard to accept; but with a succession of countless ancestors and descendants?
Realising our place in the human chain lends perspective at a time when attention spans are measured in seconds. Luc Besson explored such themes with a great conceit in Lucy.
So how to live in the face of mortality?
Though the question can be dismissed as morbid, it can also inspire. Perhaps life is enriched by being infused with ceremonies, greeting each day with a sense of fleeting wonder, pondering eternity and mindful of our ancestors and our own inevitable demise; perhaps there’s a gem hidden in Heidegger’s Being and Time.
Other posts have explored similar themes, though perhaps with fewer, disparate references; time then to shuffle on and appreciate the view.