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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our 'temporal profile' is part of who we are

Each piece of this tapestry is a part of one
beautiful whole - just as it should be.
(CC) indichick7,
Thinking more on the topic of mortality, I had an idea I thought I'd share. Einstein taught us that time is a dimension, like height, width, and depth. We can (try to) envision the time-space continuum as a tapestry. If we look at time like one looked at all the other dimensions, events paint a picture (consider timelines or graphs where one axis represents time).

We are taught that we should learn to love ourselves, accept who we are, how we look, and so on. Surely, self improvement is a good thing to work on, but ultimately it is healthy for us to accept who we are and come to terms with it. Well, one of the "ways we are" includes what could be called our "temporal profile". That's a fancy term for how long we live. If we graph out our existence in that grand tapestry of the universe, we have height, width, personality, looks, and a lot of various features that interact with the forms around us. One of those is our longevity.

Some people are short and some are tall, some are dark and some light, some have large green eyes and some have small blue eyes. And - some have a long lifespan and some a shorter one. Just as we might strive to become more physically fit, or to groom our hair, we also strive to extend our life. However, ultimately we have a place in the tapestry - we are one of those little shapes in that four-dimensional time-space construct (see the picture of the tapestry) and it is "just right". It fits alongside all the others and we must have some degree of acceptance, and even appreciation for our place in the tapestry. If any one of those shapes "had its way" it might prefer to be the whole picture, expanding to consume everything around it. But that way lies stagnation and the crushing of variation, diversity, and beauty itself - a death much broader and deeper than our own individual mortality.

So, the concept I wanted to share was that our lifespan could be viewed like our weight, our looks, our personality, and so on - something we healthily accept as a part of who we are, even as we work within reason to improve it.

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