Tag Archives: Eternity

Bibliotheca Abscondita, Title #5

The Universal Register of Personal Opinion (URPO).  This is a hardback volume with an erasable slate on the cover.  Write your question – any question – there, then open the book to find answers from various living and historical figures, listed alphabetically.  Close the book and write a different question on the cover and the contents are magically rearranged and updated.  No single answer is definitive and contradictions will abound.  Anachronism is more than half the fun since the book allows you to learn, for example, Cleopatra’s take on American health reform legislation, or Emily Dickinson’s opinion of Hammurabi’s personal hygiene.  As such, the URPO suggests that Eternity is the simultaneous presence of all time rather than a matter of infinite sequence.

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Marginalia, no.76

All moments of time have coexisted simultaneously…

~ W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

Late September bluffs its way to a reprise of summer’s dog days.  The weather prophets promise a triple-digit apocalypse tomorrow.  I only hope it will be the Last Judgment and that autumn will arrive near schedule.  Half asleep at midnight I can almost believe in the simultaneity of things.  I hear out-of-season visitors in the willows: the mockingbird, the storm.  By noon I’ve lost my faith.

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Marginalia, no.44

Don Fabrizio felt his heart thaw; his disgust gave way to compassion for all these ephemeral beings out to enjoy the tiny ray of light granted them between two shades, before the cradle, after the last spasms.  How could one inveigh against those sure to die? …Nothing could be decently hated except eternity.

~ Giuseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard

Glossed as infinite linear progression, eternity is just the finality of death.  But there are other kinds of eternity.  Don Fabrizio, the old leopard, is attending a ball.  It’s the image of young couples dancing that shakes him out of his accustomed misanthropy.  Human happiness is in the dance, in participation in recurring forms, brief circuits that mirror the choreography of the stars.  If eternity is defined as the simultaneous presence of all time, then to have lived and loved once is to live and love forever.

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