The Rose Abides

Retriever has written a moving post about death and loved ones. She ends:
Lately, I keep roaming around my familiar haunts with different cameras, setting myself ridiculous tests or trying out different lenses, simply to distract myself. As if one could frame the same reality and somehow change it. As if capturing a rose in bloom might preserve it, like something caught in amber. Forever on display. Either that or rot and decay. Everything hurtling to destruction, and so I snap from the careening car that beautiful view, that bird, that pair climbing the hill. The beauty we must not miss.
What if the rose is in no danger?

There is a school of metaphysics, whose claims are suggested by Einstein's special relativity theory, that holds that each of us exists as an object extended in four dimensions: the three you know, and time. Thus the rose exists as a kind of line, that begins the moment it takes on existence as an independent object -- say, the moment at which its genetic code is set, so that it is a new and distinct object with its own structure. The line, widening as the rose grows, extends to the moment that the rose dies.

Because this object contains all the time during which the rose exists, the object itself is static and unchanging. If you saw the rose in bloom, it is because your object snakes close enough to the rose, at a particular point upon the rose-object when the rose was in full bloom. If your object turns away from it, then, and goes home, it can snake back in the direction of the rose in a month or a year, and find it gone or rotting; and so you think the rose is lost.

But the bloom is not lost. It is there, in the object, now as forever. Nothing is lost, not ever.

So this school holds, at least.


Retriever said...

Thanks for the link. T,S.Eliot wrote about this metaphysical puzzle in Burnt Norton, I think it was (will send the verse when I am home and at a real computer again). Also, the medieval imagery of the Risee is so rich (as you could expound with more learning than I could). Viewing late roses and early apples and meditating upon their spiritual resonance across the centuries. An incarnate God insisting on our attention, giving us a message, whether we see, digest and treasure it--or not.

Texan99 said...

Like Slaughterhouse Five, where the hero Billy Pilgrim learns how to coast back and forth through his timeline from birth to death. John Varley and Robert Heinlein also like to use the image of the 4-D worm that included our bodies from youth to age, with branches for clones or possible fates.