A river runs through the universe. Through it the surge of life is expressed.
Whatever cannot navigate this river settles around it and makes a life for itself using the available resources. Each settlement is a pocket of knowledge, a niche existence that depends on its natural understanding of the current accosting it and the surrounding land.
To sustain themselves, these intriguing little niches find ways to develop symbiotic arrangements with whatever sustains them, eliminating all threats of dis-ease and dys-function at will, if able, consolidating their presence. They make themselves relevant by cultivating the space they occupy.
The navigators, on the other hand, move to the beat of the current, edging their way on, carving their way into the future. Their advance hinges on discovering new worlds, looking to take that extra step and keep moving, to keep moving with the changing times, leaving the old and dated behind, conquering the uncharted distance, the bothersome detail, the whispers of fear. Their aim is to progress, testing their limits and endurance daily so that when the fateful moment arrives they may die on the current, content to have made it thus far.
Those of a more utilitarian nature take a less fatalistic, less romantic approach. Rather than die on the proverbial road they eventually drop anchor and settle on the shore, making their mark much farther than anyone else, setting a new standard for others to aspire to, emulate, even surpass in due course.
Thus the process of evolution unfolds unerringly, unfurling in the form of an ageless current with an intricate network of tributaries and niches.
Time doesn’t take sides in this. Father exercises His influence indiscriminately, facilitating the process of development, come what may, be it through the flow of a current sculpting its way ahead, or via the growth of the surrounding settlements, which have a life and direction of their own, despite their apparently static nature. Provided the current is allowed to flow around them, maintaining its momentum, life surges through them in turn, in its own eventful way, rife with magnetism and poetry.
And so it goes. Life perpetuates life by streaming through whatever is willing and able to accommodate it. Whatever fails to live up to the task is discarded in favor of the functional and able, the fixable, the enduring and capable of adaptation. The rest fall off like dead skin, like the excess waters of a current in heat, sweating and breaking off at every turn of the way, trickling away, settling in calmer parts of the land, in pools, silent streams, puddles and sedentary banks.
The current also gathers debris, lots of it, accumulating at every turn, packing itself tight at the oddest, most unfortunate places: on the jutting rocks and shallow passes, in the white waters and bottlenecks, in the growing sandbars and reefs, piling up like bitterness, forming clot after clot after obstacle ahead, leaving a trail of bloated and malformed growths in their wake.
Thus are born the atavist pockets of life, the corners and knots of civilization where calmness is a euphemism for stagnancy and excitement a front for bedlam — where pretty settlement turns to gloomy depression, a depression all too eager to headlock the current at every opportunity, remitting it to the demands of a life suspended in failure.
Yet the current is powered by Time, and Time is relentless and ever-functional. As the ages go by, Father crushes the frayed and decrepit, the hysterical and rabid, the dysfunctionally resistant to change and reform, everything and anything that refuses to let go, everything and all things that decline to respond or adapt to the changing circumstances. He does so in one fell swoop, through a cataclysmic event that balances everything out, like the stretch of a new, fresh canvas. On other occasions He makes His impact slowly and gradually, nibble by nibble, blow by blow, until the body of whatever is presenting an obstacle is eroded enough to crack open, and the spirit of the times lifts itself out of the broken husk and, suspended in the glass air for a terrible moment, finds itself a new vessel to inhabit.
Concurrently, Time also crushes the willing but unable, the fledgling and unprepared pioneers-to-be, the ones that make promises they can’t deliver, the ones that deliver what they should have never promised. He casts aside whatever makes more noise than headway, making way for the next wave of challengers, for the next surge of aspirants.
As for the resistant atavisms of the world, the pockets of regression that are too hard to reach, the bleeds that can’t be walled up and the swamps that can’t be drained, all those obstacles that pierce the flow and scar its wake, all the accumulating debris that plugs it like a battery of embolisms, they remain a source of infection. Entrenched in their sedentary ways, they launch their offensives on the current, on the navigators that brave it and everything under the sun, taking control of whatever they can, affecting the flow of the stream and its surrounding settlements.
A frightful regression ensues. Everything is subjected to a series of trials and tribulations, the end of which is never certain. Whatever survives them is better off for it — stronger, fitter, renewed and reinvented, able to negotiate the future again. Whatever succumbs and falls, too bad, its time has come and gone.
The process is perpetual and inclement. There is no room for sentimentalities. Time is not bound by arbitrariness or ideological bias. The only thing that matters on this level and scale is ability: the ability to stay with the program, negotiating the challenges presented.
Thus the current flows: oscillating between the mighty rumble of progress and the shadow of regression, sculpting the surrounding lands. It wriggles and flows from one body to the next, reinventing itself with each turn, with each swirl, with each fall and rise and every violent churn, with every settlement made and every niche created, with every atavism confronted, dispersed and neutralized, and every spirited reinvention that comes with. The current wriggles and flows to the beats of the ages, transforming the world it animates.
The process has been going on since time immemorial and will continue for all eternity.
Intrigued? Watch this space for more.
From the collection of writings EON: THE ANGRY COMING OF AGE