Curatorial Note – Cosmic Promise
Man has always dreamed to be immortal. And gullibly we believe the promise made by ancient myths and religious creeds that eternity is over there and attainable. And gullibly we toil to find our time’s equivalence of the Indian’s Amrta, the Greek’s Ambrosia or the Christian’s Holy Grail.
Man has always dreamed to be eternal. Not because we want to live forever. But because we fear Death. Out of a misguided sense of self-importance we feel that our kinsmen would go astray when we perish. Out of a misplaced sense of self-importance we believe that the universe would cease to be when we expire.
We are not that important. Even the greatest of Chinese emperors, the bravest of Roman warriors, the wisest of Indian prophets will fade with time. With a lifespan rarely exceed a century how could we—as an individual or as a collective—compete with a Day of Brahma?
We are not that significant. The Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years, while our species made its first appearance just 200,000 years ago. It was here before us and would surely still be here long after we go.
Immortality, therefore, is only a dream and eternity is just a promise, my friends. A dream and a promise we sustain to make this ephemeral existence and its inevitable extinction more bearable.
A dream and a promise we keep alive with our persistence to remember sweet encounters, fulfilling achievements, departed friends and long gone lovers. Because by remembering them—by enshrining them in our memory—we grant them “immortality”, at least, until that time when our memory fails us.
When that happens, we cease to exist and would be reborn in the memory of those who remember us.
In a sense, our “immortality” is defined by the perpetual struggle between our conscious effort to remember and the natural urge to forget. Whichever side win, six billion years from now, the expanding Sun would engulf our planet.
Wayan Juniarta, September 2018
Featured image available here.