Downward River

We are very wrong to think that we’re one and the same person from one moment to the next. Who a man is when alone is a stranger to who he is when in the midst of people and circumstance. An ordinary man is triggered by every passing accident, cause and fateful incident. He is bound by strings and his life runs its course as automatically as a downward river. Most men are simply carried by the momentum of one event and its consequences to next, with the gap between the two filled with nothing short of tense anticipation. It is exactly a case of living a life in which the force is found only in external things and happenings — where a man’s own motions depends completely on the winding of his springs by something other than his own personal will. Events keep a man busy in a hypnotic movement that leads his past into its future, as a horizontal line that curves in on itself like a snake that bites its own tail. Today will be as yesterday, and tomorrow as today, with masks worn in repeated succession. If only a man had the power to step outside himself for just one moment, able now to look upon his days from a perspective other than his own, he would then find himself permitted, alas, to take a break from the lawful tide we know as time.

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