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Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (circa 1490-1510)
"I feel a deep responsibility to maintain a sense of my own eternity."

As near as I can tell from here, we're each immortal until we're not. We each live infinite lives, lives within lives seemingly ad infinitum, right up to the moment when we don't anymore. To understand Eternals, it seems as though one must consider a slightly different from usual interpretation of infinity. Mathematics presumes infinity to be a collection of uncountable things, most often imagined as an overwhelmingly enormous set. They admit that some infinities extend further than others, giving rise to both smaller and larger enormities, but each extends further than anyone can imagine. Eternals last forever but emerge from moments. They hold realized potential and cannot ever be undone. That falling leaf embodies an eternal event which might have happened in many different ways, but didn't. It occurred just as it did and could thereafter never be undone. No do-overs, no mulligans. Each event happens precisely once, eternally.

You and I exist on the leading edge of an ever-changing eternity, for we each hold potentials destined to become Eternals.
Each choice, however seemingly mundane, reverberates beyond, falling behind us. Each moment might make some difference, our notions of significance overwhelmed by innumerable options. I would be overwhelmed, I suspect, should I even attempt to fully understand this. I limit my experience and ration my attention lest I smother myself in my own potential. I convince myself that my choices simply must be limited because otherwise I sense that I might suffocate beneath them. So I focus, narrowing my otherwise essentially infinite opportunities, such that I might feel as though I'm making sense to myself. I might only rarely choose wisely, but then wisdom seems a solely retrospective attribute, unaccessible within any present moment.

I do what I do, infrequently sensing that I'm actually choosing, moving what I imagine to be forward. I'm shedding Eternals every inch of the way, but hardly mindfully. What mind works on such a tenaciously indeterminate scale? I try to follow my feelings, attracted or repelled by forces originating beyond my consciousness, whatever that is. Time might well undo everything I've initiated, but I suspect that time turned out differently than it otherwise would have had I not been there, been here, initiating. There's, fortunately, no accounting department assessing relative contribution, except for those unfortunates who manage to become famous. Their footprints get reverently preserved and studied, though they were originally laid down just as inadvertently as any.

I cannot seem to manage my potential. It bubbles almost malevolently. I cannot do anything, yet I somehow manage to do everything I do. I initiate, whatever my intentions, then end up creating, often without my knowing. Another might notice and even take note without my ever knowing. I might reflect, running a retrospective review of whatever I managed to do, but this stops nothing, for even the backwards glances add to the volume of my Eternals. I cleaned up the dishes and felt quite proud of myself for showing an initiative I sometimes shirk. I changed the universe with my absent-minded chore. That's my cross to bear.

I strive to stifle my self-consciousness, for it only seems to inhibit my choices. Whether I dream big or little, I piddle away most of my time here, if only because my time seems eternal. I am immortal until my mortality kicks in, but not even my mortality materially diminishes the Eternals I spawn. Life seems both too short and overlong. Eternity's much longer and somehow different for my presence here, even if nobody ever remembers. Here, poised upon the leading edge of eternity, I remain equally eternal until I'm not any longer. I feel a deep responsibility to maintain a sense of my own eternity.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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