Thursday, June 18, 2009

The illusion of time

Catching up on my New Yorker reading, I came across a passage from Salman Rushdie's wonderful short story In the South that held particular resonance within the context of my previous post on Biocentrism. I'm likely assigning it a different meaning than the author intended, but regardless of that, it's a lovely piece of writing.
In the front yard they paused briefly by the golden-shower tree that stood there. They had watched it grow from a tiny shoot to its present sixty-foot grandeur. It had grown quickly, and, though they did not say so, this rapid growth had disturbed them, suggesting, as it did, the speed of the passing of the years. The Indian laburnum: that was another name for it, a name among many names. It was konrai in their own, southern language, amaltas in the tongue of the north, Cassia fistula in the language of flowers and trees. “It has stopped growing now,” Junior said, approvingly, “having understood that eternity is better than progress. In the eye of God, time is eternal. This even animals and trees can comprehend. Only men have the illusion that time moves.”
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