November 24, 2022 — 3 min read
In the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, wakes up one morning to find himself trapped in a time loop. For Phil, every single day is adorned with the same basic outline. People doing the same kind of thing, the events of the day following the same structure and it all resetting at the end of each day. Depending on your perspective, this might be a quite a fun opportunity: the ability to do whatever you want everyday, with pretty much no consequences. The big drawback back of this double-edged sword though is that you'd never be able to make any progress in life. On top of this, you'd never be able to make any memories with anyone. The reset that follows each day, I'm sure, would become pretty demoralising.
Walk with me in taking this idea to another conceptual level. Imagine waking up one day, going about your regular life for a week and catching some shut eye at the end of week. The next morning upon waking, you realise you've woken up right back at the start of the week that just went by. On top of this, every single moment that occurs is identical to the week you just experienced. You can't control or change it, you are forced to relive the week, verbatim. Then, come the end of the week, rinse and repeat.
Now, imagine doing the same thing but not just 1 particular week in your life, but instead for the life that you've lived thus far.
Having to relive the life you have led so far, for eternity. Having to go through all the highs and lows of your life, an infinite number of times.
Over and over, on loop, replaying your life up until now. Never. ever. stopping.
How does that make you feel? Would your loop for eternity be bearable? Or do you shudder at the thought?
This idea of eternal recurrence was suggested by Nietzsche as a way for reflecting on the life we are living. To make us really look at how we embrace life. Are you making the most of the beautiful gift of life, so graciously given to us? Or are you drifting, without intent or direction? Not seizing life and extracting the most from every frame that makes up the movie that is life?
It can be daunting to think about living the same life over and over for the rest of eternity. But think about this: the odds of you being born in the first place is estimated to be about one in 400 trillion. That's an eye watering number. It makes my brain tingle just thinking about the fact that I was even born, that I was that 1 in 400 trillion. Fortunately for us, the unlikely life breathed into us doesn't require us to relive it ad infinitum. We are, however, instead given just one opportunity to live it.
We have just one chance to take in the rolling beauty that abounds on this remarkable planet. One walkthrough to marvel at the sensations of life.
We have but just one run through and you are living it right now. Each moment, once lived, lost to the past. And, sadly, a day will come when the world will awaken without us. The adventure ends. But until then, we hold the pen that writes our adventure. Don't waste it.