Medieval philosophers used a phrase that I think is both beautiful and important: sub specie aeternitatis – under the gaze of eternity. Under the gaze of eternity, you see yourself as just one speck among others in the vast starry blackness of the universe. Under the gaze of eternity, we human beings are merely one species among others – a species that hasn’t been around for very long, and gives every indication of not being around for too much longer.
When we think of time as line, we naturally thing of the meaning of life as something towards which we must aim—as something to be achieved further on down the line.
…. But if time is a circle rather than a line, if one’s life is destined to repeat itself over and over again without an end, the the meaning of life cannot consist in progression towards some decisive point on the line. …. Now the meaning of life is quite different. …. [T]he meaning of life is found in moments; not all moments—to be sure—just some of them. The meaning of one’s life can be scatter though that life …. The meaning of life can be found in its highest moments. Each of these moments is complete in itself and requires no further moments for its significance or justification.
- Mark Rowlands | The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness | p212-213 (via evokit-notes)