The meaning of life is that it stops. –Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

Franz Kafka

You never know where a gem of wisdom will turn up. This quote from Franz Kafka came up on The Amazing Race that I was watching on TV, expecting nothing more than a marshmallow Peep for the mind. Instead, I got a prime rib dinner.

I am a long-time fan of Kafka’s short stories, but I never saw this quote. It is right on. Life is a finite chunk of time, a big chunk for some, a little chunk for others, but a chunk, never-the-less, with definite boundaries. We don’t know where our chunk ends, but we know it is out there somewhere and we have to make the best of each day, each hour, each minute because we will not pass this way again. If life went on forever, it would lose all meaning. Why cherish your spouse, your children, if you will have an infinite number of them over your infinite life.

My wife says our yard never looked so good, and she is right.  Any day that gets above freezing, I will be out raking leaves, shoveling snow, whatever needs doing. These are chores I used to hate, but now I enjoy because I realize the day is not far off when I will no longer be able to do them. And I will miss them, getting out in the fresh air and sunshine doing mindless activities.

Eternity does not mean never-ending time. It means time is missing, irrelevant, and any attempt to mash them together will result in nonsense, such as asking What time is blue? The question makes no sense. Time is irrelevant to colors, just as time is irrelevant to anything eternal.  Medieval Christian clergy referred to the living world as the temporal world (of time) and the spiritual world as the eternal world (without time).

Don’t expect to meet up with loved ones in the eternal world because then there would be a before and after, and this is time. Don’t expect to walk down streets of gold for the same reason.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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