by Alex Petric
Let’s put that in perspective:
We’re 10 months into this year.
Our current economic recession started over 3 years ago.
9/11 was 10 years ago.
Even for myself, I’m turning 20 this coming Sunday.
The passage of time has always been something I’ve reflected on, and I’ve written on it before. With school kicking off again, time is rapidly taken up by assignments, midterms, lectures, commuting, personal growth, friends, and (for me) the Almighty Frisbee. Sometimes it can feel like one is on a boat in a rough patch of water, desperately trying to stay the course and stay afloat. One loses control over one’s place in the world and is swept away by the waves.
And yet here we are, in an age more advanced than any to come before it, with all of our advertisements and corporations telling us they’re giving us control over everything in our lives. In actuality, though, there are still many factors we can’t control, and anything we’ve taken hold of has likely been replaced by something else out of our grasp. It’s a bit of a paradox.
I recently came across an interview with Brian Eno, a music producer and intellectual, who noted that, although he is an atheist, he finds value in gospel music, where the main idea is for one to surrender to something greater than oneself. In reality, there are things in our life that we will never have control over, although we would like to. I think one of the messages of most religions is essentially to accept the conditions we’re in. In a society that tells us to fix everything and personalize it, we sometimes need to be reminded of our own powerlessness. There are certain things we need to accept and come to terms with, or else we will always try to take hold of things. At some point, we won’t be able to, and then…how will we cope?
“So we’ve gotten into the mode of thinking that says ‘We can control everything,’ but we manifestly can’t. We can control a lot more than we used to be able to, but we really ought to be also prepared for this state of mind that says, ‘I’m not in control, and I like it.’” –Brian Eno