This is a variation on a saying by the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, and I must admit that I don't know the context of it. Knowing Kierkegaard, it might have actually been him speaking through a fictional author whose views he is satirically refuting. Be that as it may, the meaning of the original quotation "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards", is fairly simple enough to understand, the more erudite way of saying "If I knew then what I know now...". It was on turning the phrase over and over in my mind, like a well worn pebble, that I started to construct my own version of it.
I have for some time (actually since my elementary years) been fond of epic, starting with The Transformers and The Thundercats and ending up with The Mahabharata and Deltron. I like the thought of everything in the universe drawing together to a single point. Yet I am also aware of how one sided, and how dangerous, that can be. Not only because I am a big fan of Jean Francois Lyotard, but because I know that if I am only searching for that single orgasmic, apocalyptic point where everything makes sense, then I am short changing the rest of life. I also know what dopamine depletion feels like, the feeling that nothing in life can ever be worthwhile or interesting. Once I found that single point, what else would I do?
So my life is not drawing to a single point, and everything I do is not on an agenda for reaching an ultimate point. But what makes the whole thing worthwhile is not something I can ever accomplish as I live my life forward, it can only be appreciated from another vantage point---sideways, as it were. There is a type of texture to life that can't be experienced while actually living it.
My best example of this is when you find a photo that hijacks your world at night. I find a picture of Vruba when he still had hair, and realize that I never realized just how young we were. That the particular dry, golden color of the grass on Powell Butte could have never really been appreciated by us at the time, even though we probably noticed it. If there was anything that stimulated our minds at the time, it was probably the smell of the grass, and only that because it brought us back to even earlier, maybe a primal memory of rolling around on a lawn before we were even able to walk. And I remember the dialog that day, at the Fun House when there was still a Fun House, with me asking ideath about how modeling was going, and saying (playing for the audience to fill in my self-deprecatory humor: "Maybe I should get into it...I mean, how hard can it be? All you have to do it stay still and not talk!" We are still around, and the house is still there, and I can even remember details like this clearly, but 2002 is not coming back again.
It was only a few hours ago, when my mind was thinking of counter schemes and how tired I was and assessing the time to return home, and the threat level of everyone around me, and I saw her necklace made of copper wire and a washer, but I didn't appreciate it for what it was. Only now, home from an incredible day do I realize what an incredible icon it is, and of how incredibly fulfilling the entire experience was. I am already looking a little sideways, remembering myself outside of the Brick Factory explaining to her the tale of the Stone that the Builder Refused. But I can never, it seems, feel and experience it all at the same time, that is only possible in some sideways realm that I keep on hoping I can come back to.
One day, this will all make sense.