During the new year holidays, I had a chance to glance at some of the old photos at my parents' house. The old times certainly existed, but are sometimes difficult to hold vividly in one's memory. When these times were "here and now", I certainly breathed and reveled in the unmistakable qualities of the passage of time. I could not escape from it. Moments of my life flourished and then perished, never to return or to be regained. There were people around. My parents were once at my own present age or even younger.
In the long history of humanity that have now fatally passed, countless people have wondered why it is that all living things are destined to die. This particular enigma originates from the more general and arguably greater puzzle of the passage of time. The mystery of life is a part of that of temporality.
There was a time when the earth found itself in its infancy, still hot and sometimes violently erupting. That time is now gone. Once there was a collision between the earth and a meteorite with a diameter of a few kilometers, making dinosaurs and other species on earth extinct. As "here and now", these periods had the same encapsulating and inescapable qualities for the contemporary dwellers, whether actual or hypothetical, conscious or unconscious, living or non-living.
Mortality is not unique to life. It is an unavoidable consequence of the flow of time. Time itself is mortal. Mortality is the consequence of, and the prerequisite for, any changes that befall this world. Pondering the nature of time opens one's eyes to the hidden agenda of the universe: The brotherhood of the living and the non-living. Thus we learn to embrace all materials in the world as sharers of a common fate.
Myself at five years old in the kindergarden album.
These times are now irreparably gone.