Science fiction has always opened up worlds of possibilities. Tales of fantastic voyages to the oceans and to the heavens have filled plays, books, films and television screens.
We thrill to see starships soar to distant suns and their encounters. We bask in the subtle nuances of the time traveller as the future becomes the past and the past the future.
We wonder about dimensional realities and alternate lives with infinite timelines where we exist and awaken each day to new realities on worlds beyond our finite grasp. Realities…
In all this we fail to remember that we are travellers, cosmic travellers. Our earth and solar system is in constant motion in the cosmos.
Gazing at the night heavens, we catch glimpses of ages past. For starlight in the far recesses of what we can see is history, history of creation filtering to our present.
What if you could travel through space and time? What would it be like? New worlds. New challenges. New opportunities. New associations. New relationships. New beginnings.
Returning to science fiction, for fifty years a television series has attempted to do this very thing. The series is Doctor Who from the BBC.
Over the five decades I caught snippets of the series. It was when David Tenant became the tenth doctor that I began watching regularly.
Doctor Who was the last of his species—the ancient time lords. His journeys through space and time had moments of joy and sadness since he was the only one left, separated from his planet and race by the ultimate foe which could be defeated—death.
The Tardis (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) is a marvelous machine. H. G. Wells’ time machine was very elementary in comparison to the Tardis.
As one watches the series, it becomes apparent that Doctor Who is a solitary being—always alone. He has companions to share his journeys, but as the series unfolds, he has to say good-bye to them—sometimes it is when they meet their mortal eventuality of death, tragedy with enough pathos to fill a thousand Greek plays.
In many ways we are like Doctor Who. We are born and grow up in a world that is as mysterious and complex as any on the series.
If we leave our mountain hamlets or villages, we journey into new worlds of association and relationships. We travel to exotic landscapes, be they on land or in the oceans and seas.
We witness the human spirit of ingenuity and kindness. Sadly, we witness the brutality which only humans can inflict on their fellow travellers on this planet traversing the cosmos.
These tragic events which transpire around us are of such a nature that we are overwhelmed with the gravity of suffering and death. Many of us seek solace in myriad places hoping to make sense out of disconnected bits of the jagged pieces of misery.
Unfortunately, these places of solace offer temporary relief; one cannot remain at the oasis, but must journey on across the scorched terrain of human agony. It’s the human agony which adds heaviness to our steps.
One old friend recently wrote about one of these places of solace, “bits and pieces of barely connected flotsam that masquerades as meaningfulness. It is not a matrix of human consciousness. It is not spirit and life. It is not love with skin on it…”
So sadly we walk our road of life with all the joys and sorrows of what it means to be human. We become weary cosmic travellers who eventually, like Doctor Who, must regenerate in order to continue to exist.
Our poignant reality is that we do not regenerate into a new Sally or Bill. Once we have breathed our last, our time on earth is ended. We reverberate back into the elements which compose our mortal shell.
And what of our uniqueness, our personality, our core ousia? The Who of what we were?
If you have a faith tradition, you have a hope. If you do not, your end is just one long, dreamless sleep from which you will never waken to a new day.
In the final analysis all our earth days from conception to death are just grains of sand washed on the shores of the cosmic ocean. As our sun sets these shores of eternity are just fading shadows to which we can never return.
Perhaps Prospero was correct when he said,
“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep…” THE TEMPEST
G. D. Williams © 2013
Underneath The Burnt Orange Sky
I Don’t Want To Go