Mariner was reminiscing the other day about his teen years. That was a time when weekend dances were common in high school gyms. Living on the East Coast, there were summer beach parties, water skiing, Limbo contests and in the midst of it all dating and beginning to learn ‘grownup’ social skills. Naturally, after a moment, realism set in and mariner realized that era didn’t last very long. Not only that, it doesn’t exist anymore. Everyone has memories, of course, visions stored in brain cells. There are accountings in history books, mementoes, even the old letter sweater. Still, that era doesn’t exist anymore in any form of reality. That chunk of time is gone. Time doesn’t flow; it breaks off in chunks just like a glacier.
Think about the lives of our elders in the year 1900. It was an era where the horse was front and center to virtually every human activity. One accepted without thought the smells, the chores, the care and feeding of horses. On farms, it was an unconscious chore to start the day harnessing old Dobbin. One couldn’t go to town or church or work or haul the product of one’s labor without engaging a horse.
By 1914 the internal combustion engine had replaced the horse – so rapidly and so completely that everything from commerce to politics was reinvented. By 1925, after World War I, the horse was no longer a centerpiece in society. The horse world disappeared. That time broke off as a chunk and was no more.
Reality, that is, an interacting phenomenon that creates new actions and results, is really only about 25 years long. In a Zen moment, one realizes that their own reality has disappeared, too. Having only a few moments that exist in memory, one’s old self is gone.
Similar to a glacier losing a chunk of ice into the sea, the actual chunking process takes a long time. A glacier may take a half century to slowly split and melt to the point that a chunk falls off. Mariner proposes that today, at the start of the twenty-first century, humanity is splitting and melting as it approaches a moment of chunk, when the time one is familiar with today will suddenly be gone. A new time is beginning.