Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas again

Each year, around this time, I find myself urging forth the passage of time, so that the working year may end, and the Christmas festivities may ensue. Once the festivities have begun, I then find myself, each year, urging forth the passage of time, so that the festivities may end, and the normal routine of life resume.

It's all a long cry from the days of Space Lego on Christmas Day. Those were proper Christmases. The excitement of opening, building, and playing with Space Lego was simply sans pareil. Just magic. Then came ZX Spectrum computer games on Christmas Day. 'R: Tape Loading Error' is indelibly etched upon my brain-stem for perpetuity. (Whomever deemed that audio cassette players had the fidelity to act as data-loading devices, is, most probably, currently residing in a country with no UK extradition treaty). Eventually, however, when the games could be gently encouraged to load, monumental achievements such as Mike Singleton's Lords of Midnight defined the very texture of Christmas, and denied the use of the television to other stakeholders. And then came the book years: glossy Autocourse annuals, burnished with breathtaking photography, and burning with lambent text.

Do those Christmases past still exist? Is every detail of every event still sitting there, fixed in the crystalline lattice of the past, merely inaccessible to those who inhabit the present? There are basically three positions in the philosophy of time: the whole 4-dimensional space-time of the universe exists, the passage of time is merely a subjective experience, and the future exists just as surely as the past and present; all of the past and the present exist, but the future is only potential, and the passage of time selectively transforms future potentialities into actualities, hence the totality of existence is growing, like a bath filling with tapwater; only the present exists, and the past is merely a fading ember of our memories.

The transformation of our mundane urban surroundings into a sparkling, tinsellated, multi-coloured spree of illumination, still excites me, but the poignancy and regret grows also with each passing year.

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