Skip to main content

The Parable of Dying Young

There came a time when mortal men became angry at the gods for their one and only fate: that they will die. They couldn't understand the riddle of getting old and the death that eventually followed it. So they blamed the gods. And the gods heard their wrath.

The gods then gave men the gift which they yearned for. They reversed the movement of time and life. Thinking that men blamed time for the slow death that they approached, the gods stopped time and then made it go backward. Instead of growing older, everyone would grow young. Life then would approach youth instead of old age, birth instead of death.

Men thought this was more than they bargained for. Suddenly the women slowly could feel their bodies transform into the younger selves they were before; they had curves, lost their wrinkles and laugh lines, had softer skin. The men meanwhile felt the resurgence of youth shoot through their blood. Their bones became stronger, their posture upright once again, their mood exuberant and hopeful. This was what it meant to be young all over again. And for the longest time, people enjoyed this discovery of the fountain of youth.

Until one day, they noticed something happening to their children. They, too, were being transformed; but the change that occurred to them left people startled. The children were only not growing but they were regressing, going back gradually to what they were before, getting smaller and smaller. A few suddenly could not talk as they forgot the words they learned before. The children were slowly unlearning what they had previously absorbed like a sponge. The very young, the toddlers, began to lose their balance and gone back to all fours instead of walking upright. Those who were younger still became babies once again, with those eyes which could see but not recognize, can sometimes smile but more often than not cry, and with no consciousness of who he or she is or the world outside.

It did not take a long time for people to realize that this was what was in store for them. That the gift they received was the gift of never getting old and forever becoming younger and younger until one becomes the babe it was before. The gods were wise to let time move and never stop, even if it were to move in the other direction. But slowly men were no longer sure if this gift was what they really wanted.

They were uncertain if being younger and becoming the child they forever wanted to be was not like death itself.


Popular posts from this blog

The Fields of Amorsolo

The first National Artist in Philippine history, referred to warmly as the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972) still stands today as a looming figure in Philippine art responsible for being one of the artists who helped define what we up to now visually imagine as essentially Filipino. The images of rural life, of golden fields below clear blue, blue skies; the smiles of farmers which diminish their weariness as they plant, harvest, and winnow rice;most especially the iconic figure of the Filipina maiden working in the fields—the beloved dalagang bukid--; these, I believe, even after generations of Filipino painters since Amorsolo, have remained in our hearts and memory. Amorsolo did what great masters do for their country: bestow upon it its own icons, represent its native beauty, that is, to give its people and lands an identity and a face. There are, however, as many intentions for art as there are works of art. And these intentions will always remain in…

Without Why (The Rose) II

Lifetime is a child at play; moving pieces in a game.
Kingship belongs to the child.

Heraclitus, Fragment 52

The child at play never asks itself why it plays. The child just plays; and if it could, it will play as long as possible, it will play throughout its life. See its delight and witness its smile.

If it would never go hungry or if the sun would never set it too will never leave its playmates and playthings. Time flies at play because it stops or suspends time. Time -- as we grownups only know too well -- is the culprit for order, schedules and priorities; yet for the child, there is no time, there is only bottomless play. It is we who impose that this or that should be done at this or that time. We stop the absurd and supposedly endless play ("He does nothing but play") because we insist that discipline, order and priorities be instilled in the child at an early age ("He needs to learn other things beside playing"). So that the child will become like us one da…

A Love Sooner than Later

BROWN PENNY William Butler YeatsI whispered, 'I am too young,' And then, 'I am old enough'; Wherefore I threw a penny To find out if I might love. 'Go and love, go and love, young man, If the lady be young and fair.' Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, I am looped in the loops of her hair. O love is the crooked thing, There is nobody wise enough To find out all that is in it, For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon. Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, One cannot begin it too soon.

One cannot begin to love too soon--conversely, one should not love too late or in life's demise. That waiting for the "right time," or the "right person" to love, what are these but the cries or sighs of an unready, even tired, heart? One becomes ready only when one begins to understand love slowly (or again), and one understands love progressively when one, simply, performs the act of love. Love, like mos…