Change, Fall and Vertigo

“Will I be sick? Will I grow old? Will I die?” “Yes, one day you will.” Buddha was confronting that eerily evoking problem, the Change. Change, from health to sickness, youth to old, life to death. Deserting everything that changes one day he walked away, to meet the changeless, the Nirvana. He became the ultimate man of warning: “Don’t give your heart to anything that changes.”
Philosophy, science, religion, everything is a meditation on change or a search for something that doesn’t change. The Big Bang, the modern theory says that everything we see today is the result of a small bifurcation that happened to the primordial soup. We are all a disease that happened to that harmony. Heraclitus maybe the philosopher nearest to the ripples of change. He saw nothing that doesn’t change. He says “nothing is abiding, everything is in flux, in an eternal flow”
We all meet the Indigo hour of the day where we standstill watching hills die, portals of light extinguishes, love that seemed eternal becoming an aloof memory. Everything slip away from our hands; however, hard we try to make them eternal. We are left alone to hope that a new love may come along to revive our sense of eternity.
Yes, they all should change. Love, more than anything must change otherwise, it will become hatred. Anything that does not obey the laws of change is obscene. Look at the way beauty perishes, the way wrinkles creep in to where there had been that melting smiles. Nabakov gave this famous definition of beauty “Beauty plus pity-that is the closest we can get to a definition of art. Where there is beauty there is pity for the simple reason that beauty must die: beauty always dies, the manner dies with the matter; the world dies with the individual.”
We love flowers more than evergreens precisely because they do not last. But still, why changes? What is change?
Reading Rilke was one of the greatest fortunes in my life. His poems are full of lofty intonations of the past and promises of tomorrow. He would remind the reader that “the trees we planted in our childhood have grown too heavy for us to sustain” or “the things you did not love in your past is not yours.” He prays’
“Lord, it is time. This was a very big summer.
Lay your shadows over the sundial,
and let the winds loose on the fields. ”
I reach a simple answer with the help of Rilke, everything changes because everything falls, the leaves fall; the earth falls in loneliness, when the night comes the stars also falling from each other. Modern science is proving our thesis: the whole universe is falling to an abysmal darkness, more the distance between them faster the fall. Not only the universe, me and you are falling from each other to a far away land.
Will there be a hand beneath this falling universe collecting everything that falls?
When we think about fall, we are in vertigo! Vertigo can be defined as the fear of falling; a psychological problem of reputation composure according to Freud. It was masterfully depicted by Hitchcock in his movie ‘Vertigo’. But, the French writer Milan Kundera says, “Vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us. It is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
Beauty itself is a vertigo. That is what the Story of Narcissus proves. How long he might have looked at his own image reflected on that deep pool? Long enough to slip and drown. His love for his own image was so forceful that it made his legs weak;
“Brothers, sorrowful lilies, I languish in beauty,”
Writes Valery for Narcissus. The Ovid version mythology says that his life force was depleted. His soul became an empty vessel as it’s all love was flown to the image reflected on the water. The image and the water in turn did not give back to him anything. The water swept away all his images when he fell. The water doesn’t keep the trace of anything because it’s memory is fluid. Narcissus belongs to the most unfortunate category of lovers because he fell into a fluid memory.

Icarus fell for what he did not have. He did not look at his own image reflected on the water rather he looked at stars and birds; those flying wonders. His vertigo was not the emptiness within himself but the inadequacy that his body had. He pasted waxed wings to his body and began to fly. The more he aimed high the more sky retreated and the emptiness beneath thirsted for him. And the sun that cruel annihilator of dreams and ambitions melted away his wings. He fell deeply and abruptly. Brueghel was there to paint his falling. W.H. Auden, William Carlos Williams and many other poets wrote mournful poems. Among those my favorite is William Carlos Williams’ version;
Landscape with the fall of Icarus
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning
– Williams Carlos Williams

I like it’s delicately elegiac tone.


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