Darkness and light. Fire and ice. Water frozen like diamonds and boiling in pools due to volcanic heat below. Long, black nights lit up by dancing auroras. Iceland truly is a land of contrasts.
There is a lot of beauty in these contrasts, and I’m grateful that we were fortunate enough to experience them.
Everything in life is defined by contrasts. Without differentiation all things become meaningless. No beauty without ugliness. No sound without silence. No objects without emptiness. No meaning without meaninglessness. No striving without an ideal to strive towards. No life without death.
Even movement is a meaningless concept without something else to move in relationship to.
“Absolutely have to have dark, in order to have light. You gotta have dark. You gotta have opposites: dark and light, light and dark, continually, in painting. You have light on light, you have nothing. If you have dark on dark, you basically have nothing. You know, it’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I’m waiting on the good times now.” Bob Ross
Good times come and go. So do bad times. So does everything else. We know this since the beginning of time.
“Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. There’s a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have […] and the attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it.“ Joseph Campbell
Even time needs some contrast to be meaningful. Without anything in relation, even if it is just the arbitrary measuring stick of the human perspective, time itself becomes a difficult concept - more difficult than it already is. If nothing changes, is there even any time?
“You see this goblet? For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.” Achaan Chaa
Every moment is precious. If that is so, we should cherish every moment. But, if we really do cherish all of the 8x10^60 moments since the beginning of time, are any of them truly precious?
The above, of course, is an error in reasoning. Since this is not a political argument and I don’t want to push you down a nihilistic hole, let me point out this faulty reasoning. Moments do not gain preciousness because of our cherishing. They simply are.
“Of several colors, all equally white, that will look whitest which is against the darkest background. And black will look intensest against the whitest background. And red will look most vivid against the yellowest background; and the same is the case with all colours when surrounded by their strongest contrasts.” Leonardo da Vinci
Time moves on, and so do we. We leave behind the solitude, diving directly into one of the largest cities in the world.
“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.” Jorge Luis Borges