The Beauty of Inconstancy

Whimsical Wednesday with Arlinda

While I love the occasional stargazing and daydreaming, it often makes me wonder what is real and what is just a false projection of images. Take stars for example, they shine their light upon the earth each night, but for all we know the stars we are looking at may have stopped existing light years ago; it takes time for the last glimpse of starlight from the now nonexistent star to illuminate the night sky and then cease to shine again. Similarly, our daydreams may be far fetched; psychologists have been trying to analyze daydreams for many years with different results each time because daydreams, according to Sigmund Freud, can only be analyzed by the dreamers themselves, and since our dreams are always changing, I wonder how we might go about understanding them. How are we to know what is consistently real and what is an ever-changing projection contained within our minds?

Percy Bysshe Shelley conveys the double entendre, which we struggle to perceive and comprehend each day. Shelley’s poem “The Moon” beautifully depicts multiple views about the loneliness of the moon, which can also be perceived through the lens of viewing the moon as an entity searching for an object “worth its constancy” while it travels across the earth each night.

The Moon- Percy Bysshe Shelley

And, like a dying lady lean and pale,
 Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
 Out of her chamber, led by the insane
 And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
 The moon arose up in the murky east
 A white and shapeless mass. 
 Art thou pale for weariness
 Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
 Wandering companionless
 Among the stars that have a different birth,
 And ever changing, like a joyless eye
 That finds no object worth its constancy?

While this poem seemingly portrays the moon as a lonely object, I tend to perceive this poem in such a way that allows me to realize we are all moons searching the earth for something constant, for something we can understand and connect to, and we learn to appreciate the differences we notice in others.

Even though I cannot be sure whether or not the stars I see each still exist, it is poems like Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “The Moon” that teach me to appreciate the stars as they dance across the night sky until sunrise; even if I cannot prove that the stars still exist light years away and that their lights will remain constant for many more light years, I can remain constant in enjoying the beauty and brightness depicted by the stars each night.

We do not always require a solid and never changing answer to our questions; we grow and evolve, as do our questions. Similarly, the answers we seek need to grow and evolve along with us. Our daydreams may not be constant, and the stars we see may no longer exist, but both are beautifully unpredictable in their own way, and both should be valued and appreciated. Until next week Obscurians!

~Arlinda M