I have dog-eared about fifty pages in Doris Lessing's excellent autobiography Under My Skin -- there's the passage about the time that, as a child, she deliberately set fire to one of the thatched buildings on her parents' farm, those devoted to her pregnancies and the births of her first two children, her thoughts on how modern music is responsible for the rise of crime. Okay, that particular passage is one of the kookiest in the book but this one, about how we experience time throughout our lives, rings true to me. It's about something I've noticed frequently lately, how the older I get, the more quickly time seems to pass:
When scientists try to get us to understand the real importance of the human race, they say something like, "If the story of the earth is twenty-four hours long, then humanity's part in it occupies the last minute of that day." Similarly, in the story of a life, if it is being told true to time as actually experienced, then I'd say seventy per cent of the book would take you to age ten. At eighty per cent you would have reached fifteen. At ninety-five per cent, you get to about thirty. The rest is a rush -- towards eternity.
It occurs to me to wonder about the infant in the womb. The foetus repeats evolution: fish, bird, beast, then human. Does it experience the time of evolution? Is it possible that poor creature is submerged in near eternities? A nightmare. This is so terrible a thought it can scarcely be borne.