Anticipation changes Time Itself
I believe my all time favorite fiction book is the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I’ve read it over and over in different times of my life, in different languages, talked with different people about it. Phrases and quotes from the book keep popping out in my head in many different circumstances, today was no different.
The title of this post is kind of awesome, but it wasn’t me who said it. At least, not me who said it first…because in a way I am still saying it, and it is still conveying meaning. Sometimes we over-emphasize the concept of originality. I will give credit when it is due, but if by repeating a phrase I can change someone else’s life as it has changed mine, I am ok with it.
The Little Prince has just met the fox, and they are fostering what ought to be a friendship (this is in chapter 21 by the way). The fox is explaining to the Little Prince what it takes to build trust, a friendship, to tame and to be tamed. But then it finally gets to the point I wanted to make. The fox tells the Little Prince to announce in advance when he is coming to meet her, not because his arrival might be inconvenient, but so that the fox could be happy with the anticipation of his arrival:
If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . .
There is a downside, or better said, an anomaly in the feeling of anticipation that many people (including myself) suffer from: anxiety. Anxiety isn’t anticipation, but rather a distortion of such feeling towards something incomplete. With anxiety, one seeks the future in detriment of the present, thus destroying the very possibility of happiness. Anticipation, as it ought to be lived and felt, does quite the opposite. It foresees greatness in the future, and it is able to make grow within you the very thing that will eventually blossom. It brings the future closer, it shortens distances, it enhances the experience. It is only by anticipation that we realize the paradigm of human existence, which is a function over time, but also transcends time. Thus anticipation transforms our life of a function in simultaneous equations, augmenting the dimension in which we exist. Thus I guess anticipation doesn’t change time per se, but it changes how our existence relates to it. Realizing you are made for more, dare yourself to anticipate all the things you wait for.