I’m going to totally quote this quote that someone else just quoted on their own blog, but not from any minor infatuation with the quote (note my use of the term “Tralfamadorians” in my Nov 4 blog entry as proof). Somewhere along my timeline I embraced this perspective as part of my own. Maybe after seeing the movie version of the book, or the book that I read sometime thereafter.
This quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five is being spoken by a man who became “unstuck” in time after meeting some aliens whose sense of time was different than our own:
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “So it goes.”