What I found most valuable in this evocative article is the idea that our perspective of the past should not become fixed. Our memories are malleable, and we should be ready to reinterpret and reuse the past to better understand the present and imagine the future.
Aeon: Octopus Time, 2023-Apr-20 by David Borkenhagen
Its web of radially symmetrical arms allow it to crawl in any direction with equal competence [emphasis added], regardless of how its head is oriented. Its soft and malleable body can move through any crevasse larger than its beak. And with its two eyes positioned on opposite sides of its head, it has a near-total field of vision with almost nothing hidden ‘behind’. These abilities give the octopus a radically different relationship to its surroundings compared with other species, human or otherwise. It is a relationship free of constraints.
Compared with the octopus, human beings appear corporeally constrained. We lack the fluid mobility and wide field of vision of our (very, very) distant cephalopod cousins. Instead, we have two eyes stuck in the front of our heads. We have a paltry two legs, hardwired for forward movement. And we are bound to our terrestrial ecological niche, where our bodies must continually counteract the downward pull of gravity.
It’s not only that our experiences of space are different. Our experiences of time are likely different, too. We think about the passage of time through our terrestrial experience of unidirectional motion through space – our metaphors of time are almost all grounded in the way our bodies move forward through the environment. Given this fact, how would an octopus, who can easily see and move in all directions, conceptualize time?
...if we became more like an octopus, could we free time, metaphorically speaking, from its constraints? Could we experience it as multidimensional, fluid and free?