Living Life as Human Starlight: Conscious or Asleep?

Photo by h heyerlein on Unsplash
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting“ ~William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

I recently read the above first line from a poem, and it touched me so profoundly I wrote it down.

I kept finding myself drawn back to it.

I think the reason that it impacted on my mind so much is that a few weeks earlier I read another quote that affected me deeply.

It was this:

“Life is just one small piece of light between two eternal darknesses”~ Vladimir Nabokov

When I first read the quote by Vladimir Nabokov, it was in the context of reading a column querying why people are so concerned and preoccupied with death.

It was discussing how everyone is so preoccupied with the possibility of whether consciousness continues after death, but hardly anybody gives a thought about the period of non-consciousness or existence before birth.

When I read the first line of the poem by Wordsworth, I initially was struck by the seeming disparity between the two verses.

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting”
OR
“Life is just one small piece of light between two eternal darknesses”

Is our human life a SLEEP or is it the only period of consciousness we will ever have?

No wonder poets are compelled to write about this.

The disparity being how one poet saw our human existence as the light between two periods of darkness (unconsciousness), and the other poet saw our conscious human life as a time of darkness (or time of forgetting) between a prior existence in spirit form and once again after our death played on my mind.

I believe they are both talking about the importance of living our life fully with meaning, but they are approaching it from two completely different perspectives.

I love the way the words from both phrases capture something elusive and transient, poetic and meaningful and the phrases play around the outer edges of my mind and stick to my soul.

Either, we have a consciousness that exists prior to our birth, and after, so everything we do and say in this human existence is meaningful and important;
OR
We have no conscious existence prior to our birth, or after our physical death, and so everything we do and say in this human existence is meaningful and important.

Therefore:

Live life as if it is MEANINGFUL and IMPORTANT.

Because it Just Is.