Eternity (the term derives from the Latin locution “ex” (“outside”) and from “ternum” (“triad”), i.e. “outside the triad [of time]”: past, present and future) consists on one side in a perpetual flow of time, without beginning and end, on the other in the atemporal point that we call instant (the Parmenidean being is nothing else than the instant), which is outside time and coincides with the present moment, that we can’t experience. An instant proceeds without interruption towards another instant, they add up over time but they remain elusive for us: it is we who are in motion while the instant is immutable, even if it seems to shift, exactly like the apparent motion of the Sun. So the elusive and uninterrupted flow of instants constitutes the course of time, which is an illusion, since there is nothing but eternity, whereby:
“Time is the moving image of eternity”.
Once we managed to fathom eternity, both as infinite temporal duration and as timelessness, whereas today we are only able to speculate about it, only able to see the door of eternity from a more or less favourable position, with the silly illusion of being able to reach its handle. The same applies to the concept of infinity, we are no longer able to inwardly realize and fathom the infinity of the Universe, and only a finite space is within the reach of our minds.
It’s exactly here that lies the meaning of what Mircea Eliade called “nostalgia for paradise”, this being nothing but the nostalgia for the Golden Age (i.e. the primordial state of being in which we fathomed eternity, since gold is a symbol of the metaphysical concept of the atemporal being that is not subject to the laws of the temporal becoming), the aspiration to regain an existence outside of time, as when men were unaware of it and, consequently, free from the terror and anguish of history. Here lies one of the deeper meanings of all religions, one of their most important functions – achieved by means of initiations, rituals, festivities and ceremonies – being that of creating the momentary illusion for which we would once again be living that lost primordial condition to which we can not help but aspire, as a heartbreaking necessity that, if not satisfied, leads us to despair.
If every now and then you find yourselves immersed in similar thoughts then maybe you will suffer, consequently, a sort of metaphysical vertigo and desperation: it’s the only way you have to find the answers you need, the only way to reawaken yourselves!