Thoughts & Insights

Infinity only exists in the moment

There are moments when chance and destiny touch for the fraction of a second. These are the moments of universal creation, change, decay and death for all things. Moments of perfect being-at-one with everything. Moments in which chance and destiny become a single whole.

Let’s look, for instance, at the creation of life: is it chance or destiny? Considering the vast number of sperm, the meeting of one particular sperm with the ovum must be a matter of pure chance. Yet in the microsecond that this chance becomes reality it also changes into destiny.  In that moment of fertilisation destiny and chance are no longer separate entities. They become one and the same. Each living being with its entire genetic make-up, its later physical form, and its nature is created in precisely such a unique, split-second, singular, matchless and irreversible moment when destiny and chance unite to become one. Viewed from such a perspective, the questions as to where we come from, who we are and where we are going can always be given fresh answers.

It’s exactly the same with love, exactly the same with death. And exactly the same with art.

In love, in death and in art we can experience such moments of inexplicable contact between destiny and chance. If you repeatedly listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata, you may sense a faint premonition of such singularity. An intimation of eternity haunts the music.

“Infinity only exists in the moment”, OUBEY once said. And even today I keep turning this insight of his over and over in my mind. Now and then, in certain privileged moments, I can grasp the deep meaning that lies in these few words. And then it’s simply the fascination of such a moment that moves me.  This is not something that can be planned. It arrives unexpectedly and the fact that it happens precisely at this moment is perhaps in itself such a singular experience in which various energies coming from different directions with different degrees of force meet for one instant. Accepting such moments, savouring and enjoying them calls up in me a deep feeling of happiness which even though short-lived still resonates within me for long afterwards.

At some point destiny and chance may touch again, perhaps even in the next iteration of our being. Perhaps in the moment of our death. This is a truly beautiful thought that sounds a lot more crazy than it really is.

We humans struggle to find a word, an explanation, an order for everything we don’t understand in the hope that understanding will take us at least one step further. On the one hand, this is laudable yet on the other it’s always a misconception. And it’s an immense joy to be freed from this fallacy for a least a few short moments and to sense the real reason for all forms of being, all forms of becoming, all forms of passing away. It was such a happy moment that first gave birth to these thoughts. They make no claim to be valid. Yet in a subjective sense they are true.

And there is also a reason why I decided to publish and share these thoughts with you today of all days on 2 August 2019. It was on this day fifteen years ago, on 2 August 2004, that OUBEY, the author of the innermost thought in this piece, unexpectedly and tragically lost his life, at the age of 46, in a curious road accident. Destiny or chance? Or both of these united for a split second? A moment in which for him infinity began.


This picture by OUBEY was taken in a park in Aberdeen during our trip to Scotland in August 2002.