When I awoke I saw the
towering wall of rock stretching hundreds of feet to the sky, I knew I had made
it to God's country. I sat up looking around at my home for the night, the
morning air pungent and invigorating. The early light of the canyon when birds
were busy looking for food and dew made the grass sluggish, I went to river
where the rock face retreated on both sides and widened into a flat area. I
worked the stiffness from my left knee and my clutch hand and looked down river
speechless by its picture-postcard setting.
"To think of what we would
have lost if we stayed in an apartment this weekend," said Doppel, who had
walked over. It said something about his Carpe Diem philosophy, like the cold
fact that we had traveled over 900km through mountains and tunneled-paths in
the gorge just to be here. Made my surroundings even more special that it was.
"Yes, it would have been a
"Opportunity cost and all
that. Better for the canvas. And better for ones objectivity."
"Objectivity is derived from
a multiplication of subjective experiences. The more varied experience that is
accumulated, the better one can be objective. The more objective, the better
very Nietzschean of you," I said.
"In the context of Western
thought, there is a massive oversight many academics have in factoring in the
centrality of time in their philosophical arguments. The problem with rules
with regard for time is seldom addressed, Henri Bergson being the exception.
Think of the few students who studied philosophy, not to regurgitate for good
marks, to learn it well and apply it to their lives. They made the time to
learn. They became philosophers precisely because they recognized how time can
I had sat down on a rock and
was now putting on a fresh pair of wool socks.
"I can see you have thought
a lot about this."
"As far as I see it, it was
Kant's fault. His a priori intuition of time and space had been
overlooked ‘as a given,' which caused scholars to construct their theories on a
foundation that did not move, that is, had zero consideration for the finite
nature of time in every individual's life, particularly revealing when seen in
terms of a young child, old man or man in his prime but afflicted somehow and
crippled in some way from the gravity of time."
"The gravity of time, not
the gravity of mass."
"Every thinking person can
recognize that they don't exist in a vacuum of time immune from the demands of
life. Truth is a function of time." Doppel sat across from me changing
his socks and then I spotted a puppy coming out of the woods covered in burrs,
ears back and wagging its tail. Helpless, abandoned and alone in the world, the
puppy was struggling to survive in an environment where it could easily perish.
We looked around for its master but found no one. That's when Doppel went up to
it and began patting it. The thing was so excited that it couldn't remain
"It's a unity of flapping
appendages," he said. Demonstrated its warmth to a kind hand. "Perhaps the
All-Knowing One in the Sky has His hand in this chance meeting? It was sleeping
by the river like us." Easy to see the combination of intelligence and
curiosity in its green eyes lit by the morning sun.
"I can't take you home
doggy," he said.
"Take him home! A thousand
kilometers in your knapsack?"
"You worry too much. If it's
meant to be then it's meant to be. And if so, then there's a way to take him
home with us. Good doggy." Doppel's compassion found fertile ground to
focus. He picked some of the burrs off his coat.
"He's a good doggy."
"See, the allocation of time
in terms of stopping to check out an old fort or to save a dying puppy versus
passing up the opportunity because it took away from the time it would take to
complete the exploit is an important decision. To have the wisdom from life
that can guide you to a decision that would weigh the loss of experience and
knowledge by stopping to explore the fort or save the puppy, with the hour
saved from not stopping. It is this decision-making ability that should be
nurtured for the sake of a richer and fuller life to combat against regret from
missed opportunities that we all must face when exiting life.
"Combat against missed
opportunities." That's precisely it.
"It is where wisdom shows
"So then you'd like to save
"Well, I don't think it's
that easy. I want to go check out one part of the gorge we missed last night.
It's only about a half hour up the road, but I want to see it in the daylight."
"So let's go there first."
He looked at the doggy by
the edge of the forest. "I'm making a deal with the Great Teacher in the Sky
that when we return from checking out that part of the gorge, I will consider
it a sign from Him that I should save the puppy from hunger, fleas and death."
Looking at the small animal from his motorcycle a few feet away, he said: "It's
not the best looking doggy I have seen, but it does appear to have a lot of
After warming up the engines
wet left the little puppy there and moved back west up Toroko Gorge about 5km
where there was a place to stop and watch the water take a corner between two
tunnels and a bridge.
"Really is quite majestic.
I'm glad we came. I don't know about you but whenever I ride through a place
that's unusual or exotic I always think I'll be back again one day but I never
do." Stood against the fence and was sprayed with splashing clay water.
"Nietzsche believed that man
lives only one life - the only life he has - and that when he dies he doesn't
go to heaven or hell, but lives his already-lived life over and over for
eternity," I said.
"Yes, the theory about the
do you think about that?"
afterlife is a tricky one."
"What's brilliant about
eternal recurrence is that because you live your life over and over again
forever, the importance of what you choose to do in this life has much more
significance than if you believe in an afterlife where you can live again. We
will relive this moment here in the gorge."
"It's good time-utility.
Time commands respect for what it can do for you. To treat time profitably is
to enhance its value. Derive gain through the beneficial application of time
and you have spent well."
When I put my hand through
my hair I found it soaking wet from the spray. A drop of water fell dripped off
the tip of my nose. Doppel was right: this was a good brushstroke on the
canvas. Red swirls in the rock face like cherry cheesecake ice cream.
"The symbolism of a new
front tire has not been lost to me," he said wiping his beard. "I interpret
this as a new chapter in the life stages of development." Taking a bandana out
from his bag He wrapped it around his head. It was also his language to say it
was time to move.
Following in the tradition
of Plato's notion of justice of the soul, Doppel stoically adhered to all deals
he made with the Creator. Therefore, when we again passed by the riverside
place where we had slept under the moon, he turned down the small path towards
the river to see if the puppy was still there. I could tell from his body
English that he was doubtful he would be there.
"The dog could have gone
anywhere," he said, making a move to leave. But he caught sight of the little
puppy emerging from a shaded area under some trees.
"Good doggy."" I knew
from the wagging tail and the pulled-back ears that Doppel would be its savior.
It was what God wanted him to have as if booty from the farthest point we had
traveled. In Doppel's world, the dog offering fit squarely into the spirit of
fair play between him and the White-bearded Gentleman in the Skies Above.
But by keeping his word he
made with Him, Doppel now faced the puzzle as to how he was going to transport
the puppy nearly a thousand kilometers along the coast across the mountains on
Route 106 to his place just outside Taipei. After considering the feasibility
of carrying it in his knapsack or balanced on his gas tank, he calculated that
the best place was balanced on his gas tank.